Mere hours after Hakkaisan Brewery announced their construction of a whisky distillery in Hokkaido's Niseko, Niigata Beer has gone ahead and unveiled their plans for a whisky distillery in Niigata Prefecture.
According to Nikkei, this one is will be happening sooner: Niigata Beer is renovating one of their existing 500 square meter warehouses to accommodate a distillery and rackhouse, aiming to complete the changes by the end of May 2019. They are aiming for an output of 600L per day. The total investment is reportedly around 50 million yen, so about 1/10th of what Hakkaisan plans to blow in Niseko.
Niigata Beer has also secured some 50,000 square meters of mountain land up in Tohoku specifically to grow mizunara for future casks. That's REALLY damn long-term planning, since it reportedly takes at least 150 years to grow mizunara trees suitable for whisky casks.
This is another one I've been waiting for: per the map, they've had a license to make whisky since December 2017.
Outside of Japan, the company has already been selling imported whiskies finished in Japan under the Shinobu label. We don't know if they plan on releasing Shinobu domestically, but given the flak that companies like Matsui Shuzo and Chugoku Jozo get for their Kurayoshi and Togouchi shenanigans, such a move would be controversial at best.