Ichiro’s Malt is an independent Japanese whisky bottling company. It was created by Ichiro Akuto, in a modest location in Chichibu, a town 100 km northwest of Tokyo, with only two small stills. Akuto’s education in whisky distillation came from the family business. His grandfather was originally a distiller and manager of a sake brewery, the Hanyu Distillery, founded in 1625, before he obtained a distiller's license to produce whisky in 1941. The father of Akuto continued the work his grandfather had started and his passion for whisky led him to purchase two stills from Scotland that could produce around 400 casks. In 2000, the economic decline in Japan and a decrease in sake consumption forced the family to sell their business. However, Ichiro Akuto turned this potential crisis into an opportunity and bought the stills and maturing whisky casks from the new owners of the brewery.
Today, Ichiro Akuto continues to implement the techniques learned over many years at the Hanyu Distillery and is one of the most ambitious Japanese distillers in business. Some 4,000 casks of Sherry, Wine and Bourbon are currently maturing, while he has started experiments to grow barley locally, in the hopes of producing a truly Japanese whisky.