History of Masataka Taketsuru and Nikka Whisky

Nikka Distillery Aerial View
Nikka Distillery Aerial View

  • 1894 Born into a sake brewing family in Hiroshima on June 20.
  • 1916 Graduated from Osaka Technical (High School) where he majored in brewing. Entered Settsu Shuzo Company in Osaka.
  • 1918 Embarked for Scotland via U.S.A.
  • 1918 Arrived in Scotland and enrolled at the University of Glasgow in December.
  • 1919 Apprenticed at Longmorn Distillery in Speyside to learn malt whisky production.
  • 1919 Apprenticed at James Calder in Bo’ness to learn Coffey grain whisky.
  • 1920 Married Rita on January 8.
  • 1920 Apprenticed at Hazelburn Distillery in Cambeltown to learn malt whisky production and blending.
  • 1920 Returned to Japan with Rita in November.
  • 1922 Left Settsu Shuzo Company since the plan to produce whisky was abandoned.
  • 1923 Entered Kotobukiya Limited (Suntory) with a 10-year contract.
  • 1923 Directed to build Yamazaki Distillery, the first whisky distillery in Japan, and engaged in whisky production.
  • 1934 Left Kotobukiya in March.
  • 1934 Established Dai Nippon Kaju Co., Ltd. on July 2.
  • 1936 Yoichi Distillery started distillation.
  • 1940 The first whisky “NIKKA WHISKY” launched.
  • 1949 Takeshi Taketsuru, Masataka’s nephew and adopted son, entered Nikka Whisky.
  • 1952 The corporate name Dai Nippon Kaju Co., Ltd. was altered to The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., Ltd.
  • 1961 Rita died on January 17 at the age of 64.
  • 1963 The first Coffey Still was imported from Scotland and installed at Asahi Breweries’ Nishinomiya plant to produce grain whisky. (The Coffey Stills were transferred to Miyagikyo Distillery in 1999.)
  • 1966 The second Coffey Still was installed.
  • 1967 Kashiwa bottling plant completed.
  • 1969 Miyagikyo Distillery completed in April and started distillation.
  • 1977 Tochigi plant completed.
  • 1979 Masataka died on August 29 at the age of 85.