Niigata Kameda Distillery launches whisky cask ownership program

A couple months back Nomikai members paid a visit to the newly opened Niigata Kameda Distillery, built by one of Japan’s biggest makers of personal seals: Otani. The company has recently announced details of their cask ownership program. Let’s take a look.

Get your wallet ready because the casks won’t come cheap. Did you expect them to? This is Japanese whisky we’re talking about!

  • 90L, so a half-size Bourbon barrel, non-peated, 63% cask strength. Bottling at 3 years max. 600,000 yen plus necessary taxes and fees
  • 180L, so full-size Bourbon barrel, non-peated, 63% cask strength. Bottling between January 1, 2025 and December 31, 2026. 1,100,000 yen plus necessary taxes and fees

For an unproven distillery that doesn’t have any particular prestige or pedigree associated with it, the pricing is quite aggressive. But I expect there will be some takers anyway, given the premiums associated with genuine Japanese whisky these days. It’s costly, but cask ownership is one of the few ways you can have dozens of bottles to truly call exclusive.

“Necessary taxes and fees” above will be impacted by the maturation length, angel’s share, and changing tax situation. The company lists up:

  • Consumption tax on the above price
  • Liquor tax
  • Bottling fee
  • Shipping

That’s right, it doesn’t include bottling. In fact the Niigata Kameda Distillery doesn’t mention any perks at all: no free tours, no free samples, no private parties, no hotel stays. Altogether they estimate a total cost of around 760,000 yen for the 90L cask, and 1.4 million yen for the 180L cask.

As is standard in Japan, cask “ownership” is a bit of a misnomer. What you’re buying here is not the cask itself but the right to its contents at bottling. If the distillery goes tits up or gets obliterated before that, you’re completely out of luck (and whisky). You can’t insure it since you don’t own it.

If you’re interested in checking out more about the program, head on over to Niigata Kameda Distillery’s page.

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