Behind The Back Bar
While there are many obvious reasons for Bar Ben Fiddich’s popularity (the mysterious wall of vintage liqueurs, Kayama’s bottomless knowledge of herbal spirits, and his unmatchable charm), his “Farm to Bar” approach distinguishes Bar Ben Fiddich from most.
Kayama stands near his bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo
Having grown up in a farming family in Chichibu about a two-hour drive from Tokyo, Kayama spent his childhood surrounded by soil, cattle, and a mountain view. In fact, one of the mountains had been owned by his family for decades, making for a gigantic playground throughout his childhood.
Most of Kayama’s adolescence was spent playing baseball and he began his career at a modest bar not particularly known for craft cocktails. However, it was his discovery of absinthe and Chartreuse that became a turning point. Fascinated by European herbal liqueurs, Kayama began collecting vintage liqueurs in his early twenties.
Kayama’s fascination with herbal liqueurs quickly became an obsession. Upon realizing none of the rare botanicals were available for purchase in Japan, he figured growing these herbs was the quickest way to gain access to their flavors.
Tasting fennel from his family farm
Story In A Glass
This brought him full circle back to his family farm, where he now grows and dries rare herbs, distills home-made liqueurs including absinthe, and currently planting over 200 juniper trees to become the foremost juniper farmer in Japan.
In the video, The SG Shochu brand manager Joshin Atone visits Kayama at his family farm to get a glimpse into his life as a farmer/bartender. At Bar Ben Fiddich, we can taste Kayama’s story through his cocktails.
The SG Shochu brand manager Joshin visits Kayama at his farm