Stephen Lyman and Christopher Pellegrini

Stephen Lyman is the author of the James Beard Award nominated The Complete Guide to Japanese Drinks. Currently based in Fukuoka, Japan, he is working on a shochu documentary, helps make handmade sweet potato shochu at Yamato Zakura Distillery every fall, and has been designated a Honkaku Shochu and Ryukyu Awamori Ambassador by the Japanese Cabinet Office. His deep appreciation for koji-based spirits inspired him to help launch Honkaku Spirits. He did this with one goal in mind: to realize his dream of being able to enjoy shochu and awamori in every bar in America.

Christopher Pellegrini discovered shochu and awamori after moving to Tokyo as a full-time professor at Waseda University. In 2014, he published the first ever English language guide to shochu and awamori, The Shochu Handbook. He also contributed to The Oxford Companion to Spirits & Cocktails, published in 2021. Christopher launched Honkaku Spirits in March 2020 with the mission of bringing intensely artisanal Japanese spirits to discerning consumers worldwide. He also co-hosts two podcasts focused on the education of Japanese spirits: Japan Distilled and Sake on Air. He is fluent in English and Japanese (conversational in Spanish and Korean).