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A Summer of Tons
Crates and crates of deliveries. MacGyvering a distillery into working order. A VIP party. Ready.
Hey, I’m Casey. Welcome to our newsletter, sharing the startup journey of Kamui Whisky K.K. We’ve been busy, but when we aren’t overwhelmed, we’ll share a story as we craft up a whisky distillery on a remote, volcanic island in the most northern part of Japan.
Dead cicada sightings become more frequent, their sound softens, less of a roar, summer is ending in Japan.
We’ve had a great one.
Our summer had a whole arc of emotions, from slapstick to celebratory to proud.
With lots of hard work, of on-the-spot problem-solving, the Rishiri Distillery is all setup. We are ready to distill. Once we get our license next week, the journey to craft sublime whisky in Rishiri begins; everything up until now has been preamble.
We had tons of shipments delivered.
The drama soon began. Our forklift got stuck.
Wonderful that we had a tour bus on hand, with a more than willing driver to help out. Knowing the right people in Rishiri is key 🥷.
It really is about who you know! 🤙🏻
We were lucky enough to be able to call in the big machinery at short notice because Javier spent an evening out drinking so late. Who knew that Javier not being able to get home that night, having to stay over at our drinking partner’s house, would come in handy so quickly.
Then, amazingly, we did it again. Stuck, on the other side of the distillery.
Funny now, but real frustration for the team. Time to put in some asphalt.
With construction complete and the stills in place, we hosted a VIP Pre-Opening party.
We were joined by our investors, pivotal people that have helped us get here, and several locals who were instrumental in helping us make it to this day.
No actual party pics to share as we had some high profile people in attendance that like to keep a low profile private life. You can see one of them, Japanese whisky royalty, side profile in this news article.
Farewell to our VIP Guests
In summer in Rishiri, if you get the timing right, and if you come by ferry (the recommended method) you might just encounter the special Rishiri sendoff.
Colored strings are held by those staying on the island with the other end by those leaving, right up until the last tie is severed.
A few of our VIP guests were lucky enough to experience the moment.
The Team’s Aligned
The team’s been busy, but making sure we are building the right culture, all heading in the same direction, trying to create this special Rishiri whisky is critical. Luckily we have beautiful views like this to have fresh-air team meetings.
Ready to Distill
After summer months of hardwork, a lot of sweat, and several moments where everyone stood back and said “How the hell are we going to fix this one?” we’ve got everything ready to go.
Magical Whisky is about to be Made
A few more sleeps and we’ll receive our whisky distilling license. It’s been a super long journey to get here. The team is tired, as there were so many problems and frustrations and delays, but filled with deep pride, and now a new excitement is bubbling. Very, very soon we will be distilling from this magical place.
We’ll be capturing the flavours and terroir of Rishiri. Great island whisky is about to be made.
Our team will be celebrating our license in Wakkanai on the evening of Sept 9th. If you’re in Wakkanai come share a toast with us.
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