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History : Timeline

Digest

1899

Shinjiro Torii starts the Torii Shoten store in Osaka, on February 1 and initiates production and sales of grape wine.

Suntory's founder
Shinjiro Torii

1907

Akadama Port Wine, a sweet grape wine, released.

An advertisement for Akadama Port Wine

1921

Kotobukiya Limited founded.

Kotobukiya in the early 1920's

1923

Construction of the Yamazaki Distillery, Japan's first malt whisky distillery, begins in Yamazaki in the outskirts of Kyoto, marking the first step toward the production of Japanese whisky.

Yamazaki Distillery's Kiln (around 1937)

1929

Suntory Shirofuda (white label), Japan's first genuine whisky, introduced.

An advertisement for
Suntory Whisky Shirofuda at the time of its release

1930

Oraga Beer released by Kotobukiya.

1931

Suntory whisky exported for the first time to overseas markets.

1936

Yamanashi Winery (current Tomi no oka Winery), Japan's largest independently owned vineyard (approx. 150 hectares), opened in Yamanashi Prefecture.

1937

Suntory Kakubin(square bottle) whisky launched.

Suntory Kakubin
(square bottle) whisky

1940

Production of Suntory Old whisky announced, but sales postponed due to war.

1946

Torys Whisky re-released after World War II.

1950

Release of Suntory Old whisky, postponed since 1940.

Suntory Old whisky

1955

Torys Bars and Suntory Bars opened one after another, centered on Tokyo and Osaka.

A Torys Bar

1956

First issue of Youshu Tengoku (Western liquor heaven), a PR magazine available at bar chains, issued with Ken Kaiko as editor-in-chief.

1960

Suntory Royal whisky launched to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Company's founding.

1961

"Let's drink Torys and go to Hawaii" campaign conducted.

Suntory Museum of Art opened.

Suntory Whisky becomes the first Japanese whisky to be approved for registration in the United States.

Keizo Saji becomes 2nd president.

A "Let's drink Torys and go to Hawaii" campaign advertisement

1963

Company name changed from Kotobukiya to Suntory Limited.

Musashino Brewery, Suntory's first brewery, established; brewing and sales of Suntory beer initiated.

An advertisement for Suntory Beer at the time of its release

1964

Suntory Red whisky released.

High-quality Suntory Château Lion wine marketed.

Name of Suntory Shirofuda whisky changed to Suntory White.

1967

Suntory Beer Jun-nama marketed in small, medium and large bottles.

1968

Jun-nama canned beer marketed.

1969

Suntory Music Foundation established.

Katsura Brewery (current Kyoto Brewery), the Company's second brewery, opened.

Suntory Reserve whisky released.

1970

Suntory Pavilion at Osaka Expo opened.

First Restaurant Suntory, a Japanese-style restaurant, opened in Mexico City.

The Suntory Pavilion at the Osaka Expo

1972

"Friday is a day to buy wine" campaign conducted.

A commercial on the theme of "Friday is a day to buy wine" that ignited a wine boom.

1973

Hakushu Distillery established.

First annual Suntory Open Golf Tournament held (continued until 2007).

Central Research Institute (current Suntory Research Center) completed.

1975

Japan's first noble rot grape variety harvested at Yamanashi Winery (current Tomi no Oka Winery).

1978

MIDORI, melon liqueur, marketed in the United States.

Noble rot grape Suntory Château Lion (Noble d'or) and Suntory Château Lion (Noble d'Argent) wines marketed.

MIDORI, melon liqueur

1979

Suntory Foundation established.

Suntory Whisky Museum completed at the Hakushu Distillery.

Pharmaceutical Business Department and Suntory Institute for Biomedical Research established.