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Production wise, Suntory's Hakushu distillery (pronounced "Hack-shoo") is the largest malt whisky distillery not only in Japan, but in the world. Built in 1973 coinciding withe Suntory's 50th anniversary, it's set amidst spectacular pine forests close to the Japanese Alps. Suntory also purchased the distillery surrounds to protect water quality and conserve the local environment. In fact, water from the district is considered the best in Japan, something Suntory have capitalised on by bottling and selling it throughout the country.

At the 2010 World Whisky Awards, whiskies from Japan won prizes in two of the top three categories for Scottish-style whisky. No one was surprised.
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