Maybe never. Let's think this through for a minute. We all know Nikka is owned by Asahi. So is this move just expanding Nikka's whisky production capabilities to meet the rising demand for Japanese whisky? Or does Asahi want to get into the Japanese whisky game?
Nikka may be wholly owned by Asahi, but as far as the National Tax Agency is concerned, Nikka is a different company with a different corporate registration number. The license was issued to Asahi Beer, not Nikka Whisky. And the license is specific to that Ibaraki Factory. It's not one of Nikka's facilities.
Instead this move is likely to meet demand for whisky at Asahi without having to go to Nikka. What does Asahi need whisky for, you ask. Products like this: a canned highball. So rather than some new single malt, it's likely this is just for making whisky in bulk for other end products. For now, there is no Asahi-branded whisky. Time will tell!
I’m Whiskey Richard, and I am the founder of nomunication.jp. I’ve lived in Tokyo for over a decade, and I am a certified Shochu Kikisake-shi/Shochu Sommelier (焼酎唎酒師), Cocktail Professor (カクテル検定１級), and I hold Whisky Kentei Levels 3 and JW (ウイスキー検定３級・JW級). Click here for more details about me and this site. Kampai!