All of the remaining inventory of the Karuizawa distillery has been bought by an Asian firm working on behalf of Number One Drinks.
A statement released by No. 1 on Aug. 11 said the casks would be moved to a warehouse at Ichiro Akuto’s distillery at Chichibu.
Basically, this news appears to sound the death-knell of the Karuizawa distillery (1), which stopped distilling in 2001 and, apart from a few distilling runs for maintenance purposes, has not been active since. Kirin took over the distillery’s owner Mercian in 2007 and is clearly not interested in keeping one of the most charismatic and historically significant Japanese distilleries as a going concern. No company that had any serious interest in keeping a distillery going would sell its entire inventory. Instead, Kirin is concentrating on its mass-market operation at Fuji Gotemba.
Thank goodness the stock has ended up in the right hands! No. 1 has played a major role in raising the profile of Japanese single malts globally and some of its recent Karuizawa bottlings have been quite outstanding.
by Arthur Furrowfield & robin