Venture Whisky Ltd. – Chichibu Distillery

Venture Whisky Ltd. – Chichibu Distillery

There was a time when luxury bars were told not to “display bottles of Japanese whisky”. But now, Japanese whisky is popular around the world, gathering attention for being auctioned at outrageous prices. “Ichiro’s Malt”, made at Chichibu Distillery located about 100km northwest from Tokyo, is known for paving the way for the popularity of Japanese whisky. The company running the distillery, Venture Whisky Ltd., was founded by Ichiro Akuto in 2004.

“My family ran a sake brew house that went under when it expanded to shochu, spirits and whisky. When the company was sold, the whisky business was not included, and we ended up with 400 barrels of 20 year old unblended whisky. Sasanokawa Distillery in Fukushima prefecture helped us to store the barrels, and I started the business after I was able to retrieve them.” (president Akuto)

“Ichiro’s Malt” was named after the president, but it wasn’t easy to sell at first.

President Akuto believed that it was important for his whisky to be served at bars who placed priority on how the whisky tasted rather than the brand name, so he personally visited bars in Tokyo, asking the bartenders to taste the whisky without revealing the brand.
“It was totally unknown, so I had no choice but to sell the whisky myself.
I personally visited about 2000 bars over a 2 year period, finally selling 600 bottles.” (president Akuto)

The whisky became popular drawing a lot of dedicated fans after bartenders gave it high praise, so his down-to-earth sales efforts definitely paid off. With support from many sources, president Akuto decided to open his own distillery under “Ichiro’s Malt”. In 2006, “Ichiro’s Malt Card King of Diamonds” earned a gold medal in the premium Japanese whisky category of the British magazine “Whisky Magazine”. Praised around the world, “Ichiro’s Malt” won the highest award in the Japanese category at the World Whiskies Awards for 5 straight years. The distillery was completed in 2007 and received its license in February 2008, allowing them to officially begin making whisky.

“The Akuto family first began making sake in Chichibu, with great tasting water from Arakawa River and the right temperature difference for making whisky.” (president Akuto)

While the factory and warehouse are not elaborate, it allows them to preserve the flavor that is recognized worldwide. President Akuto wanted to preserve something traditional that was carried on in this area, and that “something” took the form of whisky which became renowned around the globe.

“I want to be able to monitor what I make, so that I can keep track of the daily changes and build on that. I feel like I finally understand whisky making after 12 years, and I’m at the starting point for the next stage. I’d like to make whisky that reflects what Chichibu is all about, using local ingredients.” (president Akuto)

His dream is to drink 30 year old whisky made at the distillery in Chichibu. The top-runner of Japanese whisky continues to improve on his craft over time.


Venture Whisky Ltd. (Chichibu Distillery)
49 Midorigaoka, Chichibu-shi, Saitama
TEL 0494-62-4601