Photo: Suntory

Suntory to increase price of 31 whisky products by up to 28% next year

By Dale Roll

Whisky is on the rise as a popular drink throughout the world, and while that might mean that there are more people than ever to enjoy a glass with, it also means there’s more demand. Unfortunately, in Japan that means a whisky can completely sell out or disappear because the demand completely outstrips the supply. Or, in a different effect of insufficient demand, whisky makers increase their prices.

In fact, Japanese drink manufacturer Suntory has announced that starting next spring, they’ll be increasing domestic prices of some of their in-house and imported whiskies by up to 28 percent. Suntory has been investing in additional casks and storage warehouses in recent years in order to meet the increasing demand for whisky, but they still haven’t been able to keep up with the rising demand for some of their products.

As such, the company has decided to increase the domestic prices of 31 different products from eight brands of whisky they produce and import, with the hopes of using the profits as capital to increase distilling capabilities and storage capacity. Prices will rise by between five and 28 percent. The brands affected are Suntory’s Hibiki, Yamazaki, Shirasu, and Chita, as well as the Scottish whisky brands Macallan, Glenfiddich, and Balvenie and the Irish whisky Tullamore D.E.W, which Suntory has a monopoly on importing to Japan.

Photo: Suntory

Luckily for casual whisky drinkers, the price of Suntory’s less expensive products will not be increasing much. Suntory has released a full list of all the products whose prices will rise, and the products with a suggested retail price already under 10,000 yen are mostly seeing rises of less than 15 percent. The suggested retail price for Suntory’s 700-milliliter Yamazaki bottle, for example, increases from 4,200 yen to 4,500 yen, a difference of only seven percent.

More expensive bottles are seeing the biggest price jumps. The 25-year Yamazaki, for example, originally retailed for 125,000 yen, but starting in April will increase by 28 percent, to 160,000 yen. The 30-year and 21-year Hibiki, 18-year Yamazaki, 25-year and 18-year Shirasu, and 30-year Macallan Sherry Oak will all see their prices jump by 28 percent.

Japanese whisky fans responses to the price increase have included:

“Glenfiddich 12’s price going from 4,000 to 4,600 (a 15 percent increase) hurts a little…”

“Suntory’s price increases were a major shock! It feels like it won’t be just Suntory who increases their prices, and that’s what’s scary…”

“Suntory announced price increases for its whiskies, but I’m relieved to see that Royal, Reserve, and Old aren’t included.”

“I heard that Suntory is increasing its price of Hibiki 21 from 25,000 yen to 32,000 yen, but I bought one the other day for 79,800 yen…so how far in the future am I?”

“I’m not really that affected by them raising prices since I jump at buying Yamazaki 12 for 17,380 yen [when the suggested retail is currently 8,500 yen], but if they’re going to raise prices, I would like for them to stabilize the prices, too.”

As you can see from the comments, due to high demand and low supply, whisky prices in Japan are already well over the suggested retail prices, so an increase in the suggested retail price probably doesn’t mean much to whisky fans at the moment. Though it will take some time, hopefully the increase in profits will help Suntory increase its production capabilities, which will ultimately stabilize whisky prices in Japan.

The new pricing will go into effect starting on April 1, so if you want to stock up or treat yourself to a nice bottle of whisky, you’ll want to do it before then.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun via Yahoo! News via OtacomGurume WatchTwitter

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Suntory would like you to buy a three-million yen bottle of Japanese whisky

-- How easy is it to win super expensive Japanese whisky at a gacha machine in Tokyo?

-- Blossom Harmony Hibiki is Japan’s newest must-try whisky

© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I’ll stick to my ¥990 bottles of Jim Beam & Smirnoff

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I'll stick with my buddies, Jack, Jim, and Bud. They were always there for me.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Here in Australia, Japanese whiskies are already significantly more expensive than equivalent quality Scotch whisky. They’re just going to price themselves completely out of this market.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Here in Australia, Japanese whiskies are already significantly more expensive than equivalent quality Scotch whisky. They’re just going to price themselves completely out of this market.

I don't think so. Japanese whiskies are highly praised and highly desired, and a higher price point will just make them more alluring to the less money-conscious consumers.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )


Yeah, you’ll always get those people. But those people deserve to get bilked. I was once in Australia’s biggest liquor store when a guy walked in who had to ask the staff what the difference was between red and white wine. Suitably allured, he walked out with a $1,000 bottle of Grange (look it up).

Japanese whisky is seriously under-represented in that same store. I buy it for my wife occasionally, but the Scottish product is better value, and there’s a lot more of it to choose from.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Isn't Jim Beam owned by Suntory now?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese whisky. pretty good stuff but it is not Scotch or Irish quality. I would not go to Scotland for the best Sushi and I would not go to Japan for the best whisky.

That does not hold true of everything. I found the Salmon Sushi in Japan not as good as in Australia.

Tuna, fatty Tuna, now that's best in Japan by far.

But I am more a bourbon drinker so maybe my tastes and opinion doesnt matter at all.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@Peter14 With that attitude you won't find Australia being a world leader in anything. Salmon is best from Norway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good news!

Personally I don't drink alcohol but the consumption should be limited.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I like japanese whiskey but during this pandemic, i've developed a liking to my wife's plum wine... can't get my hands off that stuff for some strange reason...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not to worry, plenty of good quality Scottish single malts on the shop shelves in Japan that are not increasing by the same % if price is a consideration.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

and I would not go to Japan for the best whisky

You might when you find Scotch whisky is cheaper in Japan than in Scotland.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What do you recommend in contrast to J whisky @albaleo 6:39pm? (btw: answered your post on Crime.)

- @albaleo 6:39pm: ”You might when you find Scotch whisky is cheaper in Japan than in Scotland” -

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Guess it's back to Moonshine for me then, darn it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In the USA, we sometimes have runs on toilet paper. In Japan, it looks like people need to buy and hoard more essential items, like whiskey, before next year..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What do you recommend in contrast to J whisky @albaleo 6:39pm

Whatever you're willing to buy me. :-)

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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