[Operation scheduled for spring 2025] Venture Whisky to build a new distillery in Tomakomai, Hokkaido.

Chichibu Distillery (Ichiro's Malt)

Venture Whisky, the leading domestic craft whisky maker known for “Ichiro’s Malt,” has announced that it will build a new grain whisky distillery in the Rinku Kashiwabara district of the Tomakomai East region (Tomatoh).

The distillery will be constructed from May 8 with a total investment of several billion yen, and is scheduled to begin operations in the spring of 2025.

Venture Whisky is based in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, and currently operates its first and second distilleries.

With the addition of the new distillery, the company expects to further expand its lineup and increase its distribution volume.

The new distillery will cover a total area of approximately 6.6 hectares, and will consist of facilities for fermentation and distillation of raw materials such as corn, and storage facilities for long-term maturation of whisky. The annual production capacity is 2,400 kiloliters. The company plans to hire approximately 20 new local workers in preparation for the start of operations in the spring of 2013. The whisky will be aged for a minimum of three years, with the aim of starting distribution of “Tomakomai-produced whisky” in the market in the spring of 2008.

Quoted fromyahoo! News


1. Venture Whisky Chichibu Distillery

1-1. Venture Whisky Chichibu Distillery

Chichibu Distillery started operation in 2008, and in just a few years became a whisky maker that the world has come to know as “Ichiro’s Malt“.
“Toa Shuzo”, which was run by the father of the founder “Ichiro Hido”, owned the Hanyu Distillery and was engaged in whisky production. When Mr. Hido took over in 2001, the business was in a slump, and it was transferred to “Hinode Trading” in 2003. At that time, the decision was made to withdraw from the whisky business, and the stored whisky was in danger of being disposed of. The company scrambled to find a buyer and succeeded in obtaining cooperation from the Sasanokawa Shuzo, and was able to move the whisky stored at the Hanyu Distillery to a rented storage facility. Later, together with the Sasanokawa Shuzo, they began selling whisky made from the Hanyu Distillery’s original sake.
In 2004, Mr. Hido established Venture Whisky Co., Ltd. and in 2007, he completed a whisky distillery in Chichibu, which is his hometown and also a good environment for sake brewing.

Whisky Festival 2019 Exhibit. We were able to sample some of the products from the previous releases. The booth was always crowded, indicating the popularity of Ichiro’s Malt.

Location Chichibu, Saitama 368-0067
49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu, Saitama, Japan
How to get there

<By train>
15 minutes by cab from Minano Station on the Chichibu Railway Line
20 minutes by cab from Seibu-Chichibu Station on the Seibu Line.
<By Car>
From the Hanazono Interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway, drive straight on the Minano Yorii Toll Road toward Chichibu.
Pass through the toll booth, exit at the second exit, go straight at the intersection Otsuka, turn right at the next intersection, and proceed after checking the signboard for Midorigaoka Industrial Park.

Start of operation2007
Official HP Chichibu Distillery Facebook page
ToursFor professionals only. No public tours.
ProductsIchiro’s Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve, Ichiro’s Malt Double Distilleries, Ichiro’s Malt & Grain…etc.

Chichibu Distillery’s representative whiskies

1-2. Venture Whisky Chichibu No.2 Distillery

In 2018, the Chichibu 2nd Distillery operated about 400 meters away from the Chichibu Distillery.
At the Second Distillery, the fermentation tanks were changed from Quercus crispula to French oak. In addition, the pot stills were changed from indirect heating by steam to direct heating by gas.
The First Distillery produces 160 liters of alcohol equivalent per day, while the second distillery produces 800 liters per day, about five times as much.
Ichiro’s Malt is currently difficult to obtain, but with the start of operations at the Second Distillery, the production volume is expected to increase significantly and the distribution volume of products will also increase.

2. Tomakomai City

Tomakomai City is a city located in the south-central part of Hokkaido, Japan.

It is the largest industrial city in Hokkaido, with factories in various fields, including Oji Paper, due to its convenient location near the Port of Tomakomai and New Chitose Airport, but it is also rich in nature, with Mount Tarumae, one of the top 200 mountains in Japan, and Lake Utonai, which is designated as a national wildlife preserve and a Ramsar Convention-listed wetland, The city is also expected to have high quality water quality, which is important for whisky production.

The combination of easy access to transportation and distribution, and the natural environment, which is ideal for whisky production, were definitely factors in Venture Whisky’s decision to establish a distillery in Hokkaido.


In the quoted news article, the president of the distillery, Mr. Ichiro Hido, says that the new distillery is planned to be a grain whisky distillery, and that while the main raw material will be North American corn at the beginning of the operation, they plan to actively introduce products produced in Hokkaido while monitoring the price trend, and in the future, they plan to produce a completely purely domestic single grain whisky and a blended whisky by combining malt whisky from the Chichibu 1st and 2nd Distilleries. It is not difficult to imagine that in the future they will produce a single grain whisky or a blended whisky by combining malt whisky from the Chichibu No. 1 and No. 2 Distilleries.

If the operation of the new distillery is stable and the supply volume increases, we can expect further expansion of the Ichiro’s malt brand lineup and an increase in the supply volume to the market, and the day when we can enjoy Ichiro’s malt brand whisky more easily may not be far off.

We will continue to follow the progress toward the completion of the distillery and wait with anticipation for the new whisky that will be produced in the near future.


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".

Misato Ushiwataをフォローする
Japanese Whisky Dictionary