A shot by NASA`s Spirit Rover added to evidence of whisky drinking on Mars.
Apart from providing an excuse for silly headlines and pics, the news that Mars Whisky may be starting up their stills at Shinshu again is actually really significant for Japanese whisky. Whisky sales in Japan are showing their first sustained rise in 23 years and the fact that a medium sized maker like Hombo is reentering the fray is encouraging for those of us who want Japanese whisky to be about more than the two giants, Nikka and Suntory.
Makoto Kawaida at Hombo's HQ has given me a few more details on what is up at Shinshu. He said that the approach they will take to the whisky market is still under discussion but that producing single malts was definitely on the agenda. Both stills are going to be repaired, along with a complete overhaul of the other whisky making equipment. The aim is to start distilling again next year. The new operation will be able to produce 600 litres of 60 percent "genshu" (undiluted spirit) in a day.
Update 13.12.2010: Shinshu to reopen in February