Johnnie Walker proprietor Diageo has acquired a minority stake in Japanese whisky producer Komasa Kanosuke Distillery for an undisclosed sum.
Based mostly in Kagoshima, Japan, Kanosuke Distillery was based in 2017 by Komasa Jyozo Co, a agency that has produced shōchū for 138 years. In August this 12 months, the distillery and its whisky property have been separated into a brand new firm, Komasa Kanosuke Distillery Co, with Diageo taking a minority stake.
The Smirnoff proprietor made the funding – its first in a Japanese whisky maker – by means of drinks incubator Distill Ventures, which was established in 2013. Backed solely by Diageo, Distill goals to assist entrepreneurs as they try to develop their drinks manufacturers.
The funding from Diageo will increase the corporate’s manufacturing of whisky, the event of latest merchandise, and the growth of its world gross sales and advertising and marketing groups.
Komasa Jyozo Co will retain majority possession of the Kanosuke Distillery and can handle manufacturing, advertising and marketing and gross sales.
The deal contains the choice to maneuver to a three way partnership with Diageo, relying on the longer term efficiency of the distillery.
Sam Fischer, Diageo president for Asia Pacific and world journey, stated: “Diageo has lengthy heritage and experience in whisky with lots of our manufacturers reflecting the work of generations of the identical household. We’re excited to be supporting this high-quality model within the fast-growing Japanese whisky class, with the subsequent stage of its progress and improvement.”
The Komasa household have been pioneers in barrel-ageing shōchūs and used this information of maturation for the manufacturing of Kanosuke Distillery’s whiskies.
‘Sturdy and strategic assist’
Yoshitsugu Komasa, founder and CEO of Kanosuke Distillery, stated: “We’re pleased with our accomplishments so far, together with the barrel-ageing and different manufacturing methods developed throughout Komasa Jyozo’s lengthy historical past of shōchū manufacturing and the awards now we have received in each home and worldwide competitions.
“Now, with the sturdy and strategic assist from world alcoholic drinks chief Diageo and Distill Ventures by means of this partnership, we’re very blissful that we will pursue rising our enterprise additional and supply extra whisky drinkers in Japan and worldwide with Japanese craft whiskies from Kanosuke Distillery.”
The distillery unveiled its first single malt whisky in June this 12 months, adopted by additional restricted version cask power releases. The producer is because of launch its flagship single malt model in 2022.
The whisky is distilled, matured and bottled in Kyushu, probably the most southerly of Japan’s predominant islands. The distillery encompasses a tasting room, The Mellow Bar, the place drinkers can watch the solar set whereas tasting the whiskies.
Distill Ventures has made various minority investments in recent times, together with Denmark’s Stauning Distillery, Australian whisky Starward, American single malt Westward, and German gin producer Rheinland Distillers.