Stephen Lyman was minding his own business, enjoying life in New York City as an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College when he was unexpectedly introduced to Japanese shochu at an izakaya in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan. Over the next decade he visited Japan more than twenty times, visiting more than a hundred shochu distilleries, sake breweries and other alcohol producers in more than twenty Japanese Prefectures. In 2013 he began interning at a small shochu distillery in Kagoshima Prefecture. He subsequently became the first graduate of the Sake School of America's Shochu Adviser Course and a kikisakeshi (sake sommelier) through Sake Service International. In 2016 he was named the first Honkaku Shochu Ambassador by the Japanese government through the Cool Japan program. He now spends about half his time in Kyushu in Southern Japan where he can be found cycling around and exploring local food, drink, and culture. Chris Bunting has worked in London and Japan for publications including the Asahi Shimbun, Times and Independent. He developed his love of Japanese alcohol while living in Tokyo and is the author of Drinking Japan. He currently lives in Yorkshire in the UK.