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Suntory meets new Japanese whisky regulations

Japanese multinational Suntory has announced that all of its exported products are compliant with the country’s new production and labelling standards which officially launched on 1 April.

Suntory meets new Japanese whisky regulations

House of Suntory has confirmed that all of its exported Japanese whiskies meet the official designation established by the Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association (JSLMA).

The new regulations regarding production and labelling have officially been in use since 1 April following a three-year grace period. In 2021, JSLMA announced a new set of standards to curb the spread of products misleadingly labelled as ‘Japanese whisky’. Labelling standards were enacted on 1 April 2021, with a three-year transition period for members of the association to comply.

The action was intended to protect the authenticity of Japanese whisky, a growing category.

While the association is a government-approved organisation, it is not a government agency, and therefore this change in regulations will be internally enforced by the association’s members rather than by any official legislation.

House of Suntory has welcomed the voluntary designation of ‘Japanese whisky’ established by the JSLMA. The multinational has confirmed that all exported Suntory Japanese whisky products are 100% distilled, matured, and bottled in Japan and compliant with the new production and labelling standards. The brands include The Yamazaki Single Malt Japanese Whisky, The Hakushu Single Malt Japanese Whisky, The Chita Single Grain Japanese Whisky, Hibiki Blended Japanese Whisky, Toki Blended Japanese Whisky, and Suntory Whisky “Kakubin” Blended Japanese Whisky.

President Masaki Morimoto said he believes that “the designation will help uphold the integrity of and further vitalise the category”. He called the change a “milestone”, not just for Suntory, but for the industry as a whole.

“Suntory is proud to be one of the producers for whom all of their officially exported whiskies available are 100% compliant. Tradition, quality, and innovation are at the heart of everything we do, and we are proud to continue showcasing these through artful distilling and blending,” he said.

To achieve the designation of Japanese Whisky, a brand must uphold the following:

Water used in production must be extracted in Japan.
Saccharification, fermentation, and distillation must be carried out at a distillery in Japan.
Liquid must be distilled to less than 95% ABV and the bottled spirit must be at least 40% ABV.
Spirits must be aged for a minimum of three years in Japan in wooden casks of no more than 700 litres.
Bottling must take place in Japan.
Plain caramel colouring (E150) is permitted.

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