Learn about the Shizuoka Distillery

New Kids on the block
March 24, 2023 by

Gaia Flow's Acquisition of Karuizawa Distilling Equipment Brings New Hope to Whisky Fans

Japan is no stranger to producing exceptional whisky, with some of the most renowned brands hailing from the country. However, in recent years, there has been an influx of craft distilleries making waves in the industry. Among them is the Shizuoka Distillery, which stands out for its unique approach to whisky making. With one of their pot stills acquired from the legendary Karuizawa Distillery and a direct-fired still heated with firewood, they're already making a name for themselves. But that's not all, as they also have the distinction of using cedar washbacks, making them one of a kind in the world of whisky. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what makes the Shizuoka Distillery so special and why they're one to watch in the Japanese whisky scene. The future of malt whisky may very well lie in the hands of Shizuoka and their groundbreaking concepts.

They were able to employ one of the ex-Karuizawa pot stills as a wash still, and their other wash still is a direct-fired still heated with firewood. Direct-fired stills are a traditional method of heating the pot during the distillation process, but the choice of fuel can vary widely. While most direct-fired stills today use gas as the source of heat, some distilleries like Nikka's Yoichi Distillery in Japan use coal. The Shizuoka Distillery, however, has taken a different approach by using wood sourced from the local area as their fuel of choice. This not only adds a unique flavor to their spirits, but it also supports the local forestry industry. All the wood used in the process comes from trees grown in Shizuoka prefecture, making it a truly local product. 

With one of their pot stills acquired from the legendary Karuizawa Distillery and a direct-fired still heated with firewood, they're already making a name for themselves.

Pot stills in the Karuizawa Distillery before being dismantled in 2011.

Karuizawa 2.0?

Whisky lovers around the world were eagerly anticipating the opening of a new distillery in Shizuoka, Japan, after Gaia Flow purchased the distilling equipment from the legendary Karuizawa distillery. Karuizawa, which was established in 1955, produced some of the world's rarest and most sought-after whiskies before it closed its doors in 2011. The dismantling of the Karuizawa distillery was a sad moment for many fans of Japanese whisky, but the acquisition of the equipment by Gaia Flow has brought new hope for the future of the industry.

The Karuizawa stills are some of the most valuable pieces of equipment in the world of whisky, and their acquisition by Gaia Flow is a testament to the company's commitment to producing high-quality spirits. The stills were purchased in their original state, with only one of the three stills being suitable for use. However, the other two stills will be displayed at the new distillery as a tribute to Karuizawa and its legacy.

The news of the acquisition had generated a lot of excitement among whisky fans, who are hoping that Gaia Flow's use of the Karuizawa equipment will result in a product that rivals the highly sought-after Karuizawa whisky. The Karuizawa distillery was known for producing whiskies with a unique flavor profile that was distinct from other Japanese whiskies. If Gaia Flow can produce whisky that is even close to the quality of Karuizawa, it will undoubtedly be a major player in the industry.

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