One of my fondest memories of growing up in Shanghai, China, was watching my father make rice wine and tasting the final product. (Note that there was no minimum drinking age at that time in China!) Doing it as a hobby, his success rate was at best 50%. On the occasions that he did succeed, his creation was the best-tasting drink one could ever have. It had a mesmerizing fragrance and a savory taste, sweet and refreshing with a hint of alcohol. It was a dessert that we enjoyed at family meals.
During one of my father’s visits to Cleveland many years later, I finally learned the craft from him and have continued the tradition ever since. One day while enjoying the drink with a friend, the idea of producing and sharing the drink with more people on a commerical scale was brought up. With a PhD in Cell Biology under my belt (absolutely not a qualification, simply the fact that I can effectively fine-tune a process), I started to experiment with fermentation conditions and gradually modified the recipe to produce a non-alcoholic drink that my children can enjoy as well.