Amber Beverage Group will distribute the Akashi and Togouchi Japanese whisky brands in the UK, including five bottlings new to the market.
The UK arm of Amber Beverage Group will debut the brands at The Whisky Show in London this weekend (30 September-2 October).
Amber Beverage UK (ABUK) markets the whiskies on behalf of European distributor, Whiskies du Monde.
Tina Connolly, senior brand manager at ABUK, said: “We are proud to be marketing and selling these two iconic Japanese whisky brands. Akashi and Togouchi are artisanal brands that each offer interesting and exciting whisky expressions.
“Japanese whiskies are distinctively different and designed to be consumed in a way that differs from traditional spirits in this sector. These spirits are designed to be enjoyed as light, fresh, long drinks, a style that is particular to Japanese whiskies.
“We believe that this contemporary, lighter style of whisky and of serve will appeal to whisky aficionados and collectors as well as to those who are novice whisky consumers. The new Japanese expressions being launched now bring an injection of excitement and new interest to the whisky sector.”
Togouchi is made at Sakurao Brewery & Distillery, a small distillery in Hatsukaichi, southern Japan. Founded in 1918, the distillery has been producing sake and other beverages for more than a century and began creating whisky in 1990.
The Togouchi range includes ‘highly unusual’ whiskies that have been finished in beer and sake casks.
The Togouchi brand includes four expressions that are new to the UK: Togouchi Beer Cask (40% ABV), Togouchi Sake Cask (40% ABV), Togouchi Pure Malt (40% ABV) and Togouchi Single Malt (43% ABV).
The expression join three existing whiskies available in the UK: Togouchi Premium (40% ABV), Togouchi 9 Year Old (40% ABV) and Togouchi 15 Year Old (43.8%).
Togouchi Premium Blended Whisky is available in Waitrose for £44.50 (US$49) per 700ml bottle.
Other expressions in the range are priced at up to £160 (US$177).
Meanwhile, Akashi Blended Sherry Cask (50% ABV) will be available in the UK for the first time through ABUK.
The bottling joins three other Akashi whiskies in the market: Akashi Blended (40% ABV), Akashi Single Malt (46% ABV), and Akashi Single Malt Sherry Cask 5 Year Old (50% ABV).
Akashi is made at Eigashima Distillery, founded in 1888, and is owned by one of the country’s oldest sake producers.
The Eigashima company dates to the 1700s. The distillery, based in the coastal city of Akashi, an area known for its spring water and fertile fields, was granted a licence to produce whisky in the early 20th century. However, the site’s first whisky was distilled in 1984.
The whiskies are stored for between three to eight years mostly in oak casks previously used for Bourbon, Sherry, wine, or sake.
Akashi Blended Whisky is available through Waitrose for £33 (US$36.50) per 500ml bottle, while other Akashi whiskies are priced at up to £135 (US$149).
Walsh Whiskey owner Amber Beverage Group enjoyed ‘strong’ double-digit growth in its 2021 fiscal year.
For an in-depth look at emerging players in the Japanese whisky category, see the October 2022 issue of The Spirits Business, out now.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers