4. NEW JAPANESE CARFT WHISKY DISTILLERY
After Ichiro's malt success, many Japanese companies started whisky business. Many of them are producing their bottle from import bulk however some real craft whisky distilleris were also founded. In add, some closed distilleries restarted their production.
Most of these distilleries are founded by Shochu (Traditional Japanese spirits) prodcuers like Yuza, Kanosuke, Osuzuyama, Shimofukumoto, Tsunuki. Altough Akkeshi was founded by food/liquor importer and Shizuoka was founded by start up company Gaia flow. These distilleris have full set pot still and focus on quality whisky like single malt.
2018 Yuza distillery
Yuza distillery was founded by Kinryu which is joint company of 9 local sake breweries. It was founded in 1950 for distilling alcohol to add in sake. Because there were not enough rice to make sake which demand was increasing along with post war reconstruction and Sanbaishu (triple sake) which is blend of Sake, distilled alcohol and other additive were majour.
Kinryu shifted to Shochu (Japanese traditional sprits) along with market change in 1970s.
They decided to open new whisky distillery to establish overseas market because 95% of their sales is for local area, Yamagata prefecture and its population is expected to decrese 1% per year.
They are specialized to single malt, it mean 100% distileld by Yuza distillery. It will be relased in 2021 although their new pot is rich but very elegant.
Yuza distilleries story
TLAS is their slogan meaning Tiny, lovely, Authentic and Supreme.
Kinryu experienced both Sanbaishu sake boom/shrink and Shochu boom/shrink therefor they focus only on SUPREME quality whisky which must be remain after boom. Actually they plan to produce only single malt whisky.
They target thier originality on AUTHENTIC style from Scotland so they requested Scotish company Forsyth not only to make pot still but also to design distillery building and layout. However their production member has no experienced staff from other companies to build oroginality on Scotland AUTHENTIC.
Yuza distillery was designed to be operated by minimum staff so there are noly 3 young production staff. So it's TINY distillery but has 100,000 L/Y distillation capability.
2015 Kenten jitsugyo
2017 Akkeshi distillery
Akkeshi distillery was founded by Tenken Jitsugyo which is liquor and food importer. They chose Akkeshi to build their distillery because it is ideal enviroment with rich local natural material/resource.
Ideal envorinmental means that cool and humid, but the temperature difference is severe. Natural resource/material means peat, peat filtered water, native Mizunara forest and barley. Their target is 100% local material.
They are very focused on fermentation and hygiene so that their whisky is rich peated but very clear taste.
Story of Akkeshi distillery
Sarorun Kamuy Single Malt
Highly expected new Japanese whisky distillery Akkeshi released thier 1st single malt whisky in the beginning of 2020. Its name is Sarorun Kamuy but what does it mean?
It is Ainu ethnic language. Ainu is minor ethinic in Hokkaido, north main island of Japan and Akkeshi distillery is located in eastern Hokkaido altough Nikka Yoichi distillery is located.
Sarorun means crane and Kamuy means god because they had faith in aminism and thought that God dwells in all things of nature including animal.
If you would like to know some more about thier life, I recommend to read manga Golden Kamuy.
Paradox of ultimate cleaness and rich lactic acid bacteria
Whisky by Akkeshi distillery is rich peated but very clear taste. It is result of thier challenge to paradox of ultimate cleaness and rich lactic acid bacteria.
Production in Akkeshi distillery is leaded by member from the leading general dairy products manufacture in Japan. Actually that comapny had bitter scandal memory in 2000 due to hygiene management fail. That company established most strict hygiene management by strict cleaness contorl as like precision electronics industry.
But it causes paradox in fermentation process because fermentation is done by bacteria. They chose stainless tank for mashtan although most distilleries use wood mashtan helping lactic acid bacteria which makes fruity flaver in whisky. They realize same level lactic acid bacteria in stainless mashtan by fermentation controlalthough they are using stainless mashtan.
As as result, their whisky is very clear taste with peated smokey flavor. It might be because of rich but simple type lactic acid bacterial in mash.
Rich natural resource from Ramsar registered bog
Akkeshi distillery is located next to Bekanbeushi bog registed by Ramsar Converntion. This enviroment is very important for thier whisky because of 4 points.
1st point is rich peat in the ground and it fillers water. So it can provide both clear water and peat with Akkeshi distillery. 2nd poitn is cool but climatic climate with stable humidity which is important for cask aging. 3rd point is native forest of Mizunara tree which is Japanese original tree and its caks is very popular and premium in the world today because Mizunara cask can add very special flavor in whisky. Last point is oyster, Akkeshi area is famous of Oyster in Japan and mariage of Akkeshi whisky and oyster is dream combination.
So very rich natural resource around Akkeshi distillery is supporting thier dream 100% local material whisky.
Bottle by Akkeshi
Available Bar and Shop in Netherlands
Available Bar and Shop in Germany
1883 Komasa jozo
2018 Kanosuke distillery
Kanosuke distillery was founded by Komasa Jozo which is pioneer of cask aging Shochu (Traditional Japanese spritis).
They are 1st company which started cask aging for Shochu in 1959. Their brand "Mellowed Kozuru" is No.1 cask aged Shochu brand today. They started whisky business with thier know how and technique which they had built up for Mellowed Kozuru.
They chose land in front of longest sand beach Fukiage hama which was originally purchased by 2nd president Kanosuek Komasa. It has visitor center including bar with ocean sunset view.
Kanozuke distilleries story
Mellowed Kozuru and whisky
Cask aged Shochu got success in Japan but struggle for overseas market because Shochu is normally 25-40 degree and diluted with water to 10-20 degree to drink during meal. However this style is unfamiliar abroad unfortunately so that Shochu couldn't established its presence in overseas market although Sake was established their overseas market along with Japanese resturant increasing.
There were one turning point that they received enquiry from Scotish company who think highly of Mellowed Kozuru but it was cancelled because Shochu is unfamiliar spirit in Europe.
They decided to start whisky with know how and technology which they had built up for Mellowed Kozuru. They are also planning whisky aged by Mellowed Kozuru Shochu cask.
Cask aged Shochu limitation because of liquor tax law in Japan
Komasa Jozo is pioneer and leading company of cask aged Shochu (traditional Japanese spirit) and their "Mellowed Kozuru" is top brand in this segment. However they have frustration with cask aging limitation due to liquor tax law in Japan.
Because it define minimum light transmittance of Shochu and if it got too much color by long cask aging, they have to reduce color by filtering or blending to be Shochu otherwise it is just liquor in Japan. Some other distillery are selling that kind of too much colored Shochu by long cask aging as rice whisky in USA. Because it can't be whisky under EU/Japan regulation but it can be whisky under US regulation.
Bottle by Kanosuke
(Hoji tea, Orange)