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Sake brewery aims to revitalise whisky operations

Published:  23 January, 2017

The Wakatsuru Shuzo sake brewery is to reinvest in whisky production again following a round of crowdfunding.

The famiy-run brewery, based in the town of Tonami in the Toyama Prefecture to the west of the country, first made whisky in 1952.

However, it has only ever operated its distillery for a few months each year and its facilities have long since fallen into disrepair.

It principally produced whisky under the Sun Shine brand.

Rebuilding work is estimated at some ¥65 million - about £460,000 ? of which ¥38 million (£270,000) was raised through online crowdfunding last autumn. Repairs are expected to finish in June this year.

The relaunch has been overseen by Takahiko Inagaki, the 29-year-old board director of the parent company and great-grandson of the company's first whisky licence holder.

Inagaki was inspired by sampling a 1960 whisky in the company's stores. "It was extremely multilayered, revealing the taste of the time," he told the Japan Times.

Last year, the company issued a limited edition 55-year-old single malt, Saburomaru 1960, the oldest Japanese whisky released to dated.

Wakatsuru Shuzo was founded in 1862. Key sake brands include Yamadanishiki Junmai Ginjo Sake and Oyamanishiki Tokubetsu Junmai Sake.