Shizuoka Distillery, located in Shizuoka City, Japan, is a trailblazer in making whisky independently, using cedar from nearby forests to fulfill the worldwide desire for top-notch drinks. Japan marks a hundred years of crafting whisky since the opening of Suntory’s initial distillery in 1923. With more than 100 authorized distilleries, Japan strives to create its own identity in the fast-growing market. Shizuoka stands out by using a special cedar-powered fire beneath its whisky still.

Despite being smaller compared to big companies like Suntory, these new distilleries have big dreams on a worldwide level. Taiko Nakamura, the driving force behind Shizuoka Distillery since it started in 2016, got inspired while visiting Scotland. Seeing a small-scale distillery succeed in the global whisky market sparked his ambition to make whisky cherished worldwide. Craft whisky in Japan experienced rapid growth and decline, with single malts and blends gaining global recognition in 2008, leading to a demand that outstripped supply by 2015. This scarcity caused prices to skyrocket, pushing industry leaders like Suntory and Nikka to expand production and whisky reserves, aiming to keep up quality standards. However, concerns have arisen in the industry regarding potential compromises in product quality, posing a risk to Japan’s well-known reputation for exceptional whisky. Nakamura from Shizuoka stresses the dedication required to maintain the heritage of outstanding Japanese whisky, emphasizing the importance of staying committed to making exceptional Japanese spirits.