There's a cooperage that the entire world is watching. Ariake Sangyo is located in Miyazaki prefecture's Tsuno. The reason? Mizunara casks. With orders coming in from all over the world, they can't keep up. We visited their cooperate in Tsuno.
Text/Photos: Mamoru Tsuchiya
Translation: Whiskey Richard
This article originally appeared in Japanese in Whisky Galore Vol.19 / April 2020.
Image top: Ariake Sangyo's main wood is American white oak, but they also use mizunara and Ariake's unique cherry, cedar, and chestnut.Japan's only independent cooperage is Ariake Sangyo, located in Tsuno, Miyazaki prefecture. Tsuno is about an hour away from Miyazaki City via the Nippou Line. When you exit the small train station, you're treated to views of the gentle ridge of Mt. Osuzu. In the square in front of the station is a monument to celebrated poet Bokusui Wakayama, a frequent visitor to the town. He often came to see his elder sister, who had married into a local family.
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Mamoru Tsuchiya is Japan’s foremost whisky critic. He is the Representative Director of the Japan Whisky Research Centre, and was named one of the “World’s Best Five Whisky Writers” by Highland Distillers in 1998. He served as the whisky historian for NHK’s Massan and he has published several books such as The Complete Guide to Single Malt Whisky, Taketsuru’s Life and Whisky, and The Literacy of Whisky. He is the editor of the bimonthly Whisky Galore, Japan’s only print whisky magazine.