Suffering from success: Japanese whisky’s global rise and shortfall
Despite these developments (and the subsequent advent of the Japanese economic miracle) it’s clear that, for much of the 21st century, Japan has had a shortfall of mature-aged single malt reserves – ironically, the very commodity that has propelled Japanese whisky forward on the world stage. It did of course undergo an explosion in domestic popularity during the 1970s and 1980s, but much of what was being consumed was aged only minimally and blended together using spirit sourced from a hodgepodge of distilleries and factories.
This lack of long-age reserves was compounded further by widespread changes in taste during the early 2000s. Younger consumers were becoming increasingly passionate about indigenous spirits like shōchū, which better reflected their preference for food-friendly, low-ABV beverages. According to Chris Bunting, drinks journalist and James Beard-nominated author of Drinking Japan:
Modern influences: Card Games and Consumer Regulation
The discontinuation and subsequent feeding frenzy around Japanese whisky stocks in the mid-2010s correlates directly with the current status quo. As in the world of luxury watches, shortages are pervasive and come in both the literal and manufactured variety. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the auction-house economy, where limited bottles with niche provenance have been performing increasingly well, amid an atmosphere of bullish confidence in Japanese whisky’s future liquidity.