The House of Suntory’s Century of Craftsmanship: Sofia Coppola Pays Tribute to Japanese Whisky Making


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In the dimly lit back room of a swanky Tokyo jazz club, the air is thick with nostalgia, much like the whisky that’s elegantly poured into crystal tumblers. It’s a scene that wouldn’t be out of place in the cult classic Lost in Translation, and yet, it’s not just a cinematic moment, but a real-life celebration. The House of Suntory, the founding house of Japanese whisky, is marking its centennial with a cinematic twist, and enlisting the talents of two iconic film figures, Sofia Coppola and Keanu Reeves, to create a masterpiece that pays homage to its rich heritage.


Two decades after she brought the neon-lit streets of Tokyo to life in Lost in Translation, Coppola found herself once again drawn to the Land of the Rising Sun. This time, however, her mission was not to capture the city’s enigmatic allure on film but to curate an artistic masterpiece, the Suntory Anniversary Tribute. With a deft touch and an eye for detail, Coppola donned the mantle of creative director to bring to life a tribute that transcends time and space, honouring Suntory’s illustrious past, vibrant present, and promising future. 

The Suntory Anniversary Tribute is a symphony of visuals and emotions, a sensory journey that delves deep into the heart of the House of Suntory. Through Coppola’s lens, we see the meticulous craftsmanship that goes into each bottle, the reverence for tradition, and the anticipation of what’s yet to come. It’s an evocative celebration that invites us to savour not just the whisky—but, also, the spirit of Suntory. 


And why Keanu? Well, aside from the fact that he’s one of today’s biggest stars, Keanu Reeves shares a deep-seated love for Suntory Whisky. His connection to the brand dates back to 1992 when he graced Suntory Reserve’s ad campaign. Reeves’ affiliation with the House of Suntory goes beyond celebrity endorsement; it’s a genuine appreciation for the craftsmanship and artistry that goes into every bottle. 


In Reeves, Suntory found not just a famous face, but a kindred spirit, as someone who understands the nuances of a well-crafted spirit. His presence in the Suntory Anniversary Tribute adds another layer of depth, reminding us that this celebration is not just about a brand, but a community of enthusiasts who appreciate the finer things in life. 

Photo courtesy of the House of Suntory

The Tribute isn’t just a celebration of a milestone; it tells the story of a brand that began with the establishment of the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923, a dream conceived by founder Shinjiro Torii. His vision was clear: to create original Japanese whisky that would resonate with the discerning Japanese palate. 


Torii, a true pioneer and the ‘Father of Japanese Whisky,’ was more than just a distiller; he was a visionary who dared to challenge conventions and pioneer change. His unyielding spirit, encapsulated in the Japanese ethos of “Yatte Minahare” or never giving up, continues to inspire the House of Suntory’s commitment to heritage and innovation. Today, generations of Suntory master blenders continue to carry the torch, upholding a tradition of subtle, refined, and complex spirits.  


In Canada, whisky aficionados can savour the portfolio that includes Yamazaki, Hibiki, Suntory Whisky Toki, and Ao. In addition, the House of Suntory portfolio also boasts Roku Japanese Gin and Haku Japanese Vodka. 

Photo courtesy of the House of Suntory
Photo courtesy of the House of Suntory

A Tribute to Craftsmanship 


As the House of Suntory marks a century of whisky innovation, it’s not just a milestone for the brand but for Japanese spirits culture as a whole. The Suntory Anniversary Tribute, the limited-edition whiskies, and the enduring legacy of craftsmanship all come together in a celebration that raises a glass to the lasting influence of Japanese whisky. 


And what’s a centennial celebration without a few special libations? To mark its monumental 100th anniversary, the House of Suntory is releasing limited-edition whiskies that pay homage to the Japanese craftsmanship and blending that defines its legacy. For Canadians, there’s a treat in store with the Yamazaki Mizunara 18 Year Old and Yamazaki 12 Year Old landing soon on local liquor shelves. These bottles come adorned with a unique 100th-anniversary label, a mark of distinction that showcases Suntory’s commitment to excellence. In regions across the globe, you’ll also find the Hakushu 18 Year Old Peated Malt and Hakushu 12 Year Old, each featuring a limited edition label that’s a testament to Suntory’s century-long journey. 

Photo courtesy of the House of Suntory

In the world of whisky, where time is an essential ingredient, the House of Suntory has perfected the art of aging, and in doing so, they’ve bottled a century of excellence, one sip at a time. Here’s to the next hundred years of the House of Suntory Whisky, where each drop tells a story, and every glass is a toast to the spirit of Yatte Minahare—never giving up and always pioneering change.