Suntory discontinues six Japanese whisky bottlesBy Melita Kiely
Japanese whisky producer Suntory has discontinued six bottle formats across its Shirokaku, Chita and Kakubin brands.
Suntory confirmed it has pulled sales of blended whisky Shirokaku’s 700ml, 1.92l, 2.7l and 4l bottles, single grain Chita’s 350ml bottles, and blended whisky Kakubin’s 450ml bottles. Kakubin is only available from convenience stores.
Suntory made the decision after reviewing its brand portfolio and choosing to place greater emphasis on continuing a “stable supply” of “major products” – notably Kakubin 700ml and Chita 700ml.
In May last year, Suntory confirmed plans to discontinue its Hibiki 17 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old Japanese whiskies “at some point” from 2019 due to stock shortages.
In 2016, Suntory’s CEO Takeshi Niinami said it could take up to a decade for Beam Suntory’s Japanese whisky distilleries to meet demand from consumers and retailers.
As the popularity of Japanese whisky grows ever stronger, producers have been hit with stock shortages.
For an in-depth look at how producers, distributors, retailers and the on-trade are working to alleviate supply and demand pressures, see the January 2019 issue of The Spirits Business, out now.
Last month, leading industry members said Japanese whisky “absolutely” needs a geographical indication (GI) to protect the category.