”Nikka Whiskey” Yoichi Distillery – Inheriting the history of Japanese whiskey

”Nikka Whiskey” Yoichi Distillery
- Inheriting the history of Japanese whiskey

Learning the techniques from Scotland

Nikka Whiskey was founded by Masataka Taketsuru, the father of Japanese Whiskey. He brought back the technique of whiskey making from Scotland, and dedicated his life to making whiskey. His experience of the many hardships he experienced has he created the first Japanese whiskey, was featured in a television drama recently. Yoichi Distillery started in 1934, and inherits the passion and tradition of making real whiskey. The whiskey market declined in 2007- 2008 to one fifth of what is was at its peak. But the popularity of the ”whiskey highball” drink and the television drama has helped to stimulate the market.

The only coal fire distillation in the world

Peat determines the flavor of the whiskey. The location for the distillery was chosen based on the fact that there is plenty of peat and the weather conditions are similar to Scotland. It is said that, ”how you flavor using the peat will determine the characteristic of the distillery.” Yoichi distillery is also the only coal fire distillation remaining in the world. Using a technique that has not changed since its founding, they allow the fire to burn slowly, so the whiskey is distilled slowly. This creates the flavorful rich malt. Nakata was impressed to hear that ”This is a world based on the skills and intuition of an experienced artisan. That is how the traditional taste is preserved.”


The memory of Rita Taketsuru

For Taketsuru, the influence of the Scottish born Rita whom he had a fateful encounter with while studying whiskey making, had great impact. At the spacious property, in addition to observing the whiskey making process, you can also take a glimpse at the life he had with Rita. Both the dining room where they served mostly Japanese food and the bedroom where they drank whiskey every night are preserved in its original state. The 9 buildings of the Yoichi Distillery are certified Tangible National Treasure (Architecture) and the day Nakata visited, it was crowded with many visitors.


Nikka Whiskey Yoichi Distillery - Architecture, Tangible National Treasure
7-6 Kurokawa-cho, Yoichi, Hokkaido
URL https://www.nikka.com/eng/