Regardless of where this golden drink of the heavens originated, it has spread to all points of the globe. From Australia to Sweden, Turkey to Thailand, throughout Europe, Asia and North America, distilled grain and cereal mixtures have had an impact on the world.
The largest producer outside of the British Isles and the United States is Canada. The eleven distilleries of Canadian whiskey have produced blends that are popular worldwide. Many Canadian distilleries have direct connections with, or are owned by, Scottish distillers who recognized the potential in the New World.
One major distinction of Canadian distilleries is that often, whiskey is not their only product. Rum, vodka and other distilled spirits can be found among the list of quality products at a number of these Canadian locations. From Nova Scotia to British Columbia, however, the love of the Canadian Blended Whiskey has continued to grow and, in fact, has made this beverage one of the most popular imports around the world.
Whiskey in Japan
Surprisingly, Japan and other Asian countries have also developed a strong desire for whiskeys. In fact, Japan is the largest producer in the world outside of North America and the UK. Here, too, the connection to the Celtic distilling process can be found. The “father of Japanese whiskey, ” Masataka Taketuru, was actually the first Japanese to study the art of whiskey making at the University of Glasgow from 1918 to 1920. Masataka”s talent did not occur by chance. His family had owned a sake brewery that had been producing quality rice wine since 1733. Not only was his experience in the Highlands a profound awakening for Masataka, but his choice of location for his distillery, in Yoichi, Hokkaido, mirrored in geography the Scottish town in which he had lived.
Masataka was later hired by Shinjiro Torrii to setup a whiskey company (now known as Suntory). At the time, few Japanese people drank whiskey at the time, but Torrii sought to create a whiskey that would reflect the customs and traditions of the Japanese. The most important factor was that the whiskey would not interfere with the flavor of Japanese cuisine. Torrii eventually succeeded, and his whiskey is now the most popular whiskey in Japan.
While Scotch whiskey is ideal when drunk alone, Japanese whiskey is ideal as a complement to food. Surprisingly enough, the world”s largest whiskey distillery is not in Scotland or Ireland, but in Japan.
Worldwide Whiskey Wagon
While the top whiskeys in the world are Scottish, Irish, American and Canadian, other countries are hopping on the Whiskey Wagon. These include Australia, Chile, England, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and even the unlikely locales of India and Pakistan.