The Nikka revolution?

In a previous post we reported that Nikka was to discontinue its oldest brand Yoichi, the reason being that there is a shortage of whisky on the market following the popularity of the NHK morning show Massan on the life of Masataka Taketsuru and his wife Rita. As demand has increased massively Nikka it trying hard to meet that demand, and one of the things it did was to discontinue its beloved Yoichi Single Malt whisky.

The news came as a surprise as one would think that Yoichi would not be the first brand to be discontinued like this. However, I the rumors are right Nikka is in fact discontinuing their entire single malt lineup.

Stefan Van Eycken on Nonjatta, an authority on Japanese whisky claims that this is indeed what is happening, there will be on more single malts from either the Miyagikyo or the Yoichi distilleries, and this will happen as early as September 1st. So, no more 12 year olds, 15 year olds or 20 year olds, no more old whisky at all. What will be replacing it is younger whisky, in other words Nikka is in such a hurry to rush whisky on the market following the latest demand that they simple cannot wait a few more years for the stuff.

According to Stefan Nikka will be:

discontinuing their ‘White Label’ pure malt (i.e. vatted malt), and the following blended whiskies: Tsuru 17, G&G, Hakata, ‘The Blend’, Malt Club, Hi-Nikka (only available in 720ml bottles from now on, as opposed to the larger plastic bottles prevalent in supermarkets around the country – up to 4 litres in volume), All Malt (only available in 700ml bottles, no longer in the larger bottles), Black Nikka 8yo and Black Nikka SP (only available in 700ml bottles, no longer in the larger bottles).

The new lineup will also be more expensive, sometimes as high as 50%,

So why are they doing this? As already mentioned there is a huge, rather sudden increase in whisky consumption in Japan. As making whisky mature often takes over 10 years the stocks being sold out today were made in a very different marketing environment. Its only understandable that Nikka is keen on capitalizing on this sudden boom.

Apparently Nikka whisky from the barrel, Nikka Coffey Grain and Nikka Coffey Malt will still be available, but it seems you should be stocking up on the rest.