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Japan's first craft gin distillery to open in Kyoto next year

Published:  16 November, 2015

What is believed to be Japan's first craft gin distillery will open in Kyoto next year.

The Kyoto Distillery is being built by Japanese whisky distributor, The Number One Drinks Company, which has poached Alex Davies from the UK's Cotswold Distillery to lead its distilling team.

The Number One Drinks Company is run by David Croll and Marcin Miller.

Croll said: "Our plan is simply to make the finest gin possible with a focus on Japanese botanicals. We realise that there are plenty of new entrants in the gin category but are confident that, by offering an exceptional spirit with a genuine point of difference, we will attract discerning consumers.

"Our initial emphasis will be on engaging with the Japanese bartending community and, thereafter, exporting to a small number of markets on allocation only."

Davies said: "It had to be an amazing offer to lure me away from my last position but I figured this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Kyoto is famed for its cuisine, has an abundance of fruit unique to the area and is the cradle of Japanese craft, from sake-brewing to kimono-weaving, woodblock printing, ceramics and lacquer work.

"I have stacks of ideas already and can't wait to start distilling in the most inspiring and forward-thinking city I've ever visited."

The Number One Drinks Company was founded by Croll and Martin in 2006. It has exclusive worldwide distribution rights for the Chichibu, Hanyu and Karuizawa distilleries.

Croll also runs Whisk-e Ltd, which distributes distilleries such as Isle of Arran, Bladnoch and Glendronach in Japan.

Croll and Miller are partnering with Marius Vestnes, chief executive of Scandinavian drinks importer Cask Owners, on the new distillery.