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Diageo Buys Into Kanosuke Distillery

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Global Spirits giant Diageo has acquired a minority stake in Japanese whisky producer Komasa Kanosuke Distillery for an undisclosed sum.

Komasa Kanosuke Distillery – based in Kagoshima, Japan – was founded in 2017 by Komasa Jyozo Co, which produced shōchū for 138 years before branching off with a new company, Komasa Kanosuke Distillery Co, with Diageo taking a minority stake in their first-ever investment in a Japanese whisky maker.

Technically, Diageo made the investment via their venture capital arm, Distill Ventures, which was established in 2013 and is owned solely by Diageo.

While Komasa Jyozo Co will retain majority ownership of the Kanosuke Distillery and will manage production, marketing and sales, the deal includes the option to move to a joint venture with Diageo, depending on the future performance of the distillery.

The Komasa family are pioneers in barrel-ageing shōchūs and have used this knowledge of maturation for the production of Kanosuke Distillery’s whiskies.

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