Suntory, a brief history of Japanese whisky

Issuing time:2023-09-07 14:54

When it comes to Japanese whisky, Suntory is bound to be an inseparable name, especially its three major brands, Yamasaki, Baizhou and Xiangxiang, which not only won awards in major liquor competitions, but also won soft hands. Its name is far more loud than many Scottish whisky brands.


The difference between these whisky brands under Suntory is not just that Yamasaki and Shiraz are single malt whisky, and the sound is mixed whisky. This time, we will talk about these three brands and introduce their full range of wines. In addition, with the shortage of the original liquor inventory, Suntory will also stop selling or producing some of its whiskies in some years, and gradually replace them with the non-vintage version. Which wines have become out of print on the market are also believed to be the most concerned by consumers. The answer can also be found in this article.


                               Suntory, a brief history of Japanese whisky


When it comes to Suntory whisky, there are two people whose names can't be omitted. They are Zhuhe Zhengxiao and Yingjilang.


Zhuhe Zhengxiao was born in a winemaking family. In 1916, he entered the foreign wine company, and the company intended to localize whisky. So in 1918, he sent Zhuhe Zhengxiao to the University of Glasgow in Scotland to study whisky brewing.


Unfortunately, Zhuhe Zhengxiao had just finished his studies and returned home when he encountered the Great Depression, and the company's whisky plan was aborted. Fortunately, the founder of Osaka liquor merchant Shouwu (the predecessor of Suntory), Noburo Inoi, had an idea to build a whisky distillery, so he invited Masahiro Takeshi to join.




The "strange" and "longevity" in the Yamasaki logo are similar, implying the idea that Suntory's predecessor, Shouwu, passed down from generation to generation


With the cooperation of the two people, the Yamazaki Distillery was completed in 1924 and produced the first bottle of Japanese whisky in real sense: Baiza in 1929. This is a blended whisky with a distinctive smoky smell like Scotch whisky. However, this style was not accepted by Japanese consumers at that time, and the sales volume was quite bleak.




Bai Zha's failure also led to differences between the two people. Finally, Zhu He Zhengxiao, who hoped to continue to use Scotch whisky as a template, chose to leave and created the biggest rival of Suntory in the future - Yijia Group. Meanwhile, Shinjiro Inoi began to launch light whisky suitable for the sense of oriental population, and gradually established his own style. In 1984, Suntory launched Yamasaki, a single malt whisky that won many awards in international competitions, for 12 years.




In 2003, after Yamasaki won the gold medal of the ISC International Spirits Challenge for 12 years, Suntory began to sweep the international whisky awards, which attracted wide attention around the world. In addition, during the Great Depression in the 1990s, the large-scale reduction in production of Japanese whisky caused a serious shortage of original liquor inventory, which has led to a situation that the supply is in short supply. The price of whisky under Suntory has risen sharply. Some elderly liquor products have even been snapped up as soon as they came into the market, and it is more difficult to buy a bottle than to reach the sky.



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