In May, Suntory held a tasting event at an outlet of Japanese apparel company Maker’s Shirt Kamakura near Wall Street, targeting the brand loyalty of millennials, who were born between the early 1980s and late 1990s.
Suntory’s Hibiki whisky, priced at around US$65 per bottle, proved very popular. A 30-year-old man who works in publishing said it would be a good gift, adding he gave a US$280 Japanese whisky to his father-in-law recently.
“It’s a good opportunity to introduce (our whiskies) because many ritzy, information-savvy millennials reside around here,” said Hiroyuki Hayakawa of Suntory, who hosted the event.
With bartenders often visiting popular bars and restaurants to gather information, Suntory has been dispatching sales teams to around 400 selected bars and restaurants to promote its products.
Nikka Whisky has also been trying to raise its brand recognition by participating in fairs and exhibitions overseas.
Thanks to such efforts, Japanese whisky has become more widely recognised but producers are now facing the challenge of supply shortages.
“The situation in which Japanese makers cannot provide stable supplies to overseas markets still lingers,” a public relations official of Nikka Whisky said, noting that whisky needs to be matured in casks for a certain period of time.