In 2008, Hakkaisan Brewery released honkaku-grade shochu made using rice and sake lees as the main ingredients. In 2016, we debuted honkaku-grade rice shochu aged in oak barrels. Based on the knowledge and techniques accumulated through these distilling operations, we began producing a unique rice-grain whisky in Uonuma using rice as the main ingredient starting that same year. Furthermore, we used the same water as in our sake brewing—that is, water from Raidensama no Shimizu (lit. “Raiden’s Spring”; “Raidensama” is the thunder god Raiden). Following the distillation process, this rice-grain whisky is aged in oak barrels, which imparts its amber coloring as well as the singularly sweet aromatic properties reminiscent of vanilla and flowers that complete the flamboyant overall aroma.
Widely considered one of the world’s top five whiskies, Japanese whisky is on par with the other four: Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, American whiskey and Canadian whisky. And just as the American staple grain crop corn led to the development of bourbon whiskey (with corn as its main ingredient) in the United States, we hope to make use of Japan’s staple crop, rice, to establish a Japanese rice-grain whisky with a distinct style of its own.
Niseko Distillery Co., Ltd., one of our group companies, is already producing their own malt whisky. In the future, we hope to utilize the whiskies made in both Uonuma and Niseko to embark on a new, synergetic business endeavor that further vitalizes the Group as a whole.
Product name: rice-grain whisky (official name TBD)
Release: Spring 2024 (planned)
Distillation operations period: from 2016
Production permit obtained in April 2016
We are distilling rice-grain whisky which uses rice as the main ingredient.
Water for distillation is taken from the Raidensama no Shimizu Spring.
This rice-grain whisky uses shubo starter yeast (from the sake production process) and other such ingredients. *”Grain whisky”
is a blanket term that refers to whiskies distilled using grains such as corn and rice as their main ingredient.