For expensive times, make it Suntory time.

After decades of next to no inflation, Japan has been seeing rapid consumer price increases over the past two years. At the same time, regular cost-of-living wage increases have yet to become a standard practice among Japanese employers.

It’s enough to make one want a drink, but, unfortunately, even that’s going to be getting more expensive if your drink of choice is Suntory whisky. Suntory has announced that it will be raising prices for a total of 19 of its whiskies, split among five sub-brands. Of the currently announced increases, none are smaller than 20 percent, and in some cases the price of a bottle will more than double.

The company cites the increasing popularity of Japanese whisky, both abroad and within Japan, among the reasons for the increase, explaining that the long production process for whisky means that increasing supply to meet demand is not a simple process. To that end, Suntory says it’s undertaking enhancements to its Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries, to improve both the quantity and quality of the whisky they produce in an environmentally friendly way. Not explicitly mentioned, though almost certainly a factor, is the reduced value of the yen affecting the price of any imported ingredients used in the whisky-making process.

The largest of the spikes announced so far are for Suntory’s Hibiki 30, Single Malt Yamazaki 25, and Single Malt Hakushu 25, all of which will jump from 160,000 yen (US$1,070) to 360,000 yen (US$2,400) for a 700-mililiter (23.7-ounce) bottle, an increase of 125 percent in price. Yamazaki 12 and Hakushu 12 will increase from 10,000 to 15,000 yen (a 50-percent increase), and even the following budget-friendly bottles will become decidedly less so.

● Increasing from 5,500 yen to 7,500 yen (36-percent increase)
Hibiki Japanese Harmony
● Increasing from 4,500 yen to 7,000 yen (56-percent increase)
● Increasing from 5,000 yen to 6,000 yen (36-percent increase)
Suntory World Whisky Ao
● Increasing from 4,000 yen to 6,000 yen (50-percent increase)

The price increases are scheduled to take effect for bottles being shipped after April 1 of next year, so there’s still some time to grab them at their current prices, provided retailers aren’t already marking up their existing stock.

Source: Suntory via IT Media
Top image: Suntory
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