Suntory Spirits Limited
Whisky, Liqueur, and Spirits
From the First Whisky in Japan to World-Class Whisky
The founder of Kotobukiya (the current Suntory), Shinjiro Torii, began building Japan's first malt whisky distillery on the outskirts of Kyoto in 1923. The Yamazaki district now known as the birthplace of Suntory whisky, is an area also known since ancient times for its excellent water by the name of Minaseno.
Suntory introduced Suntory Shirofuda ("white label") in 1929, the first genuine whisky to be produced domestically. After further refinements to suit the discriminating market of Japan, the premium whisky Kakubin ("square bottle") was born.
Another distillery was built in 1973 in Hakushu at the foot of Mt. Kaikomagatake in Japan's Southern Alps. Suntory refined its techniques at these two ideal distillery sites to develop a variety of first-rate unblended whiskies and bring to market such products as the single malt whiskies Yamazaki and Hakushu, as well as Hibiki blended whisky.
Following these achievements, Suntory has continued to pursue ever higher quality. In 2017, Hibiki 21 Years Old won the top Trophy award in the World Whiskies category at the 22nd International Spirits Challenge 2017, an international spirits competition. It also won the Supreme Champion Spirit award given to the most outstanding product from among Trophy award winners across all categories. This means that Hibiki 21 Years Old was selected as the top spirit out of 1,480 entries spanning across all categories. It is the fifth year in a row for Hibiki 21 Years Old to win a Trophy award (best-in-category).
Suntory Spirits Limited was also recognized as World Whisky Producer of the Year, an award bestowed upon one whisky maker in the World Whisky category for producing a wide variety of high-quality products.
Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 also became the first Japanese whisky to receive the highest score of 97.5 and be selected for World Whisky of the Year in international whisky critic Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015. Suntory’s other whisky brands have earned numerous other commendations as well in some of the world’s most authoritative international liquor competitions.
Bringing the World’s Most Celebrated Spirits to Japan
Wherever you go in the world, you will find spirits of deserved renown. Suntory was determined from an early stage to introduce to Japan the distinctive aromas and flavors nurtured by different nations’ climates and traditions, and so established ties with exemplary beverage makers around the world. Through this network we have built a business as the most capable distributor in the Japanese market.
Suntory handles over 70 brands of imported Western wines and spirits.These include such whisky brands as Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Ballantine's, and Canadian Club. We also import the Macallan, Bowmore, Laphroaig, and Glenfiddich single malt whiskies, which are becoming increasingly popular today. Other highly regarded liqueurs and spirits of the world we handle include Lejay Crème de Cassis from France,Kahlua coffee liqueur from Mexico, Jagermeister from Germany, Beefeater from England,and Sauza tequila from Mexico. Through our importing activities we give our customers in Japan an opportunity to share in the enjoyment of a wide range of esteemed beverages from around the world.
Chu-hi and Cocktails
New and Exciting Beverages
Over the decades, Suntory has introduced many types of spirits not traditionally found in Japan, including whiskies and liqueurs. More recently we have also put a great deal of energy into developing ready-to-drink (RTD)*1 alcoholic beverages that make it even easier for people to enjoy a drink.
In the 1990s we developed The Cocktail Bar series, which brought the authentic flavor of bar cocktails into the home, Totteoki Kajitsu no Osake that offer fruity flavors, and the affordably priced Super Chu-hi, which led the canned chu-hi market.
Then, in the 2000s we launched Calori, a product that opened up a new category of health-oriented alcoholic beverages based on a new "low calorie" concept. We introduced the sugar-free*2 -196°C Zero Dry series. Calori and -196°C continue to be the leading RTDs in the health-oriented alcoholic beverage market even today.
Suntory has been developing products that offer new value to customers through leveraging the expertise in liquor and soft drink businesses that the company has accumulated over the years. These products include -196°C Strong Zero, which achieves a strong punch from a high alcohol content and zero sugar; the slightly sweet and mild chu-hi Horoyoi, which has an alcohol content of 3 percent and which was created with a young-adult consumer base in mind; Kokushibori that lets consumers enjoy the deep body of abundant fruit juice and fruit liqueur; canned Highball, which lets consumers enjoy the highballs so popular in bars and restaurants in the comfort of their own homes; and Non-aru-kibun, a non-alcoholic RTD cocktail that allows customers to enjoy the taste of a cocktail with zero alcohol content.
*1 RTD:"Ready-to-drink" alcoholic beverages, such as canned chu-hi drinks and canned cocktails with a relatively low alcohol content.
*2 "Sugar-free" products do not exceed 0.5 g of sugar per 100 mL (in accordance with nutrition labeling standards)
Opening-up a new world of Shochu
Shochu enjoys a broad range of support from its devoted fans, thanks to its various methods of drinking and variegated flavors derived from differing raw ingredients.
Suntory offers an abundant lineup of shochu in four product categories: ko-rui shochu, flavored shochu*, otsu-rui shochu, and ko-otsu blended shochu. We continue to work actively to introduce the richness of shochu to our customers in and out of Japan, thus creating new shochu fans.
*Classified as liqueur for purposes of liquor taxes
Among ko-rui shochu, we offer Kyogetsu, with its ringingly clear flavor derived from mineral water, as well as flavored shochu such as the Kyogetsu Green Tea and Kyogetsu Fruit series. Otsu-rui shochu includes the honkaku (authentic) sweet potato shochu Osumi, as well as various specially designed brands developed jointly with local shochu distilleries steeped in the culture and history of Kyushu and Okinawa. Ko-otsu blended shochu features Muginoka and Hanaimo, perfect for a glass at home with dinner as off-premise use, as well as the barley shochu Wanko and sweet potato shochu Nanko, aimed at restaurant parties as on-premise use, and various products suited to each context.
|Learn More||Record of awards received in major competitionsTHE ART OF JAPANESE WHISKYSuntory Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky|