Akkeshi Distillery(KENTEN JITSUGYO)|Detailed information about the distillery

Whisky Distillery
Whisky Distillery
Akkeshi Distillery

A charismatic and popular distillery created by the land of the north, leading the next generation of craft distilleries.


1. Outline

The distillery is located in Akkeshi-cho in the eastern part of Hokkaido, known as a famous oyster producing area, and is operated by “Kenten Jitsugyo Co”.
Headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, “Kenten Jitsugyo” was founded in 1964 by Kosaku Hida, and mainly deals with import and export of food ingredients and alcoholic beverages.
Keiichi Hida, the second president of the company, wanted to create Japanese whisky like Islay malt, and developed the whiskey business to produce craft whisky.
In order to build the distillery on top of a marshy area, the “Columbus method” was adopted. The soft ground, which extends to around 50 meters below the ground, was removed and replaced with Styrofoam before the foundation piles were driven in to adjust the ground.
The distillery received full cooperation from Forsyth from the initial stages of construction, and Forsyth engineers themselves stayed in Akkeshi for several months to thoroughly teach their know-how.
The factory is kept extremely clean, and in 2021 will be the first whisky distillery in Japan to receive HACCP certification.
The distillery aims to produce whisky with an awareness of terroir, and in the future, it will raise the goal of [Akkeshi All Star], which is composed entirely of products produced in Akkeshi.
In fact, the staff of the Akkeshi Distillery consists of staff who have never worked in whisky production before.

2. Basic Information

2-1. Owner

Kenten Jitsugyo Co.

2-2. Location

Postal code 088-1124
4-109-2 Miyazono, Akkeshi-cho, Akkeshi-gun, Hokkaido

2-3. Access

[By train]
Approx. 15 minutes by cab from JR Akkeshi Station
Approx. 50 minutes from JR Kushiro Station to JR Akkeshi Station on the JR Nemuro Line
Approx. 50 min. from Kushiro Airport to JR Kushiro Station by Akan Bus

*General tours are not accepted.
Guided tours of the distillery organized by Roadside Station Conchiglie are permitted (with a guide) *Outside tours only.

2-4. Start of operation

2016 (Heisei 28)

2-5. Main Products

All products are sold on a limited basis, and each concept has a very different character, so there are currently no year-round products.
However, our products have been a hot topic of conversation since their release and have consistently won numerous awards.

WSC “San Francisco World Spirits Competition”
[Winner of the Best Gold Award]
“Akkeshi Whisky Sarorun Kamuy (domestic version)”


[Winner of the Best Gold Award]
Whisky Category Other Single Malt Whisky Category
“Akkeshi Whisky Sarorun Kamuy (Overseas Version)”
“Akkeshi Single Malt Whisky Kanro”
[Gold Award Winner]
Whisky Division Other Whisky Category
“Akkeshi Blended Whisky Usui”

WWA “World Whisky Award”
[WWA Category Winner (Winner of the Best Gold Award)]
Japanese Single Malt/Non-Age Category
“Akkeshi Single Malt Whisky Kanro”

ISC “International Spirits Competition”
[Gold Medal Winner]
Japanese Whisky Category
“Akkeshi Whisky Sarorun Kamuy (Overseas Version)”
[Silver Prize Winner]
Japanese Whisky Category
“Akkeshi Whisky Sarorun Kamuy”
“Akkeshi Single Malt Whisky Kanro”
World Whisky Division
“Akkeshi Blended Whisky Usui”


3. Visitor Center

No public tours are accepted.

3-1. Nearby gourmet information

Conchiglie Roadside Station may be a major tourist attraction, but it is also interesting to see Bekanbeushi Marsh, which was selected as one of the 10 scenic spots in Akkeshi and a Ramsar wetland in 2005, and the brown river containing peat, where you can directly feel the soil where Akkeshi Whisky is made. It is also interesting to see the peat-colored brown river.
Other attractions, such as the famous oyster houses, may require some travel, but the freshness of the seafood will amaze you and make the trip more than worthwhile.
Be sure to drink “Oyster Lullaby,” a drink available only in the town of Akkeshi, at the restaurant in Konkirie.

3-2. Sightseeing Lodging

If you want to stay overnight in Akkeshi, “Hotel Gomi” is recommended.
The bar is open at night, and has a wide selection of valuable whiskey, which is coveted by malt liquor bars, as well as the whiskey of Akkeshi.
“Sakumi Sushi”, a 5-minute walk from Hotel Gomi, is also recommended.
The restaurant is also the location for the movie “Tsuribaka nisshi” (Fishing Fool’s Logbook), where a commemorative photo taken in Hotel Gomi is on display.

4. Production specs

The company’s motto is “back-to-basics”, and it is made in the traditional Scottish way.
One ton of malt is used per batch.
The two pot stills are both straight-headed onion-shaped, and there are six stainless steel fermenters.
As mentioned above, because the brewery stands on a marshy area, it is difficult to construct a large facility, and it is necessary to arrange the equipment in a limited space.
Incidentally, this space-saving idea was proposed by Forsythe.
The saccharification tank is a semi-reuter type.
The ripening cellars are two each of the dunnage type and rack type (the fourth ripening cellar has now been completed).
Soft water containing peat from the Ohoro River that runs near the distillery is used as the brewing water.
The malt used is English malt and “Ryofu,” a two-row barley produced locally in Akkeshi.
Drum malting equipment will be installed in 2021.

Production volume 170,000 liters (LPA)
Brewing water Homakai River, upper reaches of Ohoro River (hardness 50)
Raw materials Crisp Loriet grapes produced in the U.K., Ryofu grapes produced in Akkeshi
Brewing quantity 1 ton
Malt mill Roller mill made by Alandrac
Saccharification tank Forsyth stainless steel semi-reuter tannery
Wort volume 5,000 liters
Fermentation tank Forsyth stainless steel (5000 liters)
Fermentation: about 5 days
Pot still First distillation
1 Forsyth straight type (5000 liter), about 6 hours
One Forsythe straight type (3600 liters)
Mauri dry yeast, Akkeshi raspberry yeast
Cooling system Shell and tube
Bottling facilities Yes
Ripening warehouse 2 dunnage-type 4-stage buildings
2 racks with 3300 barrels

5. Maturing environment

The distillery is located about 2 km from Akkeshi Bay, where the summers are cool and the sea fog is at its peak between July and August.
When this sea fog occurs, in addition to the aroma of the sea and the rocky shore, the salt contained in the sea fog sometimes imparts a certain saltiness to the casks.
The snowfall in winter is low in Hokkaido, making it an ideal environment for the Akkeshi Distillery, which is modeled after the Islay whisky distillery.
The distillery’s temperature ranges from a high of 22℃ to a low of -12℃, which is a larger difference in temperature than that of Islay, and is thought to allow for more direct maturation.

6. Distillery Story

6-1. History

(Showa 39)
Kenten Jitsugyo established in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Handling import/export of food ingredients and alcoholic beverages.
2013 (Heisei 25) Started test aging of whisky.
2014 (Heisei 26) Business agreement signed with the town of Akkeshi-cho, Hokkaido; year of the distillery’s foundation.
(Heisei 27)
Construction of the Akkeshi Distillery started.
2016 (Heisei 28) Acquired a license for whisky production and opened the Akkeshi Distillery. Started distilling.
2017 (Heisei 29) Constructed the second maturation warehouse. Commissioned cultivation of local barley begins.
2018 (Heisei 30) “Akkeshi Newborn Foundations” (1 and 2) were released. Constructed the third maturation warehouse.
2019 (Reiwa 1) Release of “Akkeshi Newborn Foundations” (3 and 4).
2020 (Reiwa 2) Release of “Sarorun Kamuy” whisky from Akkeshi and “Kanro”, the first single malt in the Twenty-Four solar terms series. Construction of the No. 4 Maturation Warehouse is completed. Filling building completed.
(Reiwa 3)
Akkeshi blended whisky “Usui” and “Shosho”, single malt “Boshu” and “Ritto”, “Akkeshi blended whisky” limited to Hokkaido and for residents of Akkeshi town, and “Oyster Lullaby” limited to restaurants in the town are put on sale. Lotte released Japanese craft sake chocolate “YOIYO Akkeshi-Boshu” and “YOIYO Akkeshi-Ritto” in collaboration with the distillery. Construction of the malting building was completed. Test aging at the Furano Yamabe aging warehouse (Furano, Hokkaido) begins.
2022 (Reiwa 4) Akkeshi blended whisky “Daikan” and “Taisho” are put on sale. Akkeshi Single Malt Japanese Whisky “Seimei” and “Taisetsu” are released. Trial operation of in-house malting facilities begins. The No. 5 aging warehouse is constructed. Akkeshi vatted malt “Kamuy Whisky Kamuycikap” and “Deer Path” are put on sale.
2023 (Reiwa 5) Akkeshi Single Malt Japanese Whisky “Keichitsu” and Akkeshi Blended Whisky “Shoman” are put on sale.

6-2. Successive Blenders

Chief Blender Katsuyuki Tatsuzaki

Born in Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo in 1968.
Graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, Ibaraki University.
After graduation, researched alternative coagulant enzymes for use in cheese during his master’s program at the graduate school.
Upon completion of graduate school in 1993, he started working for a major dairy manufacturer.
After working in research laboratories and factories, he was transferred to the Procurement Department of the head office, where he met Mr. Keiichi Hida of “Kenten Jitsugyo Corporation”, a trading company specializing in the import of food ingredients.
Here is an excerpt from the official website about how he and the staff, who had never made whisky before, reached a point where they could make whisky through trial and error, even though they were doing it for the first time.

One of the forms that we have arrived at through our experience is a unique blending method that adds “multiple layers” to the taste and aroma of the whisky.
The complexity and depth of the whisky is created by combining different types of whisky from different seasons and different types of wood casks.
We do not simply reproduce the world of peat that is unique to Scotch whisky, but also create a “fruity” flavor that young women in Japan can enjoy as well.
“We hope that our whisky will be a gateway for as many people as possible to know the world of pleasant peat,” is the thought that drives us in our work as blenders today.

From the official website of the Akkehi Distillery

7. List of other distilleries

List of Japanese Whisky Distille...
The latest list of whisky distilleries in Japan updated in January 2021, including Yamazaki distillery, Hakushu distille...
Misato Ushiwata

Born in Fukushima Prefecture.
She attended a university in Tokyo, where she studied brewing and other sciences while translating articles for the "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".

Misato Ushiwataをフォローする