[Ichiro’s Malt] Mr. Ichiro Akuto of Venture Whiskey Co., Ltd. was awarded “Hall of Fame”

Chichibu Distillery (Ichiro's Malt)

Ichiro Akuto, Master Blender and President of Venture Whisky (Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture), a whisky manufacturer specializing in Ichiro’s Malt, was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the prestigious British whisky magazine “Whisky Magazine”.


1.What is Hall Of Fame?

Hall of fame is a title given to people who have achieved great things. The word “fame” means “prestige.

The Hall of Fame has been presented annually since 2004 to individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to the whiskey industry over the years. The award ceremony was held in London on January 20 (local time), and he became the fifth Japanese and the youngest Japanese to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

As a pioneer in the revival of the Japanese whiskey industry after a long period of winter, he was highly praised for his bold efforts and technological innovations in manufacturing methods that were being lost.

In 2008, he opened the Chichibu distillery, the first in Japan in 35 years, and became a frontrunner in the entire industry. Not only did he win numerous awards, but he also proved to be an innovator in technology, working on a production method that was becoming lost as the domestic whiskey industry stagnated, and revitalizing the industry. He was also instrumental in ensuring brand standards and quality for Japanese whiskey,” he explained.

 Mr. Akuto said, “I am truly surprised to be inducted into the Whiskey Hall of Fame. I simply love whiskey and have worked hard to create something delicious. This is the highest honor for an individual, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me. From now on, I would like to focus on nurturing the next generation and contribute to the development of the industry.

Quote: Saitama Shimbun

We recommend ” Jari-dou ” for a book about Mr. Ichiro Akuto’s life.

[Suffering was not unfortunate but inevitable. I think I can read some of the secrets of Mr. Ichiro, who was so humble and soft-spoken.

2. what is Venture Whiskey Co.

The company that produces Ichiro’s Malt.

Company nameVenture Whiskey Co.
Head office49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama 368-0067
Owned distilleriesChichibu Distillery, Chichibu No.2 Distillery

What are Chichibu distillery, Hanyu distillery and Kawasaki distillery?

Chichibu distillery where Mr. Ichiro started the operation.

Hanyu distillery, which was the production base of Ichiro’s grandfather’s Toa Brewery, and Kawasaki distillery, which used to exist.

Distillery NameChichibu Distillery
Location of distillery49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama 368-0067
Start of operation2007

Chichibu distillery produces single malt whisky rooted in the Chichibu region.

The founder, Mr. Ichiro Akuto, takes pride in the fact that the malt whiskey is Japanese whiskey, and produces it by hand with a small mill, mash tun, oak fermentation tanks, and pot stills made by Forsyths of Scotland.

The Chichibu distillery is surrounded by rich nature, clean air, and high quality water. The summer is hot and humid, and the morning and evening temperatures are below freezing. The difference in temperature between the cold and hot in this harsh climate has a great influence on the maturation of the whiskey, resulting in a fruity and well-balanced whiskey despite the short maturation period.

Established in September 2004.
Chichibu distillery was completed in 2007.
In February 2008, a license to make whiskey was issued and whiskey production began at the Chichibu distillery.
In October 2019, the second distillery begins operations.

This distillery was established after Suntory Hakushu Distillery and Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery, which were established in 1973. This is the first distillery to be established in Japan in 35 years, at the very end of the whisky slump.
The annual production of whiskey is only two days that of the Glenlivet distillery in Scotland.

The second distillery, which has been in operation since fall 2019, produces a whopping five times as much as the first distillery. The pot stills are the same straight shape but much larger so that they can distill five times as much malt at a time. The pot still is the same straight shape but much larger so that five times the amount can be distilled.

For more information about Chichibu Distillery, please see also here↓.

秩父蒸溜所(イチローズモルト) | ジャパニーズウイスキーディ...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

Hanyu Distillery

Location4-1-11 Nishi, Hanyu-shi, Saitama-ken
Start of operation1946 – October 2004 (in operation until 2000)

Established in 1946 by Toa Shuzo as Akuto Shuzo Honke in what is now Chichibu City, Saitama Prefecture.
Began sake production.
In 1941, the company moved to its current location in Hanyu City, Saitama Prefecture, and was established.

In 1946, the company obtains a license to produce whiskey.
1948 Begins production of “Golden Horse” whiskey.
2000Stopped operation of Hanyu distillery (production of whisky distillate was stopped).

Stopped distilling after 2000, and the barrels being matured were handed over to Mr. Ichiro Akuto of Venture Whiskey. The Hanyu distillery was given the brand name “Ichiro’s Malt” by Mr. Akuto, and it became one of the limited but barely available products from the closed distillery.

Kawasaki Distillery

Location3-1 Suzuki-machi, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken
Start of operation1935-2003

1934 Showa Brewery Co.
1935 Kawasaki Plant begins operations
1942 Changed the company name to Showa Nosan Kako Co.
1947: Began production of whiskey at Kawasaki Plant, selling “Sun Luck Whisky”.
At that time, the company did not yet manufacture original whiskey, so it purchased original whiskey and sold blended whiskey.

1949 Name changed to Sanraku Shuzo Co.
1958: Increased whiskey production and started producing malt whiskey
1962 Merged with Ocean Corporation to form Sanraku Ocean Corporation
1969: Begins production of grain whisky at the Kawasaki factory.
1980 Construction of grain whiskey storage facility at Kawasaki Plant
1985 The company name was changed to SANRAKU CORPORATION.
1990 Company name changed to Mercian Corporation.
2003 Production function of the Kawasaki factory was terminated. The plant was closed.
2007 Became an operating company of Kirin Holdings and became part of the Kirin Group.

Currently stores the original Kawasaki factory whiskey at Venture Whiskey’s Chichibu distillery in Saitama Prefecture; in 2009, single grain Kawasaki “1982 Kawasaki,” “1981 Kawasaki,” and “1976 Kawasaki” whiskeys were released using whiskey distilled at the Kawasaki factory during the Sanrak Ocean era.
It is unknown how much of the original distillate remains today.

Please check out our other articles on Ichiro’s Malt.

[Review] Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu ...
This whisky is very fruity and also has a firm spicy character. The aroma is wonderful, and the alcohol attack is firm but smooth. The spiciness of cinnamon alo...
[Review] Ichiro’s Malt Chichibu ...
The first whisky with years was released from Ichiro's Malt. I feel the flavor of the barrel of the bourbon system and the flavor of the original sake of Ichiro...

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 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

(2). Japanese Whisky 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 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.

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

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.

Ryuhei Oishi

Bartender at bar Shinkai Toranomon, born in Hokkaido.
After working at a restaurant in Tokyo, became a certified sommelier by the Japan Sommelier Association.
I became interested in Japanese whiskey, of which he had little knowledge, and started working at bar Shinkai. I went to distilleries to talk to the distillers and joined JWD to share their passion and information as a bartender.

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Japanese Whisky Dictionary