May 24 2023  |  Industry News

The House of Suntory introduces limited-edition whiskies to toast 100th anniversary

By Hibah Noor

The House of Suntory's Yamazaki 12-Year-Old and Hakushu 12-Year-Old whiskies

To celebrate its centennial, The House of Suntory has released a Suntory Anniversary Tribute, directed by Academy Award-winning director Sofia Coppola, as well as exclusive 100th anniversary editions of its world-renowned whiskies. These will be available domestically and in selected travel retail doors.

According to the company, 20 years after filming Lost in Translation, Coppola returned to Japan to direct the Suntory Anniversary Tribute, which tells the story of the brand’s heritage and whisky-making legacy over the last 100 years, depicting the meaning of “Suntory Time” through the eyes of its creator. The Suntory Anniversary Tribute features actor Keanu Reeves, a lover of Suntory Whisky who previously appeared in a Suntory Reserve ad campaign in 1992.

"As the pioneer of Japanese whisky, the House of Suntory played a significant role in shaping culture and leading craftsmanship in Japan over the last century,” said Jon Potter, Managing Director of House of Suntory. “To mark this historic milestone, partnering with Sofia and Keanu, who are Suntory Whisky fans, makes perfect sense. From our Fifth Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo’s striking blends to Sofia and Keanu’s unique cinematic creations, this commemoration has surpassed all expectations to celebrate our iconic Japanese whiskies.”

Later this summer, Reeves will star in another creative project in partnership with the House of Suntory: a series of documentary shorts titled The Nature and Spirit of Japan, directed by Roman Coppola. The series explores Japanese whisky culture inspired by harmony with nature (Wa), elevated by Japanese craftsmanship (Monozukuri) and enjoyed as an authentic Japanese cultural experience (Omotenashi).

The Suntory Anniversary Tribute featuring actor Keanu Reeves

"I’m honored to partner with Suntory Whisky again thirty years after our Suntory Reserve campaign,” said Reeves. “I’m a huge fan of Suntory Whisky, so it’s very special to collaborate in honor of this milestone anniversary. My admiration for the whisky goes beyond tasting the whisky. It is the elevated Japanese craftsmanship and attention to every detail that makes Suntory Whisky so special. As an actor honing and perfecting my own craft, sharing this process in a docuseries is a thrill.”

In honor of the centennial, the House of Suntory is releasing several limited-edition whiskies that highlight the unique Japanese craftsmanship at Suntory’s whisky distilleries and their meticulous art of blending, including Yamazaki 18-Year-Old Mizunara and Hakushu 18-Year-Old Peated Malt whiskies. Limited 100th anniversary labels of the flagship Yamazaki 12-Year-Old and Hakushu 12-Year-Old will also be released for the centennial.

These limited editions will be available in selected GTR airport doors from mid-June, supported by a series of immersive pop-up activations and high-profile advertising campaigns. The debut hero activation will take place at Singapore Changi T1 departures, from June 15 to July 25, in partnership with Lotte Duty Free Singapore. This installation will incorporate tastings, interactive digital activities and exclusive anniversary gifts.

The limited-edition anniversary whiskies will also be available at Shanghai Pudong, Dubai International, Delhi Indira Gandhi International, and London Heathrow Airport. Activations at these locations will take place from July onwards.

“This centennial is a truly a milestone achievement, and we are very much looking forward to collaborating with our travel retail partners to mark this accomplishment,” said Beam Suntory Brand Marketing Director Global Travel Retail, Manuel Gonzalez. “Together, we will really bring the celebrations to life, through our planned program of distinctive airport activations, designed to showcase the very special 100th anniversary editions of these exceptional Japanese whiskies and the art of Japanese whisky.”

“Hakushu and Yamazaki whiskies are gifts from our past handed down by generations,” said Fifth Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo. “It is fitting to release limited-editions as part of this incredible milestone, as they represent our relentless pursuit of quality and symbolize our promise to carry our philosophy on for the next one hundred years and beyond.”

The centennial of the House of Suntory began with the establishment of its Yamazaki Distillery in 1923 —the first and oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan’s history. The House of Suntory founder Shinjiro Torii’s 100-year legacy began with a dream to “create an original Japanese whisky blessed with the riches of Japanese nature and craftsmanship,” which his grandson Shingo Torii carries forth today at Yamazaki and its distilleries across the country. Since its founding, the House of Suntory has been crafting world-class spirits and is known for Yamazaki, Hakushu, Chita, Kakubin, Hibiki, Suntory Whisky Toki and Ao, as well as Roku Gin and Haku Vodka.

This landmark anniversary is a significant milestone for House of Suntory and for its home country of Japan. As a first step toward its promising future, the House of Suntory is investing 10 billion JPY (US$77 million) to enhance its Yamazaki and Hakushu Distilleries which are currently closed for renovation and scheduled to reopen this fall.

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