The year has only just begun, and some amazing news for Japanese whisky has already come through.
If you’re reading this, then you know of Japanese whisky, and have heard of the painful scarcity of the best-selling, aged expressions. Yamazaki 12 year-old, 18 year-old, the aged Hibiki range, the Yoichi age statement bottlings. Finding all of the above is no easy task, and when discovered, the price tags can be hard to look at.
Therefore, it’s a delight to deliver the amazing news – Suntory, Asahi (owner of Nikka Whisky), and Kirin, the largest whisky makers in Japan, are all raising production to keep up with global demand.
Suntory, the company behind the Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Chita distilleries will invest $176 million in expanding their cask warehouses. The ultimate goal is to store more casks for maturation. Hopefully, we’ll never again see stock of our favourite Yamazaki disappear. The company estimates a 10 percent rise in sales by 2020.
To a lesser degree, with a $50 million investment, Asahi has increased the output of whisky by 80 percent since 2015, boosting production at both the Miyagikyo and Yoichi distilleries.
Kirin, owner of the huge Fuji-Gotemba distillery near Mount Fuji, has increased its half-year whisky output by 10 percent.
More countries around the world are becoming educated in quality whisky. With Japanese expressions leading the way in terms of exclusivity, rarity, and demand, it was only natural for the big players to invest further in scaling up production.
While none of the above projects will accelerate the aging process, it will make sure that future generations never have to look too far for their favourite bottles.
Needless to say, I’m enjoying 2018 so far. Are you?