When he returned, Shijiro Torii, founder of Suntory, relied on Taketsuru’s knowledge to build the Yamazaki distillery in 1924. A few years later, Taketsuru took off and established his own company, Nikka, still recognized today for the quality of its malts. Japanese whisky became very popular after World War Two with the renewed prosperity. Most Japanese executives and managers of companies based on the US model started enjoying whisky as part of an after-work convention destined to foster the company’s team spirit.
Taketsuru was not the first to distil whisky, as White Oak offered older whiskies. Located in Akashi, on the coast of the interior sea of Seto, the White Oak distillery obtained its license to distil whisky and other spirits as early as 1919. The distillery is today owned by the Eigashima Company, one of the oldest sake producers in Japan, established in 1679. It became one of the most famous distiller of the traditional Japanese alcohol, and the first to bottle sake in 1899.