The water used in whisky production at Fuji-Gotemba is taken from underground springs that are fuelled by melting snow from nearby Mount Fuji
Country - Japan
tel - +81(0)550 89 4909
web - www.kirin.co.jp
Free tours of Fuji-Gotemba distillery are available daily (except Wednesdays). The distillery is closed for Christmas and New Year period and may occasionally close on other days. Large groups are advised to phone and book in advance. Tours in English are available on request.
How to pronouce Fuji-Gotemba? foo-ji got-emba
Fuji-Gotemba distillery is located in the town of Gotemba, which lies at the foot of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji. It holds the record for being the world’s current largest whisky distillery, beating Glenfiddich in Scotland into second place. The distillery covers a massive 1.7 million square feet (520,000 square metres) and has a capacity of an impressive 12 million litres a year. It produces both single malt and grain whiskies from imported barley and grain from Scotland and Ireland. There are separate still rooms for the single malt and grain whisky production and Fuji-Gotemba is one of the few distilleries in Japan to have its own bottling plant and cooperage. Whisky is sold under two names – Fuji-Gotemba and Fuji Sanroku (which means ‘at the feet of Fuji’ in Japanese). A 10 years old and an 18 years old are currently released as single malts, as well as a popular blended whisky called ‘Evermore’.
The Fuji-Gotemba distillery was founded at the height of the Japanese whisky industry in the early 1970s. A multi national corporate collaboration drew up plans to open the distillery and production began in 1973. The collaboration consisted of Seagrams from Canada, Chivas Brothers from Scotland, Four Roses distillery from America and the Kirin Brewery Company from Japan (who distributed Four Roses products in Japan). They selected the site as they felt that it had the climate most similar to Scotland. The town of Gotemba is over 2000 feet (610 metres) above sea level and is much cooler and less humid (especially in the summers) than other areas of Japan. The distillery was originally called the Gotemba Distillery and changed to Fuji-Gotemba when it came under the sole ownership of Kirin in 2002. Kirin proceeded to purchase another distillery, Karuizawa, in 2007.