Suntory® Whisky HistorySuntory® Whisky History

The history of Japanese whisky is
the history of
Shinjiro Torii,
the founder of Suntory.

In 1923, Shinjiro Torii envisioned a whisky filled with the essence of Japanese nature and hand-crafted by artisans through a patient process of enhancing the work of nature.
He dreamt of creating subtle, refined, yet complex whisky that would suit the delicate palate of the Japanese and enhance their dining experience.
Inspired by traditional Scottish whisky, Torii envisioned a Japanese approach by choosing a terrain and climate completely different from those of Scotland.
Torii chose the region of Yamazaki, Kyoto as the birthplace of Japanese whisky.
Continue through our timeline to discover the history of Suntory.

1899
Shinjiro Torii founded
the Torii Shoten store in Osaka.
1907
Akadama Sweet Wine was launched
and became a huge success.
Intrigued by the results of cultivating and maturing liquor in Japan,
Torii dreamed of creating an original Japanese whisky ―
uniquely made from Japanese Nature
and by her people.
1918
Torii invested his family fortune
and pursued his dream of building
Japan’s first whisky distillery
despite unanimous protest from company directors.
1923
The Yamazaki Distillery,
Japan’s first single malt
whisky distillery,
began construction in Yamazaki
on the outskirts of Kyoto.
YAMAZAKI.
THE DISTILLERY
1929
Japan’s first whisky,
Suntory Shirofuda (white label),
launched and then failed.
As Japan’s first master blender,
Torii learned a critical lesson ―
satisfying the delicate palate of Japanese people is
the main criteria in making a successful Japanese whisky.
1937
Torii launched Suntory Kakubin (square bottle).
Today, Kakubin is the heart
and soul of Japanese whisky
and the country's No.1 seller.
1955
Suntory cultivated the growth of
Japan’s whisky culture by
opening Suntory bars throughout
the country.
1970
Suntory revolutionized
the way to drink whisky
by introducing "Mizuwari"
(the blending of whisky with water)
and pairing it with Japanese cuisine.
1973
Keizo Saji inherited his father’s
quest to push
the boundaries of
what a Japanese whisky could be.
He built the Hakushu Distillery
to commemorate the 50th anniversary
of Japanese whisky-making
and to diversify Suntory’s
single malt portfolio.
HAKUSHU.
THE DISTILLERY
1984
Suntory Single Malt Whisky
Yamazaki® is released.
THE YAMAZAKI® RANGE
1989
Suntory Blended Whisky
Hibiki® is released.
THE HIBIKI® RANGE
1994
Suntory Single Malt Whisky
Hakushu® is released.
THE HAKUSHU® RANGE
2003
Yamazaki® 12 Years Old wins
a "Gold Award" at
the International Spirits Challenge (ISC)
in the United Kingdom.
Yamazaki® is now celebrated as
the No.1 selling
Japanese single malt whisky.
2010
The House of Suntory is
the first Japanese whisky manufacturer
to be awarded
ISC "Distiller of the Year".
2012
Suntory is awarded
ISC "Distiller of the Year"
for the second time
and becomes the first distiller
in ISC history
to claim
two whisky category
"Trophies" in the same year.
The ISC "Trophy" is awarded to
Yamazaki® 18 Years Old
and Hakushu® 25 Years Old.
2013
Suntory wins
ISC "Distiller of the Year"
for its third time.
The ISC "Trophy" is awarded to
Hibiki® 21 Years Old.
2014
Suntory wins
ISC "Distiller of the Year"
for three consecutive years,
fourth time in total.
The ISC "Trophy" is awarded to
Hibiki® 21 Years Old
for two consecutive years.
Third-generation master blender
Shingo Torii continues the pursuit
of his family legacy to challenge
what a Japanese whisky could be.
The next chapter from
the House of Suntory continues…
AWARDS

PHILOSOPHY

PHILOSOPHY

THE ART OF JAPANESE WHISKY®

2 ARTS / 5 FACTS

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