Many people worldwide are familiar with the brand Suntory who are famous for their whisky. But Suntory has developed over the last 100 years and has diversified into many different fields and are now an impressive Japanese company.
Suntory (initially known as Kotobukiya) were founded in 1899 in Osaka Japan by Torii Shinjiro. Initially, Suntory sold imported wines. In 1921, Shinjiro expanded his business and built the very first malt whisky distillery in Japan; Yamazaki Distillery. Production began in 1924 and after five years their first whisky, Shirofuda was put on sale. During World War II, production declined and so did development, until 1946 when a new whisky, Torys Whisky, was released. This was a popular product in post-war Japan. In 1963, the name was changed to Suntory to reflect the whisky they produced. Later that same year Suntory started producing beer and then in the early 1990’s became Japan’s sole bottler of Pepsi! Today, thanks to mergers and investments, Suntory is the third largest spirits maker in the whole world! Philosophy and ethics are important to Suntory and their mission is to be in harmony with people and nature. They strive for sustainability so that their impact on the natural world is as small as possible.
If you have spent any time in Japan you will have been exposed to or even tried some Suntory products. Since the merger with Beam, now Beam Suntory, spirits are sold worldwide, and even if you haven’t visited Japan you will be familiar with them.
In Japan Suntory not only produces top quality whisky but also shochu and liqueurs. One novel aspect of alcoholic drinks in Japan is that they come in premixed cans and are even available from vending machines! Suntory has high aims in their productions of beer, and are aiming for the world’s number one pilsner beer. They used the theories from Czech and German beer makers, but with their own research added diamond barely to add a deeper flavour. Suntory are also focused on their ingredients and only use 100% natural water from deep underground wells in Japan. Hailing to their original roots Suntory also sells wines too. If you don’t want alcohol or are interested in other products Suntory also makes and sells non-alcoholic beverages. Traditional Japanese beverages such as green tea are sold as soft drinks, as well as oolong tea. Products to beat dehydration are on sale too, as well as the drinks containing essential vitamins.
Suntory is always striving to better its products and is always innovative. In today’s space age, Suntory has blasted through that final frontier, space! This is not just a publicity stunt, Suntory is conducting research into how gravity affects the mellowness of spirits. Five samples of Suntory Whisky landed on the International Space Station and will stay there for one year. Unfortunately for the astronauts, they can’t drink a drop. Instead, the whisky will stay in the low gravity environment and then return to earth. Once back, it will be compared to five identical bottles of whisky of the same age that have stayed on earth. They are even going to use X-rays to assess the structure of the whisky to see whether low gravity environments change the mellowing process. You never know, we may find that Suntory whisky is even more delicious after spending some time in space!
・97 Things to Do in Osaka, the Japanese City of Street Food, Culture, and Comedy, in 2018
・Yamazaki Sherry, Whiskey Bible 2015’s Winner!
・World’s best Whiskey: Japanaese Nikka Whiskey