Built with the hospitality community in mind, the DOJO programme will immerse bartenders in the art of Japanese bartending through culturally immersive and educational sessions
London, 5th May 2022 – The House of Suntory has announced the return of its highly successful advocacy programme for the third year running, set to educate bartenders on their premium portfolio of Japanese premium sprits: Roku gin, Haku vodka and Toki and Hibiki whiskies. Kicking off in June 2022, the DOJO programme aims to deepen bartenders’ understanding of the philosophies behind the art of Japanese bartending.
The DOJO Academy and DOJO Senpai together form the full programme for DOJO this year. The DOJO Academy will provide 50 bartenders with insights from Japanese Craft Masters which can be applied to strengthen any hospitality career. Authentic Japanese Masters of Craft will host four modules over two “Monozukuri Masterclasses” in July and September, led by James Bowker, House of Suntory’s Brand Ambassador, which will immerse bartenders the craftsmanship, techniques and culture of bartending in Japan.
James and the Masters will also offer 25 bartenders a unique opportunity to take part in the DOJO Senpai program. This separate, elevated program provides bartenders with growth and development opportunities across a six-month period. A Senpai welcome lunch will be held in May 2022 to introduce the program and the House of Suntory spirits portfolio before a series of “Monozukuri Masterclasse”s which will run from June until September.
Each masterclass will take place at Japan House in London and the bespoke Japanese inspired sessions will be centred around the three pillars of House of Suntory: WA (being in harmony with Japanese nature), Monozukuri (traditional Japanese principles of craftsmanship) and Omotenashi (authentic Japanese hospitality). The “Monozukuri Masterclasses” will focus on:
Additionally, inspired by the concept of Kaizen – “continual improvement” – participants will apply this concept via Kaizen Challenges over the duration of the summer. This will involve participants showcasing their newfound skills and applying them to a classic cocktail, selected prior to the first masterclass.
As part of this challenge, those who demonstrate the art of refinement and continuous improvement during the masterclasses will be invited to the DOJO Finale, taking place in November. The finale will bring together finalists from the DOJO Academy and DOJO Senpai programmes to take part in one last competition, hosted by James Bowker and famed Bar Master Hidetsugu Ueno of Bar High Five in Tokyo. At the end of the Masterclass, the group will present their Kaizen Classic to Hidetsugu Ueno, James Bowker and peers, with two lucky bartenders winning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan.
Throughout the year there will also be several Japanese inspired DOJO mini events held in different London locations, including Japanese tea tasting and a Kanpai sake brewery tour.
Commenting on the return of DOJO for the third year running, James Bowker, Brand Ambassador for the House of Suntory, said: “We’re extremely delighted to bring back DOJO for a third year, and this time, we’re back in person after two years of virtual sessions. Japanese food and drink remain the UK’s fastest growing sector in hospitality (CGA Report 2021) and following a challenging period in our industry, the programme aims to motivate bartenders through incomparable experiences and authentic Japanese bar training.
Those taking part will develop new ways to bring creativity to the art of Japanese bartending and gain unique insights into creating better guest experiences. I am really looking forward to welcoming the future DOJO ambassadors to our close-knit, yet growing community.”
For more information on DOJO, please visit www.suntorydojo.com
Among Best in Category Trophy, Hibiki® 21 Wins Double Gold, Yamazaki® and Hakushu® Score Several Gold Awards in Prestigious Global Tasting Event
London, 14 July 2021: – The House of Suntory, the founding house and pioneer of Japanese Whisky, received its latest wave of industry accolades from this year’s 2021 International Spirits Challenge across its core portfolio of premium whiskies, including a category win for Japanese Whisky Distiller of the Year, and a Double Gold win for Hibiki® 21 – one of only 11 Double Golds awarded in the entire competition.
Other Gold wins for the House of Suntory went to Hibiki, Yamazaki® and Hakushu® expressions. The House of Suntory received 21 medals in total across the brands, including 13 Gold medals. Held in London in June, the International Spirits Challenge recognises outstanding quality, excellence and achievement in spirits around the world.
“We are honored to continue receiving this level of outstanding recognition year over year by one of the most prestigious industry competitions in the world,” says Jon Potter, Managing Director for the House of Suntory at Beam Suntory. “These awards are a testament to our company’s commitment to quality, precision and excellence. We congratulate our Chief Blender, Shinji Fukuyo, and his diligent team across our distilleries who exhibit the highest level of skill and passion for their craft. This hard-working group commit themselves daily to producing nothing but the best spirits.”
The full list of House of Suntory competition results:
Hibiki 21 Year Old
Hibiki Blender’s Choice
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
Hibiki Japanese Harmony Master’s Select
Hibiki 30 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 12 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 18 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt 25 Year Old
Yamazaki Single Malt Mizunara 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Single Malt Spanish Oak 2020 Edition
Yamazaki Single Malt Bordeaux Wine Cask 2020 Edition
Hakushu Single Malt 12 Year Old
Hakushu Single Malt 18 Year Old
Hakushu Single Malt 25 Year Old
Suntory Whisky Chita
Suntory World Whisky AO
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky
The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt 2021 Edition
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Puncheon 2020 Edition
The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky Peated Malt 2020 Edition
ABOUT THE HOUSE OF SUNTORY
Since 1923, Suntory has been renowned as the pioneer of Japanese whisky for its House of Master Blenders and for their Art of Blending. The founding father of Japanese whisky Shinjiro Torii, built Japan’s first malt whisky distillery in Yamazaki, and the Suntory legacy continued with Torii’s son, Keizo Saji, Suntory’s second master blender who continued to establish distilleries including the Hakushu distillery. As the generations of Suntory’s master blenders carry on, Suntory Whisky remains committed to heritage and innovation. The House of Suntory Whisky has been named four-time Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Challenge in London, UK (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014).
whisky.suntory.com @suntorywhisky #suntorywhisky
London, 2nd July 2021 – House of Suntory has announced the return of its advocacy programme which will educate bartenders on their premium portfolio of craft spirits: Roku Gin, Haku Vodka, Toki Whisky, and Hibiki Whisky.
DOJO, which translates as ‘a place to master the way’, is a first-of-its kind program that seeks to engage with bartenders to not only improve their skillset, but deepen their understanding of the philosophy and customs that embody The House of Suntory’s roots in Japanese craftsmanship.
Led by House of Suntory’s Brand Ambassador, James Bowker, the DOJO programme will be supported by traditional Japanese Craft Masters. Together they will provide best-in-class education in Japanese culture, craft and bartending, centring on the three key pillars of House of Suntory: Hibiki, Omotenashi and Monozukuri.
Between June and September, the Japanese Craft Masters will each present an online masterclass with James Bowker:
In addition to this and in the spirit of traditional DOJO training, participants will also be able to take part in Kaizen Challenges, inspired by the idea of Kaizen – continual refinement – wherein participants will demonstrate their newfound skills and apply them to a classic cocktail. The participants who display the most commitment and personal development will be invited to a grand finale where House of Suntory will select the strongest DOJO apprentices to join them for a one-of-a-kind trip to Japan.
Commenting on the re-launch, James Bowker, UK Brand Ambassador for the House of Suntory said: “We are extremely proud to bring back DOJO for a second year. The programme is a great opportunity to engage with bartenders across the country and share with them the three pillars behind the House of Suntory brand that makes it so unique. Educating bartenders on Japanese culture has always been a passion of mine and I cannot wait to welcome the next cohort of Dojo ambassadors.”
For more information on DOJO, please visit www.suntorydojo.com
With the Help of Bonhams, Malt Marketing Looks into the Subject of Rare Whisky
Bonhams Whisky Dept
What do tasters look for in a particularly exceptionally collectable batch of whisky?
As with most products, reputation, scarcity and exclusivity are very important. Ultimately a point of difference from the expressions that are more readily available all year round, perhaps a unique maturation story or a limited production run.
Do whisky collectors tend to be investors with excellent wine cellars already or is it a different type of investor entirely?
There’s bound to be some overlap. The appeal of investing in a bottle of something highly revered, limited and of the highest quality applies to both categories. It is worth remembering that collecting whisky is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first stand alone whisky auctions, for example, were held in the late 1980s. Until then, whisky was routinely lumped in with other spirits and often included in wine sales. Since then, interest has soared. The highest priced bottle in the first ever dedicated whisky auction held in Glasgow in 1989, for example, was £3,300 for an unusual blended scotch. Earlier this year, a bottle of Glendiffich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve was sold in New York for $94.000.
What tips do you have for first time whisky collectors looking to start a portfolio?
This depends to some extent on your motivation. If it’s to drink, then buy what you like drinking and gradually refine your palette as you become more experienced. If it’s to collect, the usual advice is to buy the best you can afford but, of course, some collectors will be buying to plug gaps in their collections.
If it’s an investment, do your homework as you would with any purchase. Start with the main range, available in any good whisky specialist. Then progress on to a Distillery exclusive bottling – this is a great place to start as by their very nature they are limited. These are available at a range of price points to suit any budget.
And, of course, exercise the normal precautions. Forgeries, for example, are not common but if you are in any doubt consult the relevant distillery. They are usually happy to provide information to anyone who asks.
How should a collector store their whisky safely?
Whisky should be stored out of direct heat or sunlight, so as not to undergo evaporation. Corked bottles should be storedupright, avoiding contact between the cork and the spirit inside..
How long should collectors hold onto their rare whisky before they could sell and see a return on their investment?
This is a difficult question to answer because it totally depends on the bottle in question. As with anything bought specifically as an investment, it is sensible for the investor to keep a close eye on the performance of his or her portfolio. There are now many magazines and blogs devoted to whisky and whisky collecting which offer statistics and advice. Whisky auctions provide another source of information. By studying the movement of prices over a period, and talking to the specialists collectors can gain some idea of how their portfolio may perform if brought to market. It’s worth adding that auction houses are usually careful to stick to the facts and not to make specific investment recommendations – that has to be for the judgement of the collector.
With international brands now able to command impressive premiums, is the home of whisky still Scotland?
Absolutely! Japanese, Irish, American, Canadian whiskies are great but whisky is synonymous with Scotland and Scotland with whisky! The romance and history of whisky is entirely bound up with Scotland (it’s called Scotch – sometimes – for a reason) and it’s difficult to see how that will ever lose its appeal.
Do you see whisky collecting as becoming a rival to wine?
(There really isn’t much more to say here that isn’t said above – it’s too similar a question)
What has made whisky so collectable in recent times?
A whole variety of reasons. A greater appreciation and understanding of how much love, time and craft goes into creating this wonderful spirit. A broadening of its appeal – consumers are increasing willing to try new spirits – particularly spirits with genuine heritage and provenance and most importantly a robust and complex taste. It is also, of course, the case that some buyers, especially at the high end of the market, see whisky as an investment rather than as something to drink and the seemingly inexorable rise in prices is fuelling demand among this group.
What is the future of the whisky investment market?
Cast iron predictions are never sensible in any walk of life but over the past 10 years the upward trajectory has remained remarkably smooth with new markets opening especially in the Far East. Since the sale of The Folsom Collection in 2010, for example, prices in Hong Kong have continued to rise with collectable single malts in particular of greater demand. In Edinburgh and New York, prices have been driven up by competition from buyers located in the Far East and USA in addition to the continued interest from European buyers. The fact that Bonhams and other auction houses are registering 90% sold across the range of prices suggest continued demand – but nothing in life is certain and investing in whisky requires the same level of common sense as anything else.