Over its short history (compared to Scotch) Japanese whisky has seen a surprising number of whisky distilleries shut down. While many may be surprised to hear this, judging by the current success the category is experiencing, things weren’t always so.
From the late 1980s, Japan’s domestic spirit, shochu, and beer started to boom. As a result, the skyrocketing consumption of Japanese whisky started to slump, and continued to plummet until the mid-2000s. During those 2 decades Japanese distillers had it hard. Really hard. Supply outweighed demand, and many producers reduced whisky production greatly. In the worst case, distilleries shut down.
The early 2000s saw the end of the Hanyu and Karuizawa distilleries, bottles of which are highly sought-after and extremely rare today. The Kawasaki distillery, the Shirakawa site in Fukushima, all distilleries lost in time. Sadly, many forget that these whisky makers were instrumental in one way of another in paving the way for Japanese whisky.
Inspired by the great distilleries of the past, a new wave of small Japanese whisky distilleries is taking over Japan. Stay tuned for out upcoming piece on new Japanese distilleries, in keeping with our anniversary theme of old traditions and new beginnings.
Today’s Anniversary Discount
Take 10% Off ALL Silent Distilleries. (Hanyu, Kawasaki and Karuizawa)