Another one bites the dust! This time the sad news comes from Kirin, who has begun informing retailers, bars/izakaya, and distributors that the death of their blended Fuji Sanroku Tarujuku 50° is imminent.
While Suntory and Nikka have killed or suspended some of their more premium whiskies like Hibiki 17, Fuji Sanroku Tarujuku 50° is actually Kirin's budget whisky from the distillery. Like, 1500-1700 yen most of the time.
This is a major blow for the brand recognition Kirin whisky has built over the years -- Fuji Sanroku Tarujuku 50° is currently used for serving highballs at many of Kirin's contracted izakayas. The move leaves Fuji Gotemba Distillery with only Fuji Sanroku Signature Blend as a regularly available product, which frankly is far out of reach for regular izakaya and bar owners. Presumably they are killing the budget brand to allocate older casks to the more expensive brand, but given the significant difference in price point, it should be interesting to see how this strategy actually plays out for their bottom line.
Kirin recently announced they are investing heavily into Fuji Gotemba to expand capacity. Perhaps the move comes a few years too late. Hopefully we'll see a budget whisky from them brought back soon -- we already have enough expensive Japanese whiskies!
The last shipments of Fuji Sanroku Tarujuku 50° are slated for March 2019. It's only 1500 yen on Amazon JP at the moment, and still in stock, so pick up a bottle and pour out a dram.
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.