Japan can’t get enough whiskey—or as they call it, whisky—creating an opportunity for craft breweries and distilleries as big producers reach the bottom of the barrel. The head of Niigata Beer tells the Nikkei Asian Review he’s converting a warehouse to a whiskey distillery and planning to grow his own oak for casks. Makers of shochu spirits are joining the race, too, with one soon to start crafting whiskey from wheat and rice.
One reason for the dwindling Japanese supply? Suntory Holdings’ canned highballs, whose wild popularity got more people into whiskey. Now the industry is tapping its fingers while remaining stocks mature. As brewers and others step in to stem the shortfall, some worry that their efforts could sully Japanese whiskey’s global rep.