After experiencing years of moderate growth and success, the Kotobukiya Company changed its name in 1963, and Suntory Whisky as we know it today was born.
In 1972 they built the Chita grain distillery in the Aichi Prefecture, and the whisky made here would be used predominantly in blends.
The following year, and 50 years since the founding of the Yamazaki distillery, Suntory’s second master blender, Keizo Saji, decided it was time to expand further and build a second malt distillery.
He wanted the whisky produced there to be different in character than that being made at Yamazaki and so he sent one of his most trusted employees, Tameo Onishi (Yamazaki Distillery Manager at the time), on a journey around Japan with the goal of finding the most pristine water source in the country.
After a long journey that took him to all corners of Japan, he stumbled upon Hakushu. Even though he had come across many incredible sites and water sources on his travels, he was shocked at what he found here, stating “I’m surprised Japan has this type of water”. This journey would lead to Onishi being named “The Water Hunter” and soon after, Hakushu was born.
The new distillery would allow Suntory to produce a range of different whiskies, both single malts and blends, thanks to the contrasting characters of the spirit being produced at Yamazaki, Chita and Hakushu.
From here on, the company went from strength to strength as Japanese whisky grew in popularity around the country.
When Japanese whisky finally exploded onto the international market in the early 2000s, Suntory Whisky was well placed to take full advantage and their incredible creations became hugely sought after around the globe.
Further Expansion At Suntory Whisky
The Japanese whisky boom allowed Suntory to expand even further and today they have vested interests in not only Japanese whisky, but also Scotch and bourbon. They have gone on to produce some of the most astounding whiskies ever created, picking up a huge number of awards along the way.
They are without a doubt one of the biggest drinks companies in the world today - a true drinks giant and whisky legend.