Fuji Gotemba Distillery(Kirin Holdings Company, Limited)|Detailed Distillery Information

Whisky Distillery
Whisky Distillery
Fujigotenba Distillery

Fuji Gotemba Distillery is located at the foot of the World Heritage Site Mt.
Fuji Gotemba Distillery is one of the few distilleries in the world where malt whiskey and grain whiskey are produced in an integrated process from preparation to bottling.

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1.Outline of Fuji Gotemba Distillery

Kirin-Seagram, a joint venture between Kirin Brewery, JE Seagram, and Seabass Brothers, was established in 1972.
Fuji Gotemba Distillery was established in November of the following year.
The distillery is a fusion of Kirin, Seagram’s, and Seabass’ respective technologies.
The distillery is characterized by the use of Fuji’s subterranean water and the production of whisky with the motto “clean and elegant” to suit the Japanese palate.
Fuji terroir, and will start using barley produced in Gotemba from 2023.
We will aim for “pure Gotemba-grown.
From 2021, production capacity will be strengthened and wooden vats will be added to the existing stainless steel fermentation tanks.
Six distillation vessels are now in operation, with four smaller vessels added.
The facility is also equipped with four multi-column columns for the production of grain whiskey, beer columns used in bourbon production, and doublers and kettles for a wide variety of base whiskey production.
In 2023, the company announced a partnership with Pernod Ricard, a world-renowned French winemaker, and appears to be working to expand its sales channels to the global market.

2.Basic Information

2-1. Owner

Kirin Distillery (Kirin Holdings Company, Limited)

2-2. Location

Gotemba, Shizuoka 412-0003, Japan
970 Shibafuda, Gotemba, Shizuoka, Japan

2-3. Access

Bus】 【Bus
Free shuttle bus service from JR Gotemba Station
Go out the ticket gate of Gotemba Station and proceed to the Hakone Otome Exit on the right side.

Car】 【Car
Exit at the Gotemba I.C. of the Tomei Expressway in the direction of Lake Yamanaka, and go straight on Route 138 (about 7 km).
Get off at “Mizudono Exit” and turn right at the Mizudono East intersection.
Turn left with the pot still on the left.

2-4. Start of operation

1972 (Showa 47)

2-5. Main Products

Clean & Estrous”, which has been our motto since our founding, has been embodied since our first release.
It is a whiskey that is truly suited to the Japanese palate.
The delicate taste that matches every situation, such as climate and food culture, is a bottle where the skills of Jota Tanaka, who was awarded the “Hall of Fame” by Whiskey Magazine, the highest title of a blender, shine through.

Single Grain Whiskey Fuji Awards
ISC2020 (International Spirits Challenge) Gold Medal

ISC2021 Gold Medal
ISC2022 Gold Medal
TWSC2022 (Tokyo Whiskey & Spirits Competition) Silver Award
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Other newly released pure Japanese whiskies bearing the Japanese name from Fuji Gotemba Distillery include.
Although the Japanese whiskey industry will continue to revise its prices in order to make them more reasonable by global standards, you can purchase a Japanese single malt for around 6,000 yen.
Furthermore, it is expected to expand its sales channels to the global market through a partnership with “Pernod Ricard”, so you should definitely try this bottle before you can no longer afford it.


3.Tours and Visitor Centers

Weekdays 10:30 – 14:10 Weekends and holidays 9:30 – 14:10
Fee 500 yen
Approx. 80 min (60 min factory tour, 20 min tasting)

Click here for reservation form

 

3-1. Gourmet Information in the Surrounding Area

Fuji is a great place to visit.
Fuji, there are plenty of leisure facilities, gourmet food, lodging, and sightseeing nearby.
On the way home, you can go shopping at the Gotemba Premium Outlets.

3-2. Sightseeing Lodging

4.Manufacturing specs

About 620m above sea level, average annual temperature 13℃, average humidity 80%, cool climate, fog occurs many times throughout the year.
In addition to malt whiskey and grain whiskey, the company also produces chuhai, mineral water, and other products.
The raw materials are 9.6 tons of corn and 0.5 tons of malted barley.
The brewing water is from three wells located within the distillery and is sourced from Mt.
Fuji Gotemba Distillery’s greatest feature is its ability to produce three different types of grain whiskey.
In addition to the multi-column distiller, which is considered to be the most common type, the distillery operates kettle and doubler distillers, which have different characteristics, and are quite rare in the world. The Doubler distiller, developed by the Sealing Company, is the standard for bourbon production and produces a heavy type of raw spirit.

Production volume12 million liters (malt and grain combined) *Data 2008
Brewing waterFuji (hardness: approx. 55°C)
IngredientsCorn & barley malt & rye (from Canada)
Brewing quantity5.7 tons (malt)
Malt millSwiss Bühler roller mill
Saccharification tankStainless steel semi-rotary tin (45,000 liters) made by Miyake Seisakusho
Wort volumeApprox. 30,000 liters
Fermentation tanks8 stainless steel fermenters manufactured by Tohoku Ohe Kogyo (6 for malt whiskey)
4 wooden Douglas fir vessels
Pot stillFirst distillation
2 units of straight type (4000 liters) made by Miyake Seisakusho
1 lantern type (28,000 liters) manufactured by Miyake Seisakusho
Redistillation
One Miyake-made straight type (3,200 liters)
1 lantern type (3200 liters) manufactured by Miyake Seisakusho
One Miyake-made bulge type (17,000 liters)
Others
Four multi-column continuous distillation units for grain whiskey
1 column of beer columns (26 shelves of sieve trays)
1 kettle (60262 liters batch-type single distillation unit)
1 doubler (11230 liters)
Cooling systemShell and tube
Bottling facilitiesYes
Aging roomYes
 

5.Maturing Environment

There are four huge high-rise rack-type aging rooms, each capable of storing more than 30,000 barrels, and one dunnage-type room, with a total storage capacity of approximately 130,000 barrels.
One of the main features of the barrels was that the wine was barrel-aged at 50.5% alcohol by volume in order to promote gentle aging, rather than the usual 63% alcohol by volume.
In recent years, however, it has been barrel-entered at other percentages for the purpose of increasing variation.
The main barrels used are 180-liter American white oak bourbon barrels.

6.Distillery Story

6-1. History

Year: 1972

Kirin-Seagram Company established as a joint venture between Kirin Brewery, JE Seagram of the U.S., and Sievers Brothers of the U.K.
1973Kirin Seagram Gotemba Plant completed and production started.
1974Robert Brown” released
1975Launched “Dunbar
1979Launched “Emblem
1981Released “Crescent
1983NEWS” was released
1984

Saturday 1″ and “Saturday 2” were released
1985 Released “Robert Brown JR.
1986 Boston Club” is released.
1989Launched “Tendilleries
1992 Hips” was released.
1993

Fuji Gotemba Pure Malt” was put on sale.
1994 Rice Whisky” was released.
1998 Released “Camp
1999 Released “Evermore 1999”, “Boston Crab Light-bodied Genshu” and “Boston Crab Full-bodied Genshu”.
2002 Became a subsidiary of Kirin Brewery and changed the company name from Kirin Seagrams to Kirin Distillery.
Kirin Seagram 30th Anniversary” released.
2004 The Fuji Gotemba Single Malt 18 years old” and “The Fuji Gotemba Single Grain 15 years old” were released.
2005 Release of “Kirin Whisky Fuji-Sanroku”, “Fuji-Sanroku Barrel Aged 50°” and “Fuji-Sanroku Single Malt 18years”.
2007 Released “Single Cask Fuji Gotemba 10years” and “Kaorufu”.
2011 Released “Ocean Lucky Gold
2013 Fuji Gotemba Single Grain 27years Single Cask” and “40th Anniversary” were released
Renewal of the Visitor Center
2014Fuji Gotemba Blender’s Choice Single Malt” and “Fuji Gotemba Single Grain” released
2015 Release of “Fuji Gotemba Single Malt 17 years old” and “Fuji Gotemba Single Grain 25 years old”.
2016 Release of “Oak Master Barrel Scent,” “Fuji Gotemba Barrel Aged Original 50°,” “Fuji Gotemba Blended 18 Years,” and “Fuji Gotemba Distillers Select (single malt, single grain)
2018Release of “Fuji-Sanroku Signature Blend” and “White Horse Highball” cans
2019Start of expansion of production facilities
Launch of “Oak Master Morinokaze Kaoru” and renewal of “Oak Master Barrel Kaoru
2020Release of “Kirin Single Grain Fuji”, “Kirin 30 Years” and “Kirin Riku”.
2021Fermentation tanks and 4 pot stills are added (Of the old distillation kettles, one each for first distillation and second distillation are taken out of service).
Expansion of the aging warehouse
2022Kirin Single Blended Japanese Whiskey Fuji
Fuji 2022 Masterpiece” is released.
Kirin Whiskey Riku” is relaunched.
Launched Kirin Single Grain Japanese Whiskey Fuji
Launched in China and Australia
English name of distillery changed to “Mt. Fuji Distillery
2023Kirin Single Malt Japanese Whiskey Fuji is released
The 50th anniversary of the distillery “Kirin 50th Anniversary Edition” is released in a limited edition of 3,000 bottles
Gotemba Premium Outlets store opens for a limited time.
Limited release of 3,000 bottles of “Single Blended Japanese Whiskey Fuji 50th Anniversary Edition

6-2. Past blenders

Master Blender Jota Tanaka

Joined Kirin Brewery in 1988
After stationed at a winery in Napa Valley in 1989, completed a master’s degree at the University of California, Davis.
Returned to Japan in 1995 and was in charge of wine product development.
Later, he was involved in product development at the Fuji Gotemba Plant and as a brand manager of imported wines in the Marketing Department at the head office.
In 2002, he transferred to Fore-Roses, which was acquired by Kirin Brewery Company.
He was involved in bourbon production and overall product development at the Fore-Roses distillery in Kentucky.
Returned to Japan in 2009 and worked as a blender at the Kirin Beer Product Development Laboratory.
In 2010, he was appointed chief blender.
Appointed Master Blender in 2017.
In the same year, awarded Master Blender of the Year at the Icons of Whisky 2017, an international award in the whisky industry (World’s Best Award).
Awarded HALLofFAME by Whisky Magazine.
Both of these awards are the best in the world, and he is now counted as one of the world’s leading Master Blenders in both name and reality.
In 2019, in recognition of his accomplishments in the U.S. bourbon industry, he was the only Japanese to be welcomed as a founding member of The Order of the Writ, a membership organization of the Kentucky Bourbon Association.

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Chief Blender Koji Onoda

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Blender Genki Takeshige

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In 2006, he joined Kirin Brewery Company, Limited.
Mainly engaged in technical development of shochu until 2009.
Since 2010, he has been active in the Product Development Laboratory, focusing on the development of new RTD (Ready to Drink) products.
In 2018, he became the blender of Fuji Gotemba Distillery.
He is in charge of development focusing on “Riku” and “Fuji”.

7.List of other distilleries

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!
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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