Tokyo is slated to have its first large-scale public whisky festival in a long, long time. Whisky Festival 2022 in Tokyo is, for the time being, scheduled for March 26 and 27, 2022. Let’s take a look at the vendor list and some initial details.The last time Tokyo had a big public whisky event was back in 2019, which I reported on back at the time. COVID-19 then hit Japan hard!
But more recently, while many parts of the world are once again setting records for daily new COVID-19 cases, Japan has so far avoided its imminent next wave. The 7-day average for the country has been under 1000 cases nationwide since early October. Yesterday, for example, saw 214 new cases, with 35 of those here in Tokyo. On the other hand, the 7-day average is again on the rise…
Who knows how things will be in March 2022? I certainly don’t. But the Japan Whisky Research Centre has announced their intent to hold Whisky Festival 2022 in Tokyo at Belle Salle Takadanobaba over the weekend of March 26.
It’s been a moment since we had a big whisky festival in Tokyo, and during that moment a lot of new distilleries have popped up and now have distillate aging in their warehouses.
The full list of vendors is available at the festival’s website, but let’s highlight the Japanese whisky distilleries (bold names making their first appearance, AFAIK):
- Kaikyo Distillery
- Asahi Beer (Nikka Whisky’s parent company)
- Osuzuyama Distillery
- Shizuoka Distillery
- Karuizawa Distillers Inc. (Komoro Distillery)
- Kiuchi Shuzo (Yasato Distillery, Nukada Distillery)
- Kizakura Whisky (Tamba Distillery)
- Kinryu (Yuza Distillery)
- Akkeshi Distillery
- Kanosuke Distillery
- Sakurao Distillery
- Sasanokawa Shuzo (Asaka Distillery)
- Saburomaru Distillery
- T&T Toyama & Maltoyama
- Nagahama Roman Beer (Nagahama Distillery)
- Niigata Kameda Distillery
- Niseko Distillery
- Venture Whisky (Chichibu Distillery)
- Hombo Shuzo (Mars Whisky)
- Masahiro Shuzo
As you can see, the festival should have a good mix of both new and old faces. I’m looking forward to seeing what the newer companies offer. Many of them have only started distilling this year, and some haven’t even started distilling yet!
The Japan Whisky Research Centre is taking several COVID-19 precautions for the festival. For starters, no same-day tickets will be available. You’ll have to purchase advance tickets for one of the below four sessions, where each session has a cap of 800 attendees:
- March 26: 10:30AM to 2PM
- March 26: 4PM to 7:30PM
- March 27: 9:30AM to 1PM
- March 27: 2:30PM to 6PM
That means some pretty long days for vendors, but for us festival-goers, it should help cut down on potential exposure and crowding at the event. In addition, masks will be required at all times except when sampling, payments for premium samples will be shifted to contactless payments, and there will be plenty of temperature checking and sanitization going on. If there’s one thing a whisky festival has, it’s plenty of high-proof alcohol.
Tickets are slated to go on sale in late January and will cost 4400 yen apiece. Of course, I’ll bring more details as they come along.
Fingers crossed that we’ll finally be able to have a fairly large, safe, and in-person whisky festival in Tokyo for the first time in years!
Hi there! I created and run nomunication.jp. I’ve lived in Tokyo since 2008, and I am a certified Shochu Kikisake-shi/Shochu Sommelier (焼酎唎酒師), Cocktail Professor (カクテル検定１級), and I hold Whisky Kentei Levels 3 and JW (ウイスキー検定３級・JW級). I also sit on the Executive Committees for the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition and Japanese Whisky Day. Click here for more details about me and this site. Kampai!