[Kirin Distillery] Starts production of Gotemba malt whisky

Fujigotenba Distillery

Kirin Distillery Fuji Gotemba Distillery, celebrating its 50th anniversary, has signed a long-term contract to purchase barley produced in Gotemba; 100% Gotemba malt whisky after 2031?

Fuji Gotemba Whisky, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, has received news that it will be brewing whisky with malt produced in Gotemba. With the current global situation and the price of purchasing malt skyrocketing, it is good news that one of the largest distilleries in Japan will now be using locally produced malt.


1. About Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery

Location 970 Shibafuda, Gotemba City, Shizuoka Prefecture, 412-0003, Japan
Start of operation November 1973

August 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.).
November 1973  Fuji Gotemba Distillery completed and production begins.
February 1974  Japanese Whisky “Robert Brown” is released.
July 2002  Company name changed to “Kirin Distillery Company, Limited” (became a wholly owned subsidiary of Kirin Brewery Company, Limited)
September 2005  Japanese Whisky “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku Barrel Aged 50°” and “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku Single Malt 18 Years” are released.
March 2016  “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku Blended 18 Years Old” released; “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku Barrel-Aged Original Sake 50°” released.
August 2018  “Fuji-Sanroku Signature Blend” is released.
April 2020  “Kirin Single Grain Whiskey Fuji” is released.

Fuji, “Kirin Distillery Company Limited’s Fuji Gotemba Distillery” 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 new facility will start operation in June 2021.

Reference: Kirin Distillery Company Limited official website

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

Fujigotenba Distillery | Japan...
Japanese Whisky Dictionary

2. production of Gotemba malt and start of brewing

Kirin Distillery Gotemba Distillery (President: Akinari Oshida) will begin production of Gotemba Malt Whisky, a new challenge for Kirin Distillery Fuji Gotemba Distillery, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, using local Fuji underground water and barley grown in Gotemba’s fallow fields.

Reference: PR TIMES

On Monday, November 4, a signing ceremony for a long-term purchase contract for barley produced in Gotemba, which will be the raw material for “Gotemba Malt Whisky,” and a barrel filling ceremony were held.

The signing ceremony was held with JA Fuji Izu, and in the presence of the mayor of Gotemba, Gotemba barley farmers, and Kirin master blender Jota Tanaka, the ceremony was held to pack the “new make” whisky distillate into oak barrels for maturation.

The whisky will be blended in part as early as 2028, and 100% Gotemba-produced barley whisky will be sold in 2031.

New Make, made with malt produced in Gotemba, is characterized by its soft and delicate taste. It will be aged for at least five years to express Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery’s policy of “Clean and Esteemed”.

3. Fuji Gotemba Distillery Lineup

4-1. Single Malt Japanese Whisky Fuji

[Review] Single Malt Japanese Wh...
Light and floral malt base alcohol traditionally produced as a "clean and esteemed" style, which has been our ...

4-2. Single Blended Japanese Whisky 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 ...

4-3. 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 th...

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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