Suntory to discontinue Hibiki 17 and Hakushu 12By Melita Kiely
Suntory has confirmed it will discontinue its Hibiki 17 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old Japanese whiskies “at some point” after this year due to stock shortages.
Japanese whisky has experienced a renaissance in recent years but as demand has soared, producers have struggled to sustain supplies – particularly age-stated liquid.
As a result, Suntory will stop selling its Hibiki 17 Year Old blend and Hakushu 12 Year Old single malt in certain markets from 2019, and limit availability of the whiskies over the next few years.
These timings may not be applicable to markets outside of Japan, however, due to shipping time lags and inventory differences.
A spokesperson for Beam Suntory said: “As demand for our Japanese whisky portfolio continues to increase, Suntory has made strong investments to increase production capacity and ensure we are primed for continued long-term growth and category leadership.
“In the meantime, due to supply constraints of certain aged whiskies, Hibiki 17 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old will be discontinued in markets at some point after this year, and will have limited availability in the next few years.”
Suntory Holdings apologised to whisky fans for the temporary discontinuation.
A spokesperson for the group said: “We are very sorry for the temporary discontinuation. We have already invested on the distillery and warehouse, and we will continue various investments to meet the market demand.”
In 2016, Suntory’s CEO Takeshi Ninami said it could take up to a decade for Beam Suntory’s Japanese whisky distilleries to meet demand from consumers and retailers.
Japan-based Suntory acquired US-based Beam for US$16 billion in 2014 to create Beam Suntory.