Christopher Pellegrini is a shochu and awamori expert, author, podcast host, and die-hard Tokyo Swallows fan, incorporating his infectious enthusiasm and knowledge of Japanese spirits in all his professional endeavors. He launched Honkaku Spirits in March of 2020 with the mission of bringing intensely artisanal Japanese spirits to discerning American consumers, especially koji-based spirits including shochu, awamori, and koji whiskey.
Hailing from Bristol, Vermont, Christopher received his B.A. in Spanish from Wittenberg University and his M.A. in language education from University College London. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Bioresource Economics at Kagoshima National University in Japan.
After honing his skills as a brewer at Otter Creek Brewing Company in Middlebury, Vermont, Christopher became a full-time professor at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Following the launch of Honkaku Spirits, he now lectures at the university on a part-time basis.
Respected throughout the industry, Christopher is a judge of the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition as well as Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. In addition to being a contributor to the award-winning “Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails,” his extensive understanding of shochu inspired him to write the first non-Japanese book about shochu and awamori, “The Shochu Handbook.” He also co-hosts two podcasts focused on the education of Japanese spirits: Japan Distilled and Sake on Air. Fluent in English and Japanese, Christopher’s contribution to increasing global knowledge of Japanese spirits continues to shape opinion on the burgeoning category.
Christopher was the first person to be simultaneously certified by the Sake Service Institute as a Shochu Kikisakeshi (specialist) in Japan and as a Shochu Advisor by the Sake School of America; to this day he is one of a select few that hold both accreditations. Christopher also speaks conversational Spanish and Korean.
Passionate about giving back, Christopher proudly supports the Minga Foundation, the Providence Saint Joseph Foundation, and the Ray Pellegrini ‘Reach for the Stars’ Scholarship.
March 23, 2023
On this episode of THE COCKTAIL GURU PODCAST, hosts Jonathan & Jeffrey Pogash take a spirited journey to the land of the rising sun with shochu, awamori, sake, and Japanese whisky expert—and multilingual polymath—Christopher Pellegrini, one-time brewer, sometime actor and producer, founder of Japanese spirits importer Honkaku Spirits, and author of The Shochu Handbook: An Introduction to Japan's Indigenous Distilled Drink. All brought to you by Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Monin Premium Gourmet Kiwi Syrup.TCGP S2