Most of us in this part of the world eat some kind of product made from soybeans every day: Tofu, soy milk, bean curd, and perhaps even soy ice cream. It is such an essential staple of our diet that we think we know all there is to know about this humble legume.
SinFooTech, a local alcoholic beverage company, got us looking at the soybean from a new perspective. It has introduced what they call a soy wine made from soy beans, or more accurately, soy whey. Named Sachi – a Japanese name which means “blossoming flowers and wisdom” – the drink is apparently the world’s first tipple made from soy. The product was launched in November 2021.
Sachi was created by Chua Jian Yong, an instructor at the National University of Singapore’s Department of Food Science & Technology. In 2016, while pursuing his PhD, Chua found that soy whey – a nutritious by-product generated from tofu production – was often thrown away by tofu producers. He decided to turn the whey into a sustainable food product.
Chua collected soy whey from a tofu factory and inoculated it with yeast to start its fermentation and produce alcohol. The fermentation, which lasts between 18 and 38 days, is then stopped using a flash heating process to kill the yeast. The alcoholic beverage is then filtered to improve its clarity and texture. It has a low ABV of 5.8 per cent.