Nikkei brings word that Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery's Single Grain Whiskey Fuji is being released stateside next month. It will the first time the company officially exports their whisky to the US.Fuji was released here in Japan in April 2020. Beginning this year, I've noticed it's one of the most commonly available genuine Japanese whiskies: even places like grocery stores keep it on shelves. Kirin's domestic sales target for Fuji in 2021 is 4000 cases, or about 2.5x what they sold in 2020.
Of course, no maker of Japanese whisky these days can ignore the explosive growth of exports in the category. Kirin is no exception: their target for 2021 is 740 cases for the US market.
The plan for now is to have Fuji available in 12 states. We don't know which 12 states, but they say they want to sell it at liquor shops and higher-end bars and restaurants. How much for a bottle? About $95, making it about double the cost of what it sells for here in Japan.
Nikkei goes on to say that the US accounts for about 35% of premium whisk(e)y sales worldwide, but Japanese whisky is only 3% of that. "There's plenty of room for growth," they quote a Kirin rep as saying. With the company investing in their distillery in recent years, they should have better capacity to supply growing demand.
We visited the Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery a few years back. Check out my report here! The company's whisky is not super well known outside of Japan, but given they are really awesome at making grain whisk(e)y, that will hopefully change over time.
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