Saturday, September 21, 2013

4 New Stills Added at Yamazaki Distillery

Post by Nicholas Coldicott
As Nonjatta reported back in March 2013, Suntory installed four more stills at Yamazaki this year, bringing the total to 16. Last Friday, they shipped in the media hordes to have a look. The event kicked off with a video of trucks carrying the copper beasts through the streets of Yamazaki at night, then cranes hauling them up to an oversize window and plonking them in their new home, a little white private room.

The room used to contain washbacks, and a Yamazaki worker told me it was just a stroke of luck that it was the perfect width and height for four large stills.  Officially, Suntory wanted to increase the capacity and variety of the output. The capacity got a hefty 40 percent boost. Breadth-wise, they seem to already have quite a variety of still shapes, and the new ones look quite similar to ones they're already using. Both the wash stills are straight wizard-hat stills. One of the spirit stills is very straight, the other is more stocky with a boil bulb. One of the pairs is heated by direct flame, as most Yamazaki stills are. The other pair gets steam.

The budget for the expansion was a reported one billion yen (US$10 million), and the company makes production decisions using sales forecasts 20 years ahead, so it’s fair to say they’re feeling optimistic. Domestic sales are still rising and international sales are small but rocketing.

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