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Japan acknowledges Bourbon as US product

Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey have become recognised as American products in Japan, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus).

Bourbon whiskey ice
Japan is the top export market for American whiskey

In 2015, Japan began a process to recognise the spirits as products of the US. As part of the deal, the States initiated a reciprocal process for some of Japan’s products.

Effective from 22 December 2021, Japan became the 44th country to officially acknowledge Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as US products.

American whiskey exports to Japan reached US$89 million from January 2021 to November 2021, according to Discus’ latest data.

In the 10 years to 2020, Japan went from being the fifth-largest export market for American whiskeys to the top export destination, with the category’s exports climbing by 51%.

“This recognition ensures that only Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey that are produced in the United States according to official US standards may be sold in Japan,” said Robert Maron, Discus vice-president of international trade.

“Japan ranks as the top export market for American whiskeys. This action will ensure the integrity of these popular spirits products in this critical market.”

Maron added that the move will allow Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey exports to continue to expand in the “dynamic and growing market”.

In January 2020, the US and Bolivia signed an agreement to recognise Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as American products.

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