Japanese Whiskey “Fuji” to expand overseas sales.

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Fujigotenba Distillery

Kirin Brewery will more than triple the number of countries in which it sells its Japanese whiskey, which is becoming increasingly popular around the world.

Kirin Brewery has announced a partnership with Pernod Ricard, a world-renowned French wine maker.

The high-priced “Fuji” whiskey is currently exported to five countries, including the U.S. Through Pernod Ricard, sales will be expanded to 18 countries.

The price is expected to be 10,000 yen per bottle, about twice the price in Japan.

The company plans to start selling the product sequentially from September 2023, aiming for sales of 4 billion yen in 2030.

The market for high-priced Japanese whiskey has increased by 20% in Japan and abroad over the past decade.

Kirin Brewery hopes to link this partnership to capturing demand overseas.

Reference: FNN Prime Online

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1. Manufacturer

Kirin Distillery Company, Limited

EstablishedAugust 1972
Head office location970 shibanta, Gotemba City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 412-0003, Japan
Owned distilleriesFuji Gotemba Distillery

2. Distillery

Fuji Gotemba Distillery

Location970 shibanta, Gotemba-shi, Shizuoka-ken 412-0003, Japan
Start of operationNovember 1973

Aug. 1972 Kirin-Seagram Company established as a joint venture between Kirin Brewery Company (Japan), JE Seagram Company (U.S., at the time), and Sievers Brothers (U.K.).
Nov 1973 Fuji Gotemba Distillery completed and production begins
February 1974 Domestic whiskey “Robert Brown” is released.
July 2002 Company name changed to Kirin Distillery Company, Limited (becomes wholly owned subsidiary of Kirin Brewery Company, Limited)
Sep. 2005 Domestic whiskey “Kirin Whiskey Fuji-Sanroku Barrel Aged 50°” and “Kirin Whiskey Fuji-Sanroku Single Malt 18 Years” are released.
March 2016 “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku Blended 18 Years Old” and “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku Barrel-Aged Original 50°” released
August 2018: “Fuji-Sanroku Signature Blend ” released
April 2020: Kirin Single Grain Whiskey Fuji is released

Fuji Gotemba Distillery, located at the foot of Mt. Fuji, is one of the few whisky distilleries in the world to handle the entire process from preparation to bottling of malt and grain whiskies.
The distillery produces a wide variety of Kirin Group products, including whisky, mineral water, and canned chuhai, in a natural environment blessed with abundant subterranean water from Fuji, a cool climate, and frequent fog throughout the year.

In February 2019, the company invested approximately 8 billion yen to expand its production facilities in preparation for further increases in whiskey sales volume in the future.
In order to produce a wide variety of malt whisky base whisky, four new small fermentation tanks and two lines of four distillers were installed to approximately double the base whisky production capacity, and the barrel storage capacity was increased by approximately 20% through renewal and enlargement of the barrel aging warehouse. The company aims to establish a production system that will ensure a stable supply of high quality whiskey in the future. Operations are scheduled to begin in June 2021.

Reference: Kirin Distillery Company Limited official website

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

List of Japanese Whisky Distille...
The latest list of whisky distilleries in Japan updated in January 2021, including Yamazaki distillery, Hakushu distillery, Yoichi distillery, Miyagikyo distillery, craft distilleries Chichibu distillery, Atsugishi distillery, Gaia Flow Shizuoka distillery, Mars Shinshu distillery, Mars Tsunuki distillery, Saburo Maru distillery, Azumi distillery, and 27 more! I'll be back!

3. Fuji Series

3-1. Single Malt Japanese Whiskey Fuji

[Review] Single Malt Japanese Wh...
Light and floral malt base alcohol traditionally produced as a "clean and esteemed" style, which has been our commitment since the founding of the company, and fruity and creamy malt base alcohol produced using an advanced brewing and fermentation process. We used mainly bourbon barrels, but also beer aging barrels and French oak wine aging barrels.

Single Blended Japanese Whiskey Fuji

[Review] Single Blended Japanese...
Everything from preparation to aging is done at the foot of Mt. Fuji, and it is a rare product in the world that blends a variety of malts and grains unique to Fuji Gotemba Distillery.

3-3. Single Grain Whisky Fuji

[Review] Single Grain Whisky Fuj...
Only the grain whiskey raw liquor from the Fuji Gotemba Distillery, which is highly acclaimed worldwide, is used, and three types of grain raw liquor with different flavor types are combined to create a taste that makes the best use of the flavor characteristics of each. A whiskey with a fruity fruity aroma and a flavor of orange and grape.

4. Consideration

Kirin Brewery’s recent expansion of whiskey exports can be attributed to the sluggish growth of its share in the domestic market and the increase in exports of domestically produced whiskey to overseas markets.

The domestic whiskey market had been on a steady decline from the 1990s to 2008, but has since experienced a V-shaped recovery, and as a reference, in FY2017, the market has been expanding every year with a 13.1% increase in value to 114.7 billion yen and a 9.0% increase in volume to 162,736 kl. The market has been expanding every year.

Although the number of bottles sold declined in 2020, this was due to a decrease in demand from restaurants for the Corona Disaster, and this figure is expected to recover in the future.

Sales volume (1,000L) and year

Source: Dear WHISKY

 

By domestic production and imports (volume), domestic production increased by 10.0% year-on-year to 139,196 kl from 2017, while imports increased by 3.3% to 23,540 kl, indicating that domestic whisky, which has a larger volume, is expanding more.

yellow : import orange : domestic products(100KL) blue : Amount of money(100 million yen)

Source: Distribution News

In such a large market, Suntory HD leads with a 40.9% share of the market by manufacturer (volume). The next largest brewer is Asahi Breweries with 25.2%, accounting for more than 65% of the total, and Kirin Breweries is struggling with 2.4%, following Takara Shuzo in third place with 2.8%.

The export volume of whiskey (blue bar graph in the figure below) has exploded in recent years due to the recovery of domestic demand, and the unit price of exported whiskey (red bar graph) has increased from 656 yen/liter in 2000 to 3,678 yen/liter in 2021. The demand for premium Japanese whiskey is exploding around the world, and by forming a partnership with Pernod Ricard and utilizing its sales channels, there is no doubt that Pernod Ricard intends to ride this wave of rising global demand and expand its market share in a single stroke.

blue : export volume(1,000L) red : yen/L

Source: Dear WHISKY

We look forward to seeing how many more fans Kirin will be able to attract around the world as it rides the wave of increasing demand for Japanese whiskey, which has never stopped being one of the top five whiskeys in the world.

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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.

この記事を書いた人
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
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