Statistics on the value of whisky exports (2019)


The value of alcoholic beverage exports in 2019 amounted to approximately 66 billion yen, reaching a record high for the eighth consecutive year.

In particular, whisky and gin/vodka exports continued to grow at an unstoppable pace, with a significant increase over the previous year.

1. 2019 Alcoholic Beverage Export Value by Category

Item Export value (thousand yen)

Year on year (%)

sake 23,412,129 105.3
Whisky 19,450,914 129.9
Beer 9,165,267 71.2
liqueur 6,440,115 113.5
Gin & Vodka 3,402,355 154.1
Shochu 1,560,092 102.0
Wine 177,151 63.0



Total 66,083,256 106.9

Whisky rose close to sake.


Gin, which rose significantly last year, settled down a bit to 114.8% year-on-year.  “Vodka” led the way with a 509.7% year-on-year increase, albeit with a smaller denominator.

2. 2019 Alcoholic Beverage Export Destinations (by Country) Value

Rank Rank last year Country

Export value (million yen)

Year on year (%)

1st place

No.1 → 

United States of America


2nd place No. 3 ↑ China 10,117 154.7
3rd place No. 5 ↑ Hong Kong 6,253 107.4
4th place No. 4 → Taiwan 6,198 104.9
5th place No. 2 ↓ South Korea 6,151 55.6
6th place No. 8 ↑ The Netherlands 3,607 145.5
7th place No. 7 → Singapore 3,443 109.4
8th place No. 6 ↓ France 3,440 103.2
9th place No. 9 → Australia 2,292 95.2
10th place No. 10 → Vietnam 1,927 105.3

China moved up to second place, growing at 154.7% year over year, close to the U.S.


South Korea’s 55.6% year-on-year growth can be attributed largely to the impact of the Japanese government’s tightening of export controls on South Korea in August 2019, which led to a boycott of “beer” and other Japanese products in South Korea.

The impact of “beer” accounting for the majority of liquor exports to South Korea was significant, with the value of Japanese beer exports to South Korea peaking at about 7.9 billion yen last year in 2018; in 2019, the value dropped sharply to about 4 billion yen due to the boycott campaign.

3. 2019 Whisky Export Destination Value

Rank Rank last year Country Export value (million yen) Year on year (%)
1st place No. 1 →  United States of America 5,398 130.0
2nd place No. 2 → France 2,746 98.8
3rd place No. 6 ↑ China 2,528 215.9
4th place No. 3 ↓ The Netherlands 2,431 164.1
5th place No. 5 → Singapore 1,419 113.7
6th place No. 4 ↓ Taiwan 1,284 98.6
7th place

No. 7→

Vietnam 1,004 131.6
8th place

No. 8 →

Australia 569 120.0
9th place

No. 9 →

Hong Kong 360 119.2
10th place No. 10 → Korea 204 158.1

4. Discussion and Summary

Whisky rose at a rate approaching that of sake.

Japanese whisky is further expanding its popularity worldwide, with a particular trend toward higher-priced products.

The top 10 whisky export destinations showed significant year-on-year increases (except France and Taiwan). Among them, China (215.9%) and the Netherlands (164.1%) made great strides. As a result, China was the only country that improved its ranking. China moved up three places to close in on second-place France.

5. Domestic whisky trends

In 2019, representative whiskies released in Japan include Nikka’s Yoichi/Miyagikyo Limited Edition 2019, Akkeshi Newborn Foundation 3 and 4 from the Akkeshi Distillery, and Kanosuke Newborn 2019 from the Kanosuke Distillery.


In October, Venture whisky’s Chichibu No. 2 distillery began operations. With five times the production of the first distillery, it made headlines.

In November, the Ouzuyama distillery in Miyagi Prefecture began producing whisky.

In Kagoshima Prefecture, Nishi Shuzo’s Mitake distillery also began operations in 2019.

It was also during this period that craft distilleries were scheduled to be built one after another in various parts of Japan.


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.

新海 博之

Born July 17, 1981 in Kitahiroshima City, Hokkaido, Japan
After graduating from university, joined NTT Data Customer Service Corporation as a new graduate.
2010: Opened "Azabujuban BAR Shinkai" → 2016: Developed specialty "Yakuzen Curry" → 2018: Opened "Toranomon BAR Shinkai" and in 2019 "Shibadaimon BAR Shinkai" → 2020: Started web media "Japanese Whisky Dictionary".
We will daily communicate the appeal of Japanese whiskey as something we, as bartenders, can do.

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