Who we are
Our journey began with small family-owned store in Osaka, more than 100 years ago. Even now that we have grown into a global company, our founder's spirit always underpins what we do.
It began with the vision of our founder, Shinjiro Torii, who, in 1899, opened a store with the vision of selling Western-style wine and liquor in Japan. However, the taste of imported wines did not suit Japanese palates and his wines did not sell well at first.
But Shinjiro did not give up. He worked tirelessly to sell different kinds of imported liquors in Japan and to develop his own wine. In 1907, after many challenges and failures, he launched Akadama Port Wine. This wine was made to suit Japanese palates, and became popular in Japan, where it is still enjoyed today as Akadama Sweet Wine. However, this success was not the end of his story. Following his success with wine, he decided to create an authentic Japanese whisky to suit Japanese tastes.
In 1923, he entered the whisky business by starting construction of the Yamazaki Distillery, the very first malt whisky distillery in Japan. This is where the first Japanese authentic whisky, Suntory Shirofuda (White Label) was born, and the now world-famous Yamazaki Japanese whisky was created. Fifty years later, we opened the Hakushu distillery at the base of the Southern Japanese Alps.
Suntory has continued to thrive after Shinjiro's huge success with Akadama and Japanese whiskies, and we now offer many popular products both in Japan and throughout the world. In 1936, we opened our own winery, called Tomi No Oka. The 1960s saw us expand our portfolio to a new category, beer, with the vision of creating the perfect beer. After more than decades of dedication, we launched The Premium Malt's, an award-winning beer that leads the premium beer market in Japan today.
Suntory has also expanded its business to non-alcoholic beverages. In 1981, Suntory introduced a canned oolong tea at a time when carbonated soft drinks and juice mainly dominated the non-alcoholic beverage market. Suntory Oolong Tea has been one of the longest-selling brands ever since, loved by generations of consumers. Suntory's expansion into this market continued during the 1990s, when we launched our long-standing canned coffee brand BOSS.
Suntory established its presence in Europe in 1983, by acquiring Château Lagrange, a vineyard in Bordeaux, France. In the soft drinks industry, Suntory acquired French soft drink company Orangina Schweppes Group in 2009, followed by the acquisition of iconic UK brands Ribena and Lucozade in 2013. Today these brands are part of a group of companies known as Suntory Beverage & Food Europe.
Suntory also expanded its presence in Europe in 2014 when it acquired Beam to form Beam Suntory, the third-largest premium spirits company in the world.* The acquisition brought some of Europe's most popular spirits brands including Laphroaig, Bowmore, Jim Beam, Maker's Mark and Courvoisier, into Beam Suntory's combined portfolio, which has since expanded to include other leading brands like Sipsmith and ROKU.
* Source: IWSR2018
Note: Retail sales of global spirits and RTD by value, excluding national spirits, cana, raki, other whisky, economy (value) brandy, and economy vodka (value and low-price) in Eastern Europe and CIS countries, and including Japanese whisky (other whiskies of Japanese origin).