Beam Suntory To Halt Sales Of Two High-End Japanese Whiskies Amid ShortageJune 25, 2018
With Japanese whisky surging in recent years and pressuring supply, Beam Suntory is set to temporarily discontinue its luxury-level Hakushu 12-year-old and Hibiki 17-year-old labels due to production constraints. The company plans to halt sales of both offerings at the end of 2018, although both are expected to return in limited quantities over the next few years. Hakushu 12-year-old retails at around $85, while Hibiki 17-year-old is at around $150.
The move comes as global demand for Japanese whisky continues to outstrip supply, with upscale Beam Suntory brands like Hakushu, Hibiki, and Yamazaki facing the threat of a significant shortage. According to Impact Databank, shipments of Japanese whisky to the U.S. leapt 35% to above 200,000 cases last year. In Nielsen channels, the category was up 41% from a relatively small base in 2017.
In a statement, Beam Suntory noted that the company has made major investments in ramping up its Japanese whisky production, with the goal of being “primed for continued long-term growth and category leadership.” In the meantime, the company has launched non-age-stated products like Hibiki Japanese Harmony ($65) and Toki ($40) in a bid to offer its blenders more flexibility and extend supplies.
In an interview with SND last year, Suntory Holdings president and CEO Takeshi Niinami said that while the company has been investing in its production capabilities, “it will be at least 10-15 years until our Japanese whisky super-premium side returns to full capacity.”—Christina JelskiSubscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.