Our Story

Paul and Mai Nakayama went on their honeymoon in the spring of 2015 to Amami, Japan to visit her parents’ hometown. While at a local bar, Paul and Mai were introduced to a vacuum-distilled craft spirit. It was a black sugar shochu that was so easy to drink and so delicious that they enjoyed quite a bit of it. The next day they took a 12-hour boat ride to visit the distillery and learn more about their new favorite spirit. 

On the plane back to Los Angeles, Paul and Mai couldn’t stop thinking about their honeymoon shochu and how much their friends in California would love it, too. 

This was the beginning of Nankai Shochu and our mission to share shochu with friends old and new.

The Team

Paul Nakayama

President & Co-Founder

A graduate of UC Berkeley’s Haas Business Program, Paul has extensive experience with start-ups and product marketing, including Amp’d Mobile, Clearwire, and magicJack. Paul leads the team’s vision and strategies for bringing shochu to a brand new U.S. audience.

Mai Nakayama

VP of Customer Experience & Co-Founder

A serial entrepreneur with businesses in Fukuoka, Japan and Los Angeles, Mai manages our creative vision for events and customer experiences. Her passion for building strong customer relationships is the heart of Nankai’s success.

Robert Morita

VP of Business Development

A graduate of UC Berkeley, Robert has extensive experience in project management and business analysis in both the private and public sectors. Robert is the key lead in developing strategic relationships with on-premise and off-premise accounts.

Alexander Joo

Creative Director

A talented designer and brand consultant, Alex has worked with some of the biggest names across multiple industries, including Godiva, NHL, and Walmart. Alex is responsible for Nankai’s innovative brand identity and packaging.

Contact Us

Want to stay in touch?

Whether you want to learn more about shochu or you want to stock some in your bar or shelf, we’d love to hear from you.

Email us at: sales@nankaishochu.com

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