Akuto-san filling casks at Chichibu.
Akuto-san filling casks at Chichibu.

Ichiro Akuto was born in Saitama on the outskirts of Tokyo in 1965 into a family that has been making sake since 1625.

After studying at Tokyo University of Agriculture, where he majored in Fermentation Science, Ichiro started working for Suntory in 1988.

In 1995 he joined the family sake business, also producing whisky, which his father ran in Hanyu. However, as a result of the economy, the business ran into difficulties and was eventually sold in 2000 with Hanyu distillery being destroyed in 2004.

Akuto-san established Venture Whisky in September 2004, and launched Ichiro’s Malt whisky, bottling the remaining casks of Hanyu, most notably with the pioneering Card Series range of single casks releases.

With the distilling and production experience gained at BenRiach and Karuizawa distilleries, Ichiro built Chichibu distillery in November 2007; the first spirit flowed from the stills in March 2008.

Ichiro and his whiskies have won many accolades, including World Whiskies Awards and Whisky Advocate Awards.

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