Suntory Holdings Limited
Kabushiki gaisha
Industry Beverage
Founded Osaka, Japan
1899 (1899)
Founder Torii Shinjiro
Headquarters Osaka, Japan
Key people
Nobutada Saji
Subsidiaries Beam, Inc.

Suntory Holdings Limited (サントリーホールディングス株式会社 Santorī Hōrudingusu Kabushiki-Gaisha) is a Japanese brewing and distilling company group. Established in 1899, it is one of the oldest companies in the distribution of alcoholic beverages in Japan, and makes Japanese whisky. Its business has expanded to other fields, and the company now also makes soft drinks and operates sandwich chains. With its 2014 acquisition of Beam, Inc., it has diversified internationally and become one of the largest makers of distilled beverages in the world. Suntory is headquartered in Dojimahama 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture.


Suntory headquarters, Osaka, Japan

Suntory was started by Torii Shinjiro, who first opened his store Torii Shoten in Osaka on February 1, 1899, to sell imported wines. In 1907, the store began selling a sweet tasting red wine called Akadama Port Wine. The store became the Kotobukiya company in 1921 to further expand its business and in 1923, Torii Shinjiro built Japan's first malt whisky distillery Yamazaki Distillery. Production began in December 1924 and five years later Suntory Whisky Shirofuda (White Label), the first single malt whisky made in Japan, was sold.

Due to shortages during World War II, Kotobukiya was forced to halt its development of new products, but in 1946 it re-released Torys Whisky, which sold well in post-war Japan. In 1961, Kotobukiya launched the "Drink Torys and Go to Hawaii" campaign. At the time, a trip abroad was considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In 1963, Kotobukiya changed its name to "Suntory", taken from the name of the whisky it produces. In the same year, Musashino Beer Factory began its production of the Suntory Beer. In 1997, the company became Japan's sole bottler, distributor, and licensee of Pepsi products.

On April 1, 2009, Suntory became a stockholding company named Suntory Holdings Limited (サントリーホールディングス株式会社) and established Suntory Beverage and Food Limited (サントリー食品株式会社), Suntory Products Limited (サントリープロダクツ株式会社), Suntory Wellness Limited (サントリーウェルネス株式会社), Suntory Liquors Limited (サントリー酒類株式会社), Suntory Beer & Spirits Limited (サントリービア&スピリッツ株式会社), Suntory Wine International Limited (サントリーワインインターナショナル株式会社), and Suntory Business Expert Limited (サントリービジネスエキスパート株式会社).[1]

On July 14, 2009, Kirin announced that it was negotiating with Suntory on a merger.[2] On February 8, 2010, it was announced that negotiations between the two were terminated.[3]

In 2009 they acquired Orangina, the orange soft drink for 300 billion yen, and Frucor energy drinks for 600 million euros.[4] On 2 July 2013 the company debuted on the Tokyo stock exchange and raised almost US$4 billion in the process.[5]

In January 2014, Suntory announced an agreement to buy the largest U.S. bourbon producer, Beam Inc. for US$16 billion.[6] This deal would make Suntory the world's third largest spirits maker.[7] The acquisition was completed on April 30, 2014, when it was also announced that Beam would be renamed as Beam Suntory.[8][9]

Also in January 2014, Suntory purchased the drinks division of British GlaxoSmithKline. This included the brands Lucozade and Ribena, however, the deal did not include Horlicks.[10]


Suntory Malt's beer

Joint ventures

A Suntory "Kaku-bin" Whisky bottle and glass display at a Yamaya Liquor store in Iizaka, Japan

From the early 1990s, Suntory has collaborated extensively with Melbourne biotechnology firm Florigene to genetically engineer the world's first true blue rose, a symbol often associated with the impossible or unattainable. In 1991, the team won the intense global race to isolate the gene responsible for blue flowers, and has since developed a range of genetically modified flowers expressing colors in the blue spectrum, as well as a number of other breakthroughs extending the vase life of cut flowers.

In 2003, Suntory acquired a 98.5% equity holding in Florigene. Prior to this, Florigene had been a subsidiary of global agrochemicals giant Nufarm Limited since 1999. In July 2004, Suntory and Florigene scientists announced to the world the development of the first roses containing blue pigment, an important step toward the creation of a truly blue colored rose.

In July 2011, Suntory Beverage and Food Limited together with PT GarudaFood from MNC Group in Indonesia have agreed to make a new firm to produce non-alcoholic drink with 51 percent and 49 percent shares respectively. It will produce Suntory Ooolong Tea, Boss and Orangina.[12]

Media and advertising

Advertising poster of "AKADAMA Port Wine”, the first nude advertising poster in Japan. Published in 1922 (Taisho 11). Directed by Toshiro Kataoka featuring Emiko Matsushima


Malt's beer served at Suntory's Kyoto brewery, Kyoto

Alcoholic drinks

Soft drinks

Food for specified health uses

The following drinks were approved as Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU).[13][14][15]

See also


  1. Suntory News Release on January 19, 2009 (Global website), (Japan website) - Suntory Limited
  2. キリン:サントリーと経営統合へ交渉 - 毎日jp(毎日新聞) Mainichi Shimbun (Retrieved on July 13, 2009)
  3. Termination of Merger Negotiation with Kirin Suntory News Release (Retrieved on February 8, 2010)
  4. "Suntory buys Frucor from Groupe Danone October 2008". Danone. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 16 January 2009.
  5. Suntory IPO
  6. Suntory News Release on January 13th, 2014 (Global website)
  7. MARTINNE GELLER AND OLIVIA ORAN (14 January 2014). "Japan's Suntory to buy U.S. spirits maker Beam for $13.6 billion cash". Reuters.
  8. Beam Suntory, Suntory press release, April 30, 2014.
  9. Suntory Still has M&A Thirst, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2014.
  10. Angela Monaghan "Ribena and Lucozade sold to Japanese drinks giant", The Guardian, 9 September 2013
  11. "Japan's Suntory snaps up Orangina". BBC News. BBC. 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
  12. "GarudaFood, Suntory form joint venture". The Jakarta Post. 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2012-10-14.
  13. "Food for Specified Health Uses (FOSHU)", Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (Retrieved on May 1, 2010)
  14. "Beverages, Health Beverages", Suntory (Retrieved on May 1, 2010)
  15. "Soft drink product information" (Japanese), Suntory (Retrieved on May 1, 2010)
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