Beam CEO: ‘Big ambitions’ for House of Suntory

Albert Baladi is in the driving seat as Beam Suntory’s new president and CEO. He tells The Spirits Business about his ambitions to position Bourbon as the world’s foremost whisk(e)y and make his company the ‘most admired’ in the industry. *This feature was originally published in the August 2019 issue of The Spirits Business In 1795, three years after Kentucky became a US state, farmer and grain mill operator Jacob Beam filled his first barrel…

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Macallan Lalique 50-year-olds exceed auction estimates

Two bottles of The Macallan Lalique 50-year-old Scotch whisky sold for £100,062 (US$126,515) each at Bonhams Fine Whisky sale in Edinburgh last week. The two bottles went under the hammer on Wednesday 9 October with an estimated sale of between £67,000-£93,000 (US$84,712-US$117,586). The Macallan Lalique 50-year-old is the first release from The Lalique Six Pillars collection, which were launched between 2006 and 2016. It is said to have aromas of cumin, cardamom and maraschino, and…

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Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series sets new auction record

Bonhams Hong Kong has set a new world auction record for a Japanese whisky collection after Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series sold for HK$7.19 million (US$917,000) last week. The whisky range was part of the Bonhams Fine and Rare Wine and Whisky Sale, which took place in Hong Kong on 16 August. Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series had been forecast to fetch between HK$4.5m-HK$6m at auction. The collection comprises 54 bottles, each representing a playing…

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SB Meets… Shinji Fukuyo, House of Suntory

The legendary master blender behind some of the world’s most coveted Japanese whiskies – including Yamazaki, Hibiki and Hakushu – tells SB about overcoming challenges while perfecting his craft. How did you first get into the whisky industry? Actually, after graduating from university I joined the Suntory HR department. They told me you should go to Hakushu distillery in 1984, and since then basically I have always worked in whisky production. At the distillery, I…

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Japanese whisky and gin drive spirits sales in GTR

Total spirits volume in the global travel retail channel grew 2.5% last year, boosted by double-digit gains from Japanese whisky and gin, according to new IWSR figures. In 2018, spirits volume in the channel reached 24.5 million nine-litre cases, with a value of US$9.2 billion. The IWSR said the categories that posted the largest volume increases were Japanese whisky, which increased by almost 20%, followed by gin (15%), Scotch (4.9%) and American whiskey (4.3%). Over…

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