Reviving a Legacy: The Story of Hanyu Distillery and Ichiro's Malt

Posted by: Kelly Robertson
27 April 2023

a testament to the enduring legacy of Japanese whisky

Share This

Hanyu distillery is a Japanese whisky distillery that was established in 1941 in the town of Hanyu, located in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. The distillery was founded by Isouji Akuto, who was a descendant of a long line of sake brewers.

The Hanyu distillery operated for over 50 years, producing blended whisky for the Japanese market, but it was forced to shut down in 2000 due to financial difficulties. However, the distillery's legacy lived on, and in 2004, a company called Venture Whisky purchased the remaining stocks of Hanyu whisky and began bottling and selling them under the label "Ichiro's Malt."

Ichiro Akuto, Isouji Akuto's grandson, who had worked at the distillery as a young man, became the master distiller of Ichiro's Malt and set out to revive his family's legacy. Akuto began sourcing barrels of Hanyu whisky that had been stored away by his grandfather and began blending and bottling them under the Ichiro's Malt label.

The Hanyu distillery had a reputation for producing high-quality whisky with unique flavors and aromas, and Akuto's decision to revive the brand was met with enthusiasm from whisky enthusiasts around the world. Ichiro's Malt became known for its innovative blends and limited edition releases, with each bottling featuring a different combination of Hanyu whisky aged in different types of casks.

One of the most popular releases from Ichiro's Malt is the "Card Series," which features a collection of bottles that each depict a different playing card. Each bottle contains a blend of Hanyu whisky from a single year, aged in a variety of different casks. The Card Series has become highly sought after by collectors.

Today, Hanyu whisky is considered to be some of the finest Japanese whisky ever produced, and the distillery's legacy has been preserved thanks to Ichiro Akuto's dedication to reviving the brand. With each new release, Ichiro's Malt continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with Hanyu whisky, and the brand remains a favorite among whisky enthusiasts around the world.

This lot sold June 2023 for £6,000.00

View lot