Hokkaido Akkeshi Distillery


Akkeshi Distillery Equipment
and Maturation Environment

We are dedicated to making whisky using the traditional distilling methods of Scotland to create a whisky similar to Islay malts.
That's why we installed equipment from Forsyths in Scotland.
Like on the island of Islay, we make whisky using water that has passed through a peat layer.
Maturation proceeds day-by-day here in cool, damp Akkeshi amid the brine of sea breezes.

Pot stills and mash tun made by Forsyths

We imported two pot stills and a mash tun made by Forsyths, which have a straight-headed onion shape like those used at several distilleries on the island of Islay.
They are heated by radiators, and the attached condensers are in the shell and tube form.
The mash tun is of the semi-lauter type.

The equipment was installed by Forsyths workers who traveled to Japan for the occasion.
The six washbacks (fermentation tanks) are stainless steel, and we intentionally selected a type that cannot be temperature-controlled.
We leave the temperature up to nature, and our craftsmen carefully watch the timing of fermentation.

Japanese oak casks used for maturation

Our two on-site maturation warehouses have a dunnage format. In February, 2018 a third warehouse was completed adjacent to the sea incorporating an innovative racking system. Over looking Akkeshi Bay we expect the maritime aromas in the air to influence the characteristics of our whisky.
For maturation of whisky we employ not only bourbon and sherry casks but also Japanese oak casks, which are difficult to come by. We are also testing a variety of possibilities including maturation in wine and rum casks.

The source of the clean, pure water we will use to make the whisky comes from Homakai River, in the upstream reaches of Oboro River next to the distillery. The surrounding area is a marsh, home to water crowfoots said to grow only in the purest water. The dainty white blossoms, which bloom in summer, are an unmistakable sign of abundant clean water, which is what we will use to make Akkeshi whisky.

Distillery Overview  
Distillery owned by: Kenten Co., Ltd.
Establishment of distillery: 2016
Distilling vessels
(pot stills):
Wash still (5,000L), 
Spirit still (3,600L)
Fermentation tanks
(Wash backs):
Warehouse storage methods: Dunnage / Racking

A cool, moist climate

Fog frequently rolls in from the sea and blankets the town of Akkeshi. The Bekan-Beushi wetlands expand to the northeast of the distillery.
Fog and marshes like these are indispensable to the production of whisky similar in character to Islay malts.

Wetlands Registered under the Ramsar Convention

Lake Akkeshi and the Bekan-Beushi wetlands are registered under the Ramsar Convention, named for Ramsar, Iran where it was signed on February 2, 1971. The goal of the treaty is the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, through international cooperation, as habitats for wildlife and particularly waterfowl. Operating in this bountiful natural environment, Akkeshi Distillery will be a sustainable enterprise in harmony with nature.

Keiichi Toita

President and Representative Director Kenten Co., Ltd.

I've been a whisky devotee since my youth, and over the years have tasted whisky from many different distilleries. In doing so, one thing I've discovered is that I can't get enough of Islay malts. That smoky flavour, which struck me as an odd note the first time I tried it, at some point became something I can't do without. I had a dream of someday crafting whisky with my own hands, and I knew it would have to be something like those Islay malts, made according to traditional Scottish methods.

Blending traditional Scottish methods and the unique flavour of Akkeshi. That's our goal at Akkeshi Distillery. An aroma and flavour like nothing found elsewhere. A whisky that will find favour in Europe and other countries around the world. Something authentic, which will delight whisky aficionados not only in Japan, but also in every corner of the globe.

We aim to craft a distinctive whisky that will have drinkers nosing and saying "Ah, the aroma of Akkeshi." Sipping, and saying "That's what they call the Akkeshi flavour."

We began distilling in the autumn of 2016. No one is more excited than me to taste the finished product. I think we have something in the works that whisky lovers far and wide can look forward to.