Mannen was established 100 years ago. 2014 was the 100th anniversary of our company. We endeavour daily to create a family business dating back four generations.

Atmospheric distillation all the way.
Here's to the next unchanging
100 years of Mannen.

Sugaichi Watanabe, the founder of this distillery, was born in Ikata Village (now Ikata Town) in Ehime Prefecture in 1878. When he was young, he went to the US and succeeded in the forestry business. After returning to Japan, he settled in Tano Village in Miyazaki Prefecture which was prosperous in the forestry business. At that time, he found a shochu distillery for sale, purchased it and founded the company. However, five years later in 1919, there was a large fire and the whole distillery burnt down.  Fortunately, he was able to revive the distillery with the help of his neighbours.

At present, elder brother Koichiro Watanabe(4th generation) and younger brother Junya Watanabe
are managing a distillery.

(from left to right : Junya Watanabe,Mariko Watanabe,Tomomi Watanabe,Koichiro Watanabe)

History

Date Event
Around
1910
The founder, Sugaichi Watanabe, left Ikata Village in Ehime Prefecture for the US in order to acquire skills in the forestry business.
1914 Sugaichi returned from the US and settled in Tano Village in Miyazaki Prefecture which was prospering in the forestry business. He purchased a shochu distillery that was for sale and set up Watanabe Distilling.
1919 The distillery burned down due to a fire next door. Sugaichi was discouraged but he was able to revive the distillery with the help of his neighbours.
1928 Sugaichi, who lost his only son young, adopted Keiko, the eldest daughter of his nephew, Tsurukichi Watanabe.
1946 Kazuo Watanabe (formerly Sakamoto), who was named as the successor of the distillery before he left for the war, officially became the second generation to run the distillery.
1975 The company name was changed to Watanabe Distillery Ltd. when it was incorporated.
1982 Kazuo's eldest son, Tomomi Watanabe, became the chief distiller and won the honour prize at the Revenue Office Sake Awards. To commemorate this, the prize-winning undiluted shochu was stored long term. It was sold 33 years later in 2014 as 100th Anniversary Daikoshu.
1996 Kazuo retired his post as president and Tomomi Watanabe became the third generation president.
2001 Tomomi's eldest son, Koichiro Watanabe, returned to the village to take over the distillery. Distillation by the three generations began.
2003 The first brand that Koichiro worked on after coming back to the village, Unfiltered Asahi Mannen, went on sale.
2011 Koichiro's younger brother, Junya Watanabe, joined the distillery and distillation by the siblings began.
2014 Tomomi retired from the post of president in April and Koichiro became the 4th generation president. A commemorative party was held to celebrate the new president and the 100th anniversary of Watanabe Distillery.
100th Anniversary Daikoshu went on sale in October.

Message from the President

Using raw ingredients from Miyazaki Prefecture such as our own home-grown sweet potatoes from the town of Tano where our family has lived for generations and from Ehime Prefecture where our founder, Sugaichi and his son, Kazuo were born, Watanabe Distillery brews shochu with farm produce from its two birthplaces.

We hope that this shochu, which it is only possible for us to produce here in this location, will be enjoyed by as many people as possible. However, rather than producing universally popular shochu, we would prefer to produce shochu that only 1 person out of 10,000 really believes is good. Ordinary things are done in an ordinary manner and we encourage a family business that progresses step by step along with the family and the workers.

Around 100 years ago, the founder, Sugaichi, had a dream. He crossed the Pacific to the US to learn the knowledge and skills that he required to return Japan and set up in business. And currently, we are carrying on the dreams of the founder having renewed our enthusiasm and it is our turn to cross the ocean in order to communicate the Japanese distillation culture for honkaku shochu.

Koichiro Watanabe
the 4th generation CEO and President

Being surrounded by nature, Mannen is distilled in
the Town of Tano, which is part of the City of Miyazaki on
the Southern part of Kyushu Island.

Our hometown, the Town of Tano in Miyazaki City, spreads out at the foot of Wanitsuka Mountain,
the highest peak of the Wanitsuka Mountain range which soars above Miyazaki City,
Nichinan City and Mimata-cho in Kitamorokata County.

The Town of Tano, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture is a mainly agricultural country town with fields and rice paddies. The symbol of our hometown, Tano, is Wanitsuka Mountain which towers over the south of the town stretching out over Miyazaki City, Nichinan City and Mimata-cho in Kitamorokata County. Asahi Mannen is distilled in the warm climate and natural features enveloped in a natural environment full of greenery typical of southern Kyushu.

The Town of Tano is Japan's No.1 dried daikon radish producer due to the cold Wanitsuka Oroshi winds that blow off Wanitsuka Mountain.

The symbol of the Town of Tano, which is a mainly agricultural town, is dried daikon radish. Production volume is the highest in Japan. In winter when the cold Wanitsuka Oroshi winds blows down over the plain, the daikon radish towers built all over the town are famous as a reminder of this particular season.

Access: approximately 20 minutes
by car from Miyazaki Airport.

By air
Tokyo (Haneda) 1 hour 45 minutes Miyazaki
Osaka (Itami) 1 hour 10 minutes Miyazaki
Fukuoka 40 minutes Miyazaki
JR   Nippo Main Line  
Miyazaki 23 minutes Tano
By car Public highways + Miyazaki Expressway
Miyazaki Airport 20 minutes Tano

The Town of Tano, where Watanabe Distillery is located, is close to the centre of Miyazaki City. It is possible to access the Town of Tano from Miyazaki Station or Miyazaki Airport by expressway or JR train in around 20 minutes. Please feel free to drop by when you visit Miyazaki Prefecture.