When you think of the world's whiskey capitols, Kentucky and Scotland might come to mind. But Japan has held its own in recent years, and The Guardian has the story of an incredibly tiny producer who is attracting international attention.
Ichiro Akuto opened his distillery—the smallest in Japan, which consists of just two small pot stills and 14 employees—a little more than a decade ago. Since then, the single malts produced in the miniscule space have become highly sought-after items in the whiskey world, with many willing to pay hundreds for a single bottle.
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Akuto is one of many upstart Japanese whiskey distillers. "We love perfecting the art of making things," he says, "so you could say we're quite geeky in that respect. That determination to do things right extends to whiskey." It was Akuto's grandfather who initially became interested in whiskey making while running his family's 300-year-old sake brewery. Akuto's father imported two stills from Scotland and proceded to dabble in whiskey, producing 400 casks.