Statistics on export value of whisky (Year 2023)


The export value of alcoholic beverages in 2023 was approximately 134.4 billion yen (96.6% of the previous year ), down from the previous year’s record high.

The export value of whisky was approximately 50.1 billion yen (89.4% of the previous year), with the export value by category remaining unchanged from 2020 at No. 1.

1. FY2023 Export Value of Alcoholic Beverages by Item

Source: Ministry of Finance website

Item Export value (million yen)

Year-on-year change (%)

Whisky 50,092 ▲10.6
Sake 41,082 ▲13.5%
Liqueur 12,433 ▲8.6%
Beer 17,906 +66.6%
Gin & Vodka 3,758 ▲24.4%
Shochu 1,641 ▲24.4%
Wine 567 ▲17.4%
Other 6,930 +99.7%
Total 134,408 ▲3.4%

By product, whisky accounted for 37.3% of total export value.

Beer exports remained strong, but export value of preservable products was down from the previous year, possibly due to inventory adjustments in other countries.

2. FY2023 Top 10 Alcoholic Beverage Export Countries (by country) Value

Rank Last Year’s Rank Country

Export value (million yen)

Year on year (%)

1st place 1st → China 32,221 ▲18.3%
2nd place 2nd→ U.S.A. 23,719 ▲11.4%
3rd place 8th↑ South Korea 14,272 +156.0%
4th place 3rd↓ Taiwan 13,516 +12.4%
5th place 4th↓ Hong Kong 9,444 ▲18.5%
6th place 5th↓ Singapore 7,693 ▲6.6%
7th place 9th↑ The Netherlands 6,710 +59.7%
8th place 7th↓ Australia 6,583 +17.2%
9th place 6th↓ France 5,062 ▲18.2%
10th place 10th→ United Kingdom 1,983 ▲16.9%

Looking at exports of alcoholic beverages alone, China and the U.S. remain at the top of the list, but South Korea, which ranked first in terms of growth last year with an increase of 101.8%, has seen a considerable increase in exports this year as well, with an increase of 156.0%. Korea’s increase in exports is more than offsetting the decrease in China.

The growth in the Korean market was led by beer exports (Previous year +334.8%), while sake and shochu exports also exceeded the previous year’s figures.

3. Breakdown of Whisky Export Destinations in FY2023

Rank Country Export value (million yen) Year on year (%)
1st place China 13,200 ▲32.7%
2nd place U.S.A. 10,550 ▲4.0%
3rd place The Netherlands 5,890 +89.5%
4th place Singapore 4,100 +10.5%
5th place France 3,990 ▲20.8%
Others 12,350
Reference EU 10,780 +19.7%

Source: Export of Agricultural, Forestry, Fishery and Food Products in 2023 (by category)

In 2023, exports decreased to 50.12 billion yen (Previous year’s ratio ▲10.6%). Exports to China are expected to decrease significantly due to the economic slowdown.

4. Consideration and Summary

Continuing from last year, whisky was the top export value. Although China and the U.S. remain popular as markets, the figures show a decline from last year’s record high.

However, these two countries still have a single-digit difference in whisky export value, with China accounting for 26.4% and the U.S. 21.1% of the total, which is close to the 21.5% share for the EU as a whole.

It can be said that Japanese whisky continues to be popular, but all distilleries belonging to the Japan Western Whisky Brewers Association produce and sell whiskey under the standard regarding the labeling of Japanese whisky in whisky from March 31, 2024.

However, there are some whiskies exported to overseas markets that do not meet these standards at all, and are sold under labels with kanji characters and other labels that do not refer to Japanese whisky.

Of course, this does not mean that it is wrong to compete with whisky produced overseas in terms of voluntary standards. There are many delicious products made this way.
However, it is necessary to have clear guidelines for “Japanese whisky”,
Many distillery managers believe that it would be desirable to establish laws regarding the labeling and standards of whisky.

In order for “Japanese whisky” to become more trendy in the world in the future, there are still some things that can be done domestically.

5. Whisky Trends in Japan

As of 2024, there are nearly 100 distilleries in operation in Japan, with nearly 20 distilleries planned for construction, and about 120 distilleries to be built in Japan. Scotland, the home of whiskey, currently has about 130 distilleries, and is on track to reach that number.

In Japan, many popular whiskies have already been awarded GOLD or more at the WWA,ISC, and other dist illeries. It is likely that even more various distilleries will be awarded in the awards race in the future.

As the absolute number of distilleries has increased, there are more choices in the types of whisky that can be purchased, and whisky from distilleries that were not available at all before can now be found at liquor stores at fixed prices.

It is a good thing that there are more options available, but it is often said that “Japanese whisky has entered a period of elimination”.
It is expected that there will be two types of distilleries: those that will be eliminated and disappear, and those that will become more and more powerful and grow.

Worldwide, high quality whisky is attracting attention, and its value is rising.
I would like to support distilleries where I can “see” the passion that each distillery has put into their products, such as “authenticity,” “craftsmanship,” “new initiatives and efforts to preserve tradition,” and so on.


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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