Sapporo's fresh new Benizakura Distillery has opened on April 26, and they've already released their first product: a craft gin called "9148." Details are scarce at the moment, but judging by their Facebook page, it appears that some members of the public showed up for the grand opening of Hokkaido's first gin distillery, and walked away with some of the first-run of 534 bottles. Hokkaido Shimbun reports that they're using kombu, shiitake, and other local Hokkaido ingredients as botanicals. The bottles are currently being sold only at the distillery, for 4980 yen each.
The Benizakura Distillery is operated by a company called "Hokkaido Liberty Whisky," but I am not yet seeing any signs of whisky-making going on. The pics on their homepage show only a column still from Barisons, so perhaps whisky is much further down the road.
Whiskey Richard is the founder of nomunication.jp, and has been saying he has lived in Japan for ten years for the past four years. He enjoys drinking basically anything except straight-up Campari.