What is nuruk?

People often ask, what makes soju different from other rice distillations? How would you distinguish it from, say, Japanese shochu? Depending on who’s answering, the explanation could take up the rest of your afternoon with all its complexities. However, there is one fundamental difference that makes traditional soju stand apart from other rice alcohols, and that is the use of nuruk (누룩). That begs the question, what is nuruk? And possibly, why is nuruk unique? Difference between Korean and Japanese styles Nuruk is the fermentation starter that creates the base alcohol which distills into soju. This fermentation starter is a dough made from grains like wheat, barley, or rice that is germinated by microorganisms. The Japanese method uses both koji…

What is the alcohol content of soju?

Soju alcohol content varies depending on the brand and type. Traditionally, soju was around 40% ABV. You can still get this soju from craft and premium soju suppliers. You will only find these bottles in better Korean pubs, supermarkets, and specialty stores so look closely and carefully if you want it. Trends in the soju market We’re seeing a divergence in soju alcohol percentage these days. Lower percentage mass produced sojus are coming out to attract young female customers. High end and craft sojus are appearing to connoisseurs, between 25 and 40% or more. In America, lower alcohol sojus are more popular because liquor laws put them outside the hard liquor category. This makes them easier to stock them. The…

Ever Wonder Why Green Bottle Soju Is So Popular?

When most people think of soju, they think of the cheap green bottles that taste like watered down vodka. Mainstream green bottle soju dominates the market, and that’s a shame. It’s a bastardization of what soju originally was. There is a lot more when you look back at the history of soju itself which came about in Korea in the 14th century after the Mongol Invasion brought distilling techniques from the Middle East to the country. For centuries it was made from grains, primarily rice or millet, and fermented in a unique way using nuruk as the starter. Nuruk comes from wheat, rice, or barley that has been moistened, made into a cake, and hung to ferment for a few weeks….

The History of Soju

Soju is one of the most consumed beverages in the world today, especially in South Korea. In 2017, Koreans drank 3.6 billion bottles. That’s 86 bottles per adult in one year, or two shots a day. Yet soju was not always the most popular drink in Korea. The history of soju follows the history of Korea itself. Soju is a distilled Korean liquor that has a fascinating history dating back to the Three Kingdoms period. The Korean peninsula has had a long standing tradition of making alcohol – longer than there has been a Korea. Get ready to explore the rich culture behind one of Korea’s most beloved drinks and learn the history of soju. How it all began Originally, Korean…

The Sool Company 2.0 – A Founder’s Letter

Our journey to a new brewery & education space, expansion to The Netherlands, and a continued mission to bring quality sool to the international community! If you follow any of our social media accounts, you might have noticed some pretty big changes at The Sool Company in the last 2 years. A lot has happened since Covid stormed in and changed our lives, both personally and professionally. In January 2020, I was running the business solo and had a promising spring calendar filled with makgeolli tours, events and classes. And just like that – I quickly saw the entire business model disappear. For most of the first year of Covid, just like so many other business owners in the same…

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