[To be held on July 2, 2023] Hokkaido WHISKY FES 2023


Hokkaido WHISKY FES 2023 – “Your Special Drink, You Will Find” will be held on Sunday, July 2, 2023, for the first time in four years. A record number of over 80 booths will offer free tastings and many attractive bottles.
Advance tickets with original glasses are available in limited quantities from Saturday, April 15.
This whisky festival is full of attractions such as original bottles only available at the festival and “Master Class,” a paid tasting seminar with whisky industry experts as lecturers.


1. How to purchase tickets

Advance tickets with special offers, which are available in limited quantities, can be purchased at Ticket Pia, including Lochike and Seven-Eleven. Advance tickets with special offers will be discontinued when the number of tickets sold reaches the specified number, and sales will be switched to “general tickets” without admission privileges or the right to purchase an original bottle, so please be sure to purchase early.
The timing of the switch to “general tickets” will be announced on the website and various social networking services as soon as it is known.

Click here for LOTIKE (L code: 12357)
Click here for Ticket Pia (P code: 649-560) at Seven-Eleven and other outlets.

A small number of tickets will also be available at the Executive Committee stores and cooperating stores. For more details, please click here.

2. Outline of the event


Royton Sapporo 3F Royton Hall, Kita 1-jo Nishi 11-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0001, Japan

Royton Sapporo 3F Royton Hall


3 minutes walk from Nishi 11-chome Station on the Subway Tozai Line

Date and Time July 2, 2023 Registration starts at 10:00 a.m., Admission starts at 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Price Advance tickets 5,000 yen (tax included)
Organizer Hokkaido WHISKY FES Executive Committee

2-1. Exhibit Booths

Hokkaido WHISKY FES will have more than 80 booths, the largest number in the past. The leading whisky distilleries and liquor stores in Japan, famous bars from all over the country, and the Institute of Whisky Culture will also be exhibiting.
Below is a partial list of whisky distilleries scheduled to exhibit.

Suntory Nikka Whisky Akkeshi Distillery Kanosuke Distillery
Venture Whisky Honbo Shuzo Mars Whisky SAKURAO DISTILLERY

Asaka Distillery

Shizuoka Distillery Nagahama Distillery

Eigashima Brewery

Yoshida Denzai Distillery
Niisato Brewery Igawa Distillery Kusumi Distillery Niigata Kameda Distillery
Shindo Distillery Niseko Distillery Kamui whisky Benizakura Distillery & Maoi Distillery

2-2. Open Seminar

This is a free talk show on the main stage and will be divided into 4 parts, each with very interesting content.

■11:20-12:00 [Talk Session  New Hokkaido Distilleries ~Now and Future~]
Four panelists from Hokkaido’s hottest distilleries (Katsuyuki Tatezaki from the Akkeshi Distillery, Tetsutaro Murata from the Maoi Distillery, Javier Negrete from Kamui Whisky, and Masato Nagumo from the Niseko Distillery) will discuss their passion and commitment to whisky making and their vision for the future.

■12:50-13:20 [Nikka Whisky’s Tradition and Innovation ~Toward the 90th Anniversary of its Founding~]
Nikka Whisky will celebrate its 90th anniversary in 2024. Chief Blender Hiromi Ozaki and Senior Ambassador Hiroshi Noda of Taketsuru will unveil the history of Nikka Whisky, and a guest bartender will demonstrate cocktail making using “Nikka Session”.

■14:10~14:50 [The Pleasure of Whisky Expanded with Snacks SUTORY×ROYCE]

When it comes to alcohol, it is always accompanied by snacks. Mr. Seizo Saji and Mr. Taichi Sasaki, two professionals from Suntory, will explain in an easy-to-understand manner about the pairings they consider on a daily basis.

■15:40-16:10 [HOW TO TASTE!]
Robert Stockwell, popularly known as Bob, will teach the audience how to taste the ideal whisky, which he has derived from his experience working at numerous distilleries, while tasting the whisky with the audience.

2-3. Master Class

In addition to a general admission ticket, a “Master Class admission ticket” must be purchased for this Master Class.
Master Class admission tickets will be available only through Lawson Ticket from Monday, May 1. No same-day tickets will be sold.
Click here to purchase
*Only those who have purchased advance tickets with benefits can apply.

■Room A 11:45-12:30 [Hokkaido Shakotan Gin: How to Make Fire Sails]
Capacity: 40 people
Admission: 3,000 yen
Lecturer: Hideki Iwasaki (Shakotan Spirits Co., Ltd.)
Explanation of the details of making Shakotan Spirits “HONOHO” series, using 7 kinds of botanical spirits that make up “HONOHO KIBOU”.

■Room B 13:45~14:30[His thoughts on Akkeshi Distillery’s Twenty-Four Season Series and its future development]
Capacity: 40 people
Admission: 3,000 yen
Lecturer: Katsuyuki Tatezaki (Kenten Jitsugyo Corporation, Akkeshi Distillery)
Akkeshi Distillery started operation in 2016, and this year marks its 8th season. The 24 Seasons series has reached its turnaround with the 12th release in August this year. Mr. Tatsuzaki, who has been both distiller and chief blender since the distillery started operation, will talk about his passion for sake making, his thoughts on the Twenty-Four Solar Terms series, and the future prospects of the series.

■Room C 15:45-16:30 [Visiting the late Romano Levi, the genius of Grappa]
Capacity: 35 people
Admission: 9,000 yen
Lecturer: Junya Honma (THE BOW BAR)
Mr. Romano Leve, a prodigy of Grappa, passed away in 2008. We will enjoy a tasting of five carefully selected bottles from his works from the 1980s to the 2000s, with commentary by Mr. Homma.

2-4. Original Bottles

The label features Hokkaido’s native wildlife from the collection of works by Sapporo photographer Hiroki Inoue. The carefully selected original bottles will include two types of whisky, “Glenmurray” and “Ardmore,” and a “Gin” blended by the Hokkaido WHISKY FES Executive Committee members.
*Only those who have purchased an advance ticket with a serial number can apply. Those with [General Ticket] cannot apply.

■Application for the original bottle
Saturday, April 22, 12:00 – Sunday, June 11, 23:59
Click here for the application address.
If the number of applications exceeds the planned number of bottles to be sold, a lottery will be held.
You will be notified of your selection and payment method by e-mail after Thursday, June 15.

3. Finally

This year, many whisky festivals are being held throughout Japan. Last year, there were several festivals held in central Tokyo, but this is the first time in four years that a whisky festival like this one has been held! and others are increasing, and the whisky industry is sure to become even more exciting.
This is a great event for those who have always wanted to go to a whisky festival but never had the chance to go because it was too far away. Why don’t you come to your local whisky festival? You will definitely discover something new!


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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