SUNTORY: EXPANDED FACILITIES CAN BOOST SUPPLY OF YAMAZAKI & HAKUSHU BY 2027
By Susan Lewis
Source: Suntory Holding
Japan’s House of Suntory, owner of the Yamazaki and Hakushu brands, said they can expect whisky shipment to increase in 2027 when their expanded production capacity will be able to release more bottles to meet growing global demands.
Suntory’s President Nobuhiro Torii, the great-grandson of Yamazaki distillery’s founder Shinjiro Torii, said in an interview with Bloomberg news agency that Suntory is “keeping its foot on the gas pedal” to increase production.
However, as whisky needs time to mature, he said Suntory “may be able to ship out a little more” by around 2027.
In the face of ever increasing popularity of Japanese whisky in the global market, Suntory has invested more than ¥60 billion (USD398.7 million) to increase production and storage capacity over the past decade.
In 2021, the company started a two-year renovation of the Yamazaki Distillery near Kyoto and Hakushu Distillery near Tokyo at a cost of ¥10b.
Scheduled to be completed by autumn this year, the improvement works include introducing floor malting to both distilleries.
A yeast cultivation facility to be added to Hakushu Distillery.
An electric heating pot still to be added to the pilot distillery where new products are made and tested.
To enhance visitor experience, both distilleries will update their visitor centres to include more immersive experience and tasting opportunities, the new visitor centres are expected to be opened in 2023.
The Yamazaki Distillery was first constructed in Kyoto in 1923, six years later, the company launched the first commercially available Japanese whisky.
To date, whisky consumption in Japan is to a large extent driven by the popularity of highball cocktail, which blends whisky with carbonated water and served with ice.
Suntory’s expanded capacity comes as the number of craft whisky distilleries in Japan increases to take advantage of the boom.
The number of licensed distilleries specialising in whisky production swelled more than fivefold by 2021 compared to a decade earlier, according to data from Japan’s National Tax Agency.
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