From cup noodles to Pokemon, there’s a range of Japanese products that have surprised people here by becoming much more popular overseas than most in the country of origin ever thought possible.
Is Japanese whisky the next in line?
Certainly, connoisseurs have been praising Japan-distilled whisky — based on the Scotch variety — for some time, but the pace of growth in its popularity has caught even some of those who make it unawares. Ahead of the close of this year, Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., one of Japan’s biggest drinks makers, was pleasantly surprised to discover exports from its Nikka Whisky Distilling Co. unit shot up 60% this year, to 25,500 cases.
The home of award-winning drams like Taketsuru Pure Malt, Asahi and Nikka have been putting no little effort into developing the product overseas, but that volume was still 16% above targeted shipments. It’s worth noting that just five years ago, Nikka whisky exports stood at just 1,800 cases.