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Water circulates on the planet and in humans

Water is the key resource of Suntory

Suntory World Research Center, home of the Institute for Water Science

Quality natural water nurtured by rich forests is the wellspring of Suntory’s craftsmanship. Without delicious water, there would be no beer, whisky, or soft drinks. Suntory is truly a company sustained by water. Precisely for this reason, our clear mission is to protect water, an irreplaceable element for the earth and humans, use it conscientiously, and ultimately, return it to nature.
Increasing understanding of the movement and workings of water is necessary to fulfill this mission, and it is the Institute for Water Science that is taking up this challenge. Advancing research on water enables us to understand how to protect water resources in the future. What should we do to provide safe, delicious water for children 100 years from now? That question is at the forefront of our minds as we carry out research every day.

Visualizing the unseen movement of water underground

I hope our technologies not only enable 
Suntory to continue business activities, 
but also help people around the world 
affected by water-related issues.

We are always focusing on the water cycle. Water vapor rises and becomes clouds, then becomes rain and falls to the earth. Groundwater that has seeped into the soil turns into rivers that flow into the oceans, and this water once again evaporates, becomes clouds, and turns into rain to continue the cycle of nature. Within this cycle, we are particularly interested in the movement of groundwater that is not visible to us. Our research concentrates on visualizing and digitally recreating this water flow. We illustrate what happens underground based on a variety of data, including geological features, how easily water permeates the ground, and the water level of wells. We believe this visualization will help to continue protecting water resources in the future.
My previous position as director of the Suntory Kita-Alps Shinano-no-Mori Water Plant, Suntory’s fourth water resource that was completed in 2021, has provided me with a good grasp on the importance of this research. Omachi, where this plant is located, is the best place in terms of water quality and water quantity. I think this kind of research and technologies helped discover this location. Plus, the results of this research are what makes it possible to efficiently plan water resource cultivation activities*. Once these technologies are established, I believe they will help Japan as well as other countries suffering issues such as drought.

*Cultivation activities protect water resources by carrying out actions such as afforestation and forest thinning to preserve and cultivate forests.

Valuing scientific reasoning and taking care our research does not become self-satisfying

The entrance displaying information on various Suntory research

Not only does water interact with nature, but also with various living beings, including us humans. The water that humans drink circulates in our bodies, provides moisture to cells, and eventually is released. This water cycle within the body underpins our biological activity and is also a part of the large water cycle circulating in nature. Recently, water has permeated our lives, as evidenced by growing shipments of mineral water, so I think people will also be interested in research on the relationship between water and health.
Understanding the water cycle in nature and the water cycle in living beings is crucial to continuing business as a multi-faceted food and beverage company. In addition to directly connecting to product development, our research is also conducted on the concept of trying to comprehend the underlying phenomena. It is exactly this kind of fundamental research that allows us to skillfully apply what we learn not only to beverages, but also to provide new value through a broad range of other products such as health foods and cosmetics.
The research results we obtain support business activities, but we also aim to widely share them and promote their use in society. For that reason, we seek the cooperation of experts in all fields and strive for scientific evidence while taking care that our research does not become self-satisfying.

Mizu To Ikiru SUNTORY

As stated by this corporate message (literally, “living with water”), we conduct ongoing research to promote understanding of water, the key resource of our company, with the desire to pass on safe, delicious water to children in the future.

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* The department name, title, and photo are as of the time of the production (interview).

* The department name, title, and photo are as of the time of the production (interview).