More

    New Japanese whisky rules aim to deter imposters

    This photo taken on March 27, 2023 shows samples of whisky at the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery where the company's whisky is produced, in the town of Yamazaki, between Kyoto and Osaka. (Photo by RICHARD A. BROOKS/AFP via Getty Images)

    Japanese whisky is world-famous, often eye-wateringly expensive, and from Monday will be more strictly defined in an industry push to deter foreign-made imposters.

    Overseas demand has soared in recent years for the country’s acclaimed whiskies, sending prices sky-high, especially for the rarer aged varieties.

    But concern and confusion have also grown among producers and customers as beverages made elsewhere – and sometimes not even whisky – are marketed as ‘Japanese whisky’.

    So the Japan Spirits and Liqueurs Makers Association has brought in a new definition for the spirit, officially in use from Monday following a three-year grace period.

    To call their products Japanese whisky, makers must now use water sourced in Japan, and their whisky barrels must be stored in Japan for at least three years, among other rules.

    Although violators will not face sanctions, manufacturers have hailed the new industry standard as a way to safeguard the image of their tipples worldwide.

    “We believe this will further improve the reputation (of Japanese whisky) because it makes it easier for our international customers to distinguish it from other products,” major producer Suntory told AFP.

    Experts say Japan has around 100 distilleries, whose whisky has commanded increasing global respect since the early 2000s.

    Annual exports of Japanese whisky were worth 56 billion yen (£293 million) in 2022 – 14 times more than a decade earlier. In 2023, this figure eased to 50 billion yen.

    Brands such as Nikka Whisky’s Yoichi 10 and Yamazaki 12 have scooped prestigious international awards, and distillers now plan production decades in advance to cope with demand.

    Suntory’s Hibiki 17 played a starring role in the hit 2003 movie Lost in Translation, in which the character played by Bill Murray promoted the drink with the line: “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.”

    (AFP)

    Latest

    Illegal cigarettes, vapes worth £12,500 seized in Darlington

    Thousands of illegal cigarettes and vapes have been seized...

    McCain Foods acquires plant-based frozen food brand

    McCain Foods has acquired Strong Roots, a plant-based frozen...

    Proposed vape restrictions undermine public health goals, says Responsible Vaping APPG

    Government should take a comprehensive evidence-based approach to vaping...

    Don't miss

    Illegal cigarettes, vapes worth £12,500 seized in Darlington

    Thousands of illegal cigarettes and vapes have been seized...

    McCain Foods acquires plant-based frozen food brand

    McCain Foods has acquired Strong Roots, a plant-based frozen...

    Proposed vape restrictions undermine public health goals, says Responsible Vaping APPG

    Government should take a comprehensive evidence-based approach to vaping...

    SPAR South West partners with FareShare to fight hunger

    In the fight against food waste and hunger, SPAR...

    Illegal cigarettes, vapes worth £12,500 seized in Darlington

    Thousands of illegal cigarettes and vapes have been seized from four Darlington stores and a vehicle. Around 140 illegal vapes and 12,000 cigarettes were seized...

    Post Office scandal: Ex-boss apologises for ‘subbies with hand in the till’ comment

    A former boss at the Post Office said he will “regret for the rest of his life” writing in an email suggesting “subbies with...

    McCain Foods acquires plant-based frozen food brand

    McCain Foods has acquired Strong Roots, a plant-based frozen food manufacturer based in Ireland. The move builds on a deal announced in 2021 that saw...