Mars Whisky opens Japan’s most southerly distilleryBy Amy Hopkins
The parent company of Japanese brand Mars Whisky is to start production in the Kagoshima Prefecture next month, marking the opening of the most southerly distillery in Japan.
Hombo Shuzo Co has now completed the build of the Mars Tsunuki Distillery in the Tsunuki area of the prefecture – where the company was founded in 1872 and first received its distilling license in 1949. This license was transferred to Yamanashi in 1960.
Mars Tsunuki Distillery was built at a cost of about 500 million yen (almost US$5m) and contains one mill, one mash tun, five washbacks and one pair of stills. It has capacity to produce 108,000 litres of alcohol, significantly increasing supplies of Mars Whisky.
Hombo Shuzo Co also owns a distillery in the Nagano Prefecture, called Mars Shinshu Distillery, which at 800 metres above sea level is the highest distillery in Japan and has the same capacity as the Tsunuki site.
Mars Shinshu Distillery was first established in 1985 when Hombo Shuzo transferred stills from its plant in Yamanashi. The site was mothballed in 2000 due to dwindling demand for Japanese whisky and restarted production in 2011.
To increase output, the company “refined” Shinshu’s stills in 2014 and extended its production period to 180 days in 2015.
At the same time as opening its distillery in Kagoshima, Mars Whisky has unveiled the next expression in its portfolio – Komagatake, a vatting of “young casks” and casks aged for more than 20 years.