[Hokkaido Prefectural Research Institute] Began production of corn whisky in Hokkaido [Sapporo Shusei Kogyo]


Sapporo Shusei Kogyo (Sapporo) began producing “corn whisky” made mainly from Hokkaido corn on November 21.

This is a rare attempt to produce grain whisky, which is made from grains other than barley malt, such as corn, on a continuous basis in Hokkaido. This project is part of the “Hokkaido Corn Whisky Project” promoted by the Hokkaido Research Institute (Doshoken, Sapporo), which is a joint effort by various companies and organizations in Hokkaido, with the aim of “using Hokkaido corn to make Hokkaido whisky that we can be proud of to the world.” This is a project in which various companies and organizations in Hokkaido are working together with the desire to “use Hokkaido-produced corn to make Hokkaido whisky that we can be proud of to the world.

Quoted from: Hokkaido Shimbun

See separate article for more information on the project.


1. About Sapporo Shusei Kogyo

Joined the Hokkaido Corn Whisky Project on July 29, 2021 as the person in charge of liquor production. Sapporo Shusei Kogyo is a long-established manufacturer that celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. The company manufactures a variety of alcoholic beverages, including shochu, wine, gin, and liqueurs, and also produces blended whisky called “Sapporo Whisky EZO,” which is a blend of British malt and in-house produced grain whisky. The company also has expertise in grain whisky production, which is thought to be the reason why the company took on the corn whisky production.

Sapporo Shusei Kogyo Official

2. Current situation of grain whisky production in Hokkaido

In Hokkaido, Ichiro’s Malt is planning to open a grain distillery, and the Dee Tripper distillery, owned by BEHIND THE CASK, an independent bottler of whisky, will start producing grain whisky. It is no exaggeration to say that Japanese whisky is showing unprecedented growth. It is inevitable that many distilleries will be established in this vast natural environment, which has a climate similar to that of Scotland, the birthplace of Japanese whisky, and more and more distilleries, both malt and grain, will enter the Hokkaido market.

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3. Summary

The company hopes to release its first corn whisky next summer at the earliest, followed by aged whisky in 2026. The project is also researching the development of new casks other than Quercus crispula using wood from Hokkaido, and depending on the results of this research, there may be a new cask that follows Quercus crispula, and whisky made from these casks may be produced not only in Japan, but also around the world. We are very much looking forward to the future progress of this dream-filled project.


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.

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".

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