History : Digest




Shinjiro Torii founds Torii Shoten
and begins to produce and sell wine.

A Pioneer Spirit that Paved the Way for
Western Liquors in Japan

Shinjiro sets out to create western-style liquors to suit Japanese palates.

Shinjiro Torii (1879-1962)

View More


Launch of Akadama Port Wine*
*renamed to Akadama Sweet Wine in 1973

A pioneering new product

Akadama Port Wine becomes the cornerstone of Suntory


The challenge of creating
an original Japanese whisky

Kotobukiya* sets out to create
an authentic whisky born from the Japanese climate
and suited to Japanese palates.

*Kotobukiya Limited founded in 1921.

Construction of the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923.

Japan's first malt whisky

1929: Launch of Japan's first authentic whisky,
Suntory Whisky Shirofuda (white label).


Launch of Suntory Whisky
Kakubin (square bottle)

The birth of the beloved
Japanese whisky.

This whisky embodies the distinctive
flavor suited to Japanese tastes of
which Shinjiro had dreamed.



Suntory Museum of Art opens

Giving back to society

Social outreach activities began with the Hojukai
(social welfare organization),
established in 1921.

Keizo Saji becomes
2nd president (1961).

Keizo Saji (1919 - 1999)


Launch of Suntory Beer

Keizo Saji moves into the brewing business
with the ambitious goal to make the company
that sets the bar for continual growth.

Kotobukiya Limited then becomes
Suntory Limited.


Hakushu Distillery established.
It is located in the foothills of Mt. Kaikomagatake
in Japan's Southern Alps, where cool, clear waters flow
through a pristine forest environment.

Hakushu Distillery in 2010.

illustrated by

Launch of Save the Birds campaign.

Bird sanctuary opens on the distillery grounds.
Launch of Save the Birds activities under the slogan
"Today Birds, Tomorrow Humans," signifying the starting point
of efforts to preserve the natural environment
and biodiversity

Watch the video (7min)



Suntory begins managing
the Château Lagrange winery in Bordeaux, France.

This partnership with one of the world's
leading wine brands is established aiming
to enhance a culture of appreciation for
wine across Japan.

By focusing on making the highest quality wines
and maintaining full respect for the traditions and customs
of the Bordeaux region, Suntory revitalizes Château Lagrange
and revives its wine.


Suntory Hall opens.

Suntory increases its contribution to cultural life,
acting on the belief that businesses should share
their profits with society.

The hall with its "vineyard" seating arrangement,
called a "jewel box of sound" by Herbert von Karajan,
becomes a symbol of classical music hall in Japan.


Shinichiro Torii becomes
3rd president (1990).

Shinichiro Torii (1938 - 2004)

Suntory sets its sights on becoming
Japan's leading food
and beverage company

In the 1990s, the food & beverage business that started in 1972 goes on to launch many
new products and expands its share in the soft drinks market.


SesaminE supplement launched

Harnessing nature's bounty
to support human health.

Research on polyphenols leads to the establishment
of Suntory's health and wellness business.


Nobutada Saji becomes
4th president (2001).

Nobutada Saji (1945 - )


Launch of our Natural Water Sanctuary Project

In line with our corporate mission statement,

"To create harmony
with people and nature,"

Suntory promotes ecological business management as the duty
of every company that depends on nature's bounty, and pledges
to preserve and nurture the forests that create the quality
groundwater used in our products.

Launch of Mizuiku (2004),
Suntory's Education Program for Nature and Water
is designed to provide children with interactive experiences
and classes in local schools to help them appreciate
and realize the importance of nature and natural water.

Suntory develops new businesses
based on fundamental technology
research. In 2004, this groundbreaking
research leads to the development of
the world's first blue rose, which had
been considered impossible to create.


The Premium Malt's wins Japan's first Grand Gold Medal*
for the beer category at the Monde Selection in 2005,
and continues on to win this prestigious Medal
for the next two consecutive years.

*Award won by medium-sized bottle

Praised for outstanding brewing technology and high quality.

We adopted a new corporate logo in 2005. The motif behind
our corporate logo is water, an indispensable resource to all
that we do at Suntory. The shape of the letters evokes the
image of water and the font color used is fresh "water blue,"
a color that strongly resembles fresh water. It symbolizes our
thought of always being fresh, free, and flexible like water,
gently flowing and circulating the Earth.

Aiming for further growth worldwide

Suntory acquires the Frucor Group,
and the Orangina Schweppes Group in 2009.
Lucozade Ribena Suntory Limited is established in 2013.


Suntory Beverage & Food Limited is listed
on the first section
of the Tokyo Stock Exchange

Nobuhiro Torii, President of Suntory
Beverage & Food Ltd.


Beam Suntory Inc.

Matt Shattock, Chairman, CEO of Beam Suntory Inc.
and president Saji in May 2014

The birth of the world's 3rd largest*
premium spirits company

*Estimate based on IWSR data

Takeshi Niinami becomes
the company's 5th president (2014).

Takeshi Niinami (1959 - )


Began "Natural Water Sanctuary"
activities overseas.


Cultivated approx. 12,000ha of water resources,
more than double the amount of groundwater
pumped up at Suntory Group plants in Japan


Started operation of
“Kita Alps Shinano-no-Mori Water Plant",
Suntory's first factory to achieve virtually zero CO2 emissions in Japan

Renewed the "Suntory Group Corporate Philosophy,"
incorporating our founding spirit, company motto,
and other long-held values

Learn more

Key phrases that represent Shinjiro Torii

A lifelong dream

Japan was importing wines and whiskies from distant countries across the sea, but Shinjiro Torii dreamed of making them himself, some day.
His lifelong dream was to make products as good as the best wines and whiskies he knew, and to surpass them.


Everything Shinjiro set out to do was new to Japan.
He introduced wine to ordinary Japanese people who had never tasted it; he taught people who had never heard of whisky how to drink it.
He took the spirit of craftsmanship and made it a way of life.

Untiring efforts

Shinjiro had the dreams and pride of a true craftsman, and dedicated his life to creating good products, working untiringly and sparing no effort to improve their quality.

"You can advertise as much as you like, but it's no good if you don't have a good product.

You can't be confident in advertising it, and if your customers start to say you're all talk, it's over.

You have to start by making a really good product."

*Reference: Bishu Ichidai: Torii Shinjiro Den (= "One Generation of Excellent Whisky: Shinjiro Torii's Story")

He was not content to be simply a tradesman, producing whisky to make a profit, but strove all his life to make a contribution to society.

A warm personality

Shinjiro was a demanding employer, insisting that his workers strive constantly to improve their skills and capabilities, but many anecdotes record how his kind and fatherly attitude could sometimes bring tears of joy to their eyes.
To make sure that he did not let his achievements go to his head, and that he never lost sight of his original ideals, Shinjiro encouraged his employees to call him Taisho (boss) rather than Shacho (president).