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Suntory teams up with Keanu Reeves

The House of Suntory has partnered with actor Keanu Reeves and filmmaker Sofia Coppola on a new campaign to mark the Japanese whisky producer’s 100th anniversary this year.

Keanu Reeves x Suntory
The Matrix actor Keanu Reeves has partnered with Suntory again, 30 years after their first ad

Suntory was founded in 1923 by Shinjiro Torii who started making whisky at the Yamazaki distillery, located on the periphery of Kyoto in Japan.

Coppola, director of Tokyo-based film Lost in Translation, has created the Suntory Anniversary Tribute, a short video that tells the story behind the Japanese whisky maker.

The video stars Canadian actor Reeves, who previously appeared in a Suntory Reserve advert in 1992.

Later this summer, Reeves will feature in a series of documentary shorts called ‘The Nature and Spirit of Japan’, directed by Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola’s brother.

“I’m honoured to partner with Suntory Whisky again 30 years after our Suntory Reserve campaign,” said John Wick actor Reeves. “I’m a huge fan of Suntory Whisky, so it’s very special to collaborate in honour of this milestone anniversary.”

“My admiration for the whisky goes beyond tasting the whisky. It is the elevated Japanese craftsmanship and attention to every detail that makes Suntory Whisky so special. As an actor honing and perfecting my own craft, sharing this process in a docuseries is a thrill.”

The series will explore Japanese whisky culture inspired by ‘wa’ – the Japanese harmony of nature, as well as Japanese craftsmanship (monozukuri) and the Japanese way of hospitality (omotenashi).

“As the pioneer of Japanese whisky, the House of Suntory played a significant role in shaping culture and leading craftsmanship in Japan over the last century,” said Jon Potter, managing director of House of Suntory.

“To mark this historic milestone, partnering with Sofia and Keanu, who are Suntory Whisky fans, makes perfect sense. From our fifth-generation chief blender Shinji Fukuyo’s striking blends to Sofia and Keanu’s unique cinematic creations, this commemoration has surpassed all expectations to celebrate our iconic Japanese whiskies.”

Suntory’s Hibiki 17 famously made an appearance in 2003 film Lost in Translation, where actor Bill Murray fronted an advert for the whisky in one scene.

Anniversary whiskies

Suntory will also release several limited edition whiskies to mark its centenary this year.

The producer will launch Yamazaki 18 Years Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18 Years Old Peated Malt whiskies, and limited edition labels for its flagship Yamazaki 12 Years Old and Hakushu 12 Years Old to commemorate the 100th birthday.

“Hakushu and Yamazaki whiskies are gifts from our past handed down by generations,” said chief blender Shinji Fukuyo. “It is fitting to release limited editions as part of this incredible milestone, as they represent our relentless pursuit of quality and symbolise our promise to carry our philosophy on for the next 100 years and beyond.”

Suntory is known for its Japanese whiskies Yamazaki, Hakushu, Chita, Kakubin, Hibiki, Toki and Ao, as well as Roku Gin and Haku Vodka.

Suntory has invested 10 billion JPY (US$77 million) into its Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries to celebrate the company’s 100th whisky-making anniversary. The sites are currently closed for renovation and are due to open this autumn.

Check out Suntory’s centennial video starring Reeves below.

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