Statistics on the value of whisky exports (2018)

In 2018, the value of alcoholic beverage exports reached approximately 61.8 billion yen, a record high for the seventh consecutive year.

In particular, whisky is now recognized worldwide for its quality, and the export value of whisky surpassed that of beer in 2015, taking second place to sake.

1. 2018 Alcoholic Beverage Export Value by Product Category

ItemExport value (Unit: thousand yen)

Year-on-year change (Unit: %)

Sake22,231,502119.0
Whisky 14,977,532109.8
Beer12,874,183100.0
Liqueurs5,671,642113.9
Gin & Vodka 2,208,328320.0
Shochu1,529,62099.5
Wine280,97855.3

Other

2,053,236

128.4
Total61,827,021113.4

The outstanding growth was seen in “gin” . On a stand-alone basis, the year-on-year growth was 309.9%.

The rapid growth was the result of the global popularity of “craft gin” which led to an increase in production and exports as major beer makers such as Suntory and Asahi Breweries and shochu makers entered the market one after another.

The big move came in 2017. The export value of alcoholic beverages greatly exceeded that of the previous year by 4258.7%, and in 2018, the export value showed further growth, reaching 309.9% of the previous year’s level.

2. 2018 Alcoholic Beverage Export Destinations (by Country)

RankCountry

Export value (Unit: million yen)

Year-on-year change (unit: %)

1st place

U.S.A.

13,110

109.1
2nd placeSouth Korea11,066102.9
3rd placeChina6,541149.3
4th placeTaiwan5,910111.3
5th placeHong Kong5,821121.4
6th placeFrance3,333103.3
7th placeSingapore3,148113.7
8th placeThe Netherlands2,479105.6
9th placeAustralia2,407126.7
10th placeVietnam1,830210.8

3. 2018 Whisky export destination value

RankCountryExport value (Unit: million yen)Year on year (Unit: %)
1st placeU.S.A.4,162120.0
2nd placeFrance2,778101.4
3rd placeThe Netherlands1,48182.3
4th placeTaiwan1,302107.0
5th placeSingapore1,248115.3
6th place China 1,171274.2
7th place Vietnam 763
8th placeAustralia47497.0
9th placeHong Kong302134.2
10th placeKorea129157.3

4. Considerations and Summary

Japanese whisky has won numerous awards at international whisky competitions, which has increased the global popularity of Japanese whisky, and the rapid increase in inbound tourism has further increased the number of Japanese whisky fans.

In addition, the increase in the number of Japanese restaurants overseas has also led to an increase in the consumption of domestically produced sake.

 

The top 10 countries in terms of overall liquor export value all showed year-on-year increases. Among them, “China” (149.3% y/y) and “Vietnam” (210.8% y/y) showed dramatic growth.

 

As for the export value of whiskey, “China” (274.2% over the previous year) and “Vietnam” (out of the range of the previous year) also showed significant growth.

 

“South Korea” which ranks second in terms of overall liquor export value, ranks 10th in terms of whisky export value, and exports more beer (7,879 million yen) than whisky (beer export value is by far the largest).

5. Domestic whisky trends

In 2018, representative whisky releases in Japan included Suntory’s Hibiki Blender’s Choice, Nikka’s Yoichi and Miyagikyo Manzanilla Wood Finish, Akkeshi Newborn Foundation 1 and 2 from the Akkeshi Distillery, and Kanosuke Newborn 2018 from the Kanosuke Distillery. The representative brands are

The so-called 2016 group, including the Akkeshi and Kanosuke distilleries, started releasing their products in 2018.

 

In addition, the Yuza distillery in Yamagata Prefecture started operation in November 2018.

Chugoku Brewery (now Sakurao Brewery and Distillery) in Hiroshima Prefecture established and started operation of SAKURAO DISTILLERY in 2018 as a commemorative project for the 100th anniversary of its founding.

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.

(1).Whisky Galore Vol.29 December 2021 issue

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 whiskey 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

(2). Japanese Whiskey as an Education for Business

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.

(3). Whisky and I (Masataka Taketsuru)

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 whiskey 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 whiskey, as well as his companion, Rita.

(4). A Letter of Challenge from a New Generation Distillery

Launching in 2019. With the world experiencing an unprecedented whiskey boom, what were the managers of craft distilleries thinking and what were their thoughts as they took on the challenge of making whiskey? This book tells the stories of 13 craft distillery owners, including Ichiro Hido of Venture Whiskey, 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 whiskey 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 whiskey can be found.

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