Japanese Whiskey - Major Change in Labelling Regulation

Japanese Whiskey, what that means now!

Japanese whiskey or indeed the actual provenance of whiskey labelled as ‘Japanese’ has been a point of contention for whiskey afficionados for years. Is the practice of importing Scottish distillate and aging it in Japan really appropriate for the label of Japanese Whiskey? Whatever way you feel, you are now living in a world where Japanese whiskey has become a lot more defined!

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Press Release from Japan Spirits & Liquers Association (translated)

Regarding Japanese whiskey, which is becoming more popular overseas, the Japan Spirits & Liqueurs Association has established and announced on the 16th the voluntary standards for products that can be labeled as "Japanese whiskey." Imported malt can be used as a raw material, but all manufacturing processes such as distillation will be carried out domestically, and it is not applicable when "imported raw sake" is mixed.

In recent years, it has become clear that products in which only imported raw liquor distilled overseas is bottled are labeled as "Japanese whiskey" and exported. Since criticisms have been raised from overseas, the union has been working on setting standards.

Under the new standard, raw materials are limited to malt, grains, and water collected domestically. ▽ Manufacturing processes such as saccharification, fermentation, and distillation are performed domestically. ▽ Domestically stored in wooden barrels for 3 years or more. The conditions such as bottling afterwards were set.

Even when displaying similar labels such as "Whiskey from Japan" and "Japan whiskey", we request that the standards be observed. Without such a label, the use of imported raw liquor is not a problem. There are no penalties for violations.

The union calls on domestic businesses, including 82 member companies, to comply with the standards. It is said that English standards will be sent to overseas industry groups and made known.

The union says, "By clarifying the definition and clarifying it at home and abroad, we will avoid confusion for our customers and continue to appeal to our customers the value of whiskey that has evolved independently in Japan."

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