Could it be the saviour of the barrel shortage? Successful mechanisation of the recharging process of whisky casks, enabling a significant increase in production.

Saburomaru Distillery

It is estimated that there are currently only about 50 barrel makers, known as coopers, in Japan.
In these days of craft whisky warfare, whisky barrels are one of the three indispensable sacred weapons.
Many companies are suffering from a shortage of barrels because the supply of whiskey barrels, which are made by hand, cannot keep up with the increased demand.
To overcome this situation, Shimada Lumber, Wakatsuru Brewery, and Sato Ironworks developed the “Barrel Roll,” a machine that automatically scrapes the surface of whiskey barrels
They developed the “Barrel Roll.”


1.Shimada Lumber.

Mainly engaged in forest management, log production and whisky barrel production.

Name of company.Shimada Lumber Co.
Location.1755, Nanto, Tomi⼭shi, 932-0231, Japan.
Establishment1948 (Company established in 2008)
Chairman and Representative DirectorKatsuyoshi Shimada
PresidentYuhei Shimada

2.Sato Ironworks

Repairs and manufactures industrial machinery and components.

Name of company.Sato Ironworks Ltd.
Location.735 Kamijima, Tonami, Toyama 939-1337
Founded16 January 1985
RepresentativeSeishu Sato

3.Wakatsuru Brewery

Wakatsuru Brewery, which operates the Saburomaru distillery, is a brewery with a very long history in Hokuriku, having started sake production in 1862 in Saburomaru village, Tonami County, Toyama Prefecture.
After the end of World War II, in order to break the deadlock, the company conducted its own research into distilled spirit production and obtained a licence to produce whisky in 1952.
For more detailed information on the distillery, click here↓.

4.Barrel rolling

Reference: Kitanihon Shimbun


Up until now, in order to reprocess used barrels, they had to be sent to a processing company, who would then manually re-charnish them and send them back, but perhaps from now on it will be possible to reprocess barrels in-house after receiving certain lectures.
However, it is also true that both the shaving and recharging of casks is the work of craftsmen.
While it is good that mass production will become possible, we are also concerned about how this will affect the industry.
A number of state-of-the-art equipment dedicated to recharging is in operation in the authentic Scottish ‘Speyside Couparage Alloa’, which was automated ahead of 2013

Environmentally friendly, locally produced and locally consumed whisky will promote rural regeneration and lead to employment and revitalisation.
The world is now also developing hydrogen-based distillers with the aim of decarbonising the world.
It is a joy to see this kind of movement spreading around the world and the production of environmentally friendly whisky.

櫻井 和人

Born in Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture
He loves all kinds of luxury goods, and was so impressed by the diversity of craft gin that he decided to become a bartender at the age of 30.
While working as a bartender, he visited BAR Shinkai and joined BAR Shinkai to learn more about the wide variety of Japanese craft whiskeys.
He is now working hard both on site and on the web so that more and more people can enjoy the pleasure of experiencing the best of the finest.

櫻井 和人をフォローする
Japanese Whisky Dictionary