On February 15, 2022, a reorganization plan for the Asahi Group Japan structure was announced. Not only will the Nikka Whisky Nishinomiya Plant, which is associated with the TV drama “Massan” cease operations in March 2024, but the Asahi Breweries Kanagawa Plant and Asahi Breweries Shikoku Plant will also cease operations in January 2023, and the Asahi Breweries Hakata Plant will cease operations at the end of 2025 and relocate to a nearby area.
- 1.Nikka Whisky Nishinomiya Factory
- 2. Future
- 3. Consideration
- Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky
1.Nikka Whisky Nishinomiya Factory
Nikka Nishinomiya Factory started operation in 1959. When it was in operation, it manufactured whisky, but after becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Breweries in 2001, it manufactured “Shochu High Club” and “Highball in a Barrel” .
Nikka is also associated with Nishinomiya. It is said that the villa of Shibakawa Matashiro, where Masataka Taketsuru, known as the serial TV novel “Massan” is said to have lived when he returned from Scotland, was located in Nishinomiya. The landlord’s mansion, a western-style house in Nishinomiya City, was used as a location in the Massan program.
|Factory name||Nikka Nishinomiya Factory|
Nishinomiya, Hyogo 663-8242 Japan
2-118, Tsumon Iida-cho, Nishinomiya City, Hyogo Prefecture
|Products||“chu High Club” and “Barrel Highball”|
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This article has focused on the Nikka Nishinomiya Factory, but Asahi Breweries Kanagawa Factory and Asahi Breweries Shikoku Factory have also announced that they will cease operations at the end of January 2023. As young people are moving away from beer and demand is shrinking, we will reorganize our production and distribution origins to improve management efficiency.
A total of 311 employees will be affected by the closure of the plant. The employees of the closed plants will be reassigned within the group or supported for re-employment.
Atsushi Katsuki, President and CEO of Asahi Group Holdings, said, “By reorganizing, we will be able to reduce fixed costs and increase the utilization rate of the plants to be consolidated”.
The city’s commerce and industry division said that while it would be painful to see a hole in industry and employment, it is expected that some businesses will be interested in the vast site. Others are hoping that the site will be used for business purposes, as there are concerns that the construction of condominiums and commercial facilities will put pressure on the capacity of schools and cause traffic congestion.
We often hear the phrase “people are losing interest in sake. It is true that sales of sake and shochu are declining. It was quite a shock to see a drop in sales of beer, including Asahi Super Dry, which is well known to men and women of all ages.
But on the contrary, the demand for whisky is on the rise. Various breweries have started making whisky because of the declining sales of sake and shochu, and whiskys full of individuality are being produced. I assume that the Asahi Group will similarly focus more on the production of spirits, especially whisky, in order to keep up with modern demand.
If they are going to focus on whisky production, we can expect to see the results as early as 2022, four years from now.
I am not sure if the current whisky boom will continue until then, but as a fan, I am looking forward to it.
I also speculate that with the increase in capacity utilization due to the reorganization, there will be more distilleries in Yoichi and Miyagikyo, and further enhancement of the tours. It is unfortunate that the plant is closing, but I am very happy that the whisky industry is growing.
When the distillery tours are further enhanced, please visit the distillery. You will be able to experience the passion and history of the distillery more closely.
For more information about Nikka Whisky or the Nikka distillery, please visit here.
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Lastly: Recommended Books on Japanese Whisky
If you want to learn more about Japanese whisky, which is a global trend, we highly recommend these books.
In the December 2021 issue of Whisky Galore, published by the Whisky Culture Research Institute, we report on 11 Japanese craft distilleries, including some that are open to the public for the first time, under the title of “Japanese Whisky Craft Frontline,” the first of three consecutive issues. Why did the popularity of Japanese whisky and the craft boom occur? We will examine with interviews. Chichibu Distillery / Chichibu No.2 Distillery / Mars Shinshu Distillery / Mars Tsunuki Distillery / Kanosuke Distillery / Hioki Distillery / Ontake Distillery / Osuzuyama Distillery / Kaikyo Distillery / Hanyu Distillery / Konosu Distillery
This is a book written by Mamoru Tsuchiya, a world-famous whisky critic and representative of the Whisky Culture Research Institute, titled “Japanese Whisky as a Culture that Works for Business” .
The book covers the basics of whisky, the introduction of whisky to Japan, the birth of Japanese whisky, advertising strategies and the rise of Japanese whisky, and the current rise of craft distilleries. This is a book that summarizes Japanese whisky in a very easy to understand way.
Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky, devoted his life to brewing whisky in Japan. This is a revised and reprinted version of the autobiography of a man who simply loved whisky and talked about himself. The book vividly depicts the days when he went to Scotland alone to study as a young man and overcame many hardships to complete Japanese whisky, as well as his companion, Rita.
Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whisky boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whisky? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whisky, famous for his Ichirose Malt, who inspired the birth of craft distilleries in Japan.
(5). Whiskey Rising
This is the Japanese version of Whisky Risng, published in the US in 2016, with much updated content. Not only does it describe the history of Japanese whisky in detail, but it also includes data on all the distilleries in Japan, including the craft distilleries that have been founded in recent years. The book also includes descriptions of the legendary bottles that have been released, as well as information on bars where Japanese whisky can be found.