Why is Japanese whiskey so expensive

Japanese whiskey price increase

Japanese whiskey is constantly rising in price. In the meantime, many investors have even got into Japanese whiskey. Because the returns are staggeringly high. It all started with 97.5 out of 100 points in Jim Murray Whiskey Bible in 2015. While the Yamazaki Sherry Cask cost around 200 euros in 2013, the bottle rose to 2,000 euros a year later. Suntory, Hakushu and Nikka do not keep up with production and do not throw large quantities on the market. If you want to order the Suntory Yamazaki 12 years or 18 years from the importer as an online shop, there is an allocation of 12 bottles and 3 bottles. The Suntory Yamazaki 18 years has gone up in sales since the beginning of 2018 from 369 euros to 699 euros. The Suntory Yamazaki 12 years cost 88 euros at the end of 2017. And the bottle is no longer sold for less than 129 euros. The Suntory Hakushu 18 years rose from 226 euros to 450 to 650 euros.

But why is Japanese whiskey so popular and expensive now?

The basis is the multiple award-winning taste and unbroken demand. While Scottish whiskey distilleries such as Ardbeg are switching to limited editions with no vintage, Japanese distilleries follow the path of quality. Because nobody would like to drink an Ardbeg whiskey for 150 euros without knowing the age or further details. Macallan is going the better way here. You feel pressed into the marketing corner and taken advantage of. There are many collectors and especially connoisseurs of Japanese whiskeys. The bottles are opened radically and Asians are not too good to consume the whiskey, even with high prices. And the Chinese are painless anyway. Countless awards at the International Spirits Challenge and increased demand contrasted with a drop in consumption from 1980 to the end of 1998. There was much less production in those years and some distilleries such as Karuizawa or Hanyu ceased operations completely. A Karuizawa Archer whiskey sold for $ 138,000 in 2017 and a Yamazaki 50 years for $ 129,000. That 2016 price was doubled to $ 299,000 on sale in 2018. Yield-oriented investors are becoming vigilant and striking.

Big price increases in Japanese whiskeys

The biggest price increases are likely to be expected with Suntory. The whiskeys are very popular and the low bottling quantities mean that prices are higher. If three bottles of Suntory Yamazaki 18 years are activated in our online shop, they are sold in the evening. The trend has now so eaten into the Japanese economy that Japanese rice farmers are turning to growing barley. Because the Japanese eat less rice and malted grain from Japan is sought. And the hype about Japanese whiskeys is also causing barley prices to rise. Japan is now the fourth largest importer of barley in the world and the second largest buyer of malt.

Japanese whiskey meets all high standards. This applies to the packaging, the appearance of the bottle and the contents. There is currently no "Limited Edition without year or age information". And the Japanese whiskey market is small. Prices can multiply quickly. And most of the Japanese whiskeys are still consumed domestically. But even in supermarkets in Japan there is a sign on many bottles: “One bottle per buyer”. Global demand is also a problem. Around 2013, whiskey drinkers in Asia were primarily interested in Islay whiskey and expensive cognac. The Chinese in particular were buying expensive cognac like crazy. This demand decreased and the demand for Japanese whiskey increased.

Whiskey investments in Japanese whiskey are paying off

Asset managers hold large holdings in the Nikka, Yoichi and Suntory houses of their own. You can also spread whiskey investments. While a property can only be sold as a whole, you can invest in cheap, high-quality bottlings and lost distilleries. The supply is now so scarce that even Suntory employees have been asked not to buy any more premium brands from their own company as employees. Suntory is the largest distillery in Japan and has benefited from the whiskey boom. Ever since TV shows filmed the lives of whiskey pioneers, Japanese whiskey has become a national symbol of pride. And at the current level, it is impossible for prices to fall. Nobody will offer a Suntory Yamazaki 18 years for 369 euros, as it cost at the beginning of 2018. Because in the meantime, whiskey is sold for between 528 and 555 euros even at the bargain paradise Ebay. Dealers will orientate themselves on the previous prices. And the importer is also reading and will increase prices in 2019. At Idealo, prices are currently going up from 569 euros to 699 euros. In 2015 a bottle cost 159 euros.