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Country - Japan
49 Midori Gaoka
tel - +81(0) 494 624601
Tours of Chichibu Distillery are not currently available
How to pronouce Chichibu? chit-chiboo
Chichibu is Japan’s newest distillery and the first to be built in the country since the mid 1970’s. The distillery is located in the town of Chichibu, close to the city of Saitama and about 2 hours to the north west of Tokyo. The idea of Chichibu’s founder Ichiro Akuto was to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and build and operate a distillery. His grandfather had established the Hanyu distillery in 1946. Hanyu ceased production in 2000 and has since been dismantled, with Ichiro Akuto owning most of the remaining whisky stock. He bottles and releases these under the ‘Ichiro’s Malt’ label. Akuto intends to continue bottling this Hanyu stock while the new whisky from Chichibu is maturing. There will also be occasional releases of the new unaged spirit.
Ichiro Akuto started planning the Chichibu distillery in 2007. After selecting the site, a Shinto priest was brought in to bless the ground upon which the distillery was to be built. This is a local tradition in the Saitama province and must take place before any building work is started. It is believed to bring good luck and fortune. The distillery, a bottling plant and a warehouse were all completed in rapid time and production of whisky started in the Spring of 2008. The distillery equipment was made in and imported from Scotland, with the exception of the mash tun that was purchased from a local brewery. The long term plan is to eventually grow, malt and peat their own barley but at present the barley is imported from England and Germany and the peat from Scotland. There is actually peat present in the Saitama area that Chichibu hope to harvest with the help of local land owners.