The Chichibu Distillery
It all started some three centuries ago when the first of Ichiro Akuto’s forefathers began making alcoholic beverages in Saitama Prefecture. His grandfather began making whisky in the mid-1940’s with Hanyu Distillery, whose focus on malt whiskies took off with the Japanese economic boom of the 1980s. However, when the bubble burst in the 1990s, so too did the first Japanese Whisky boom, leading to Hanyu—like several other distillers—shuttering their doors. Ichiro saved his grandfather’s old inventory and subsequently released the Playing Card series. This collection, which debuted to a slow start in the early 2000s, is now considered unicorn whisky, the stuff of legend. With the success of the playing cards, Ichiro saw that the Japanese whisky revival was imminent and in 2008 he built his current distillery in Chichubu. Chichubu distillery is where Ichiro, a 21st-century whisky-maker, embraces the heritage and heart of the Scots, balanced by the precision of the Japanese, and the shokunin philosophy.