Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cask Adventures: A Visit to a Japanese Cooperage

Just a little over a month ago I had the opportunity to accompany another party and go behind the scenes at the Ariake Barrel cooperage in Miyazaki prefecture, Kyushu, to see first hand how artisan casks are traditionally made. Odawara-san, the grandson of the founder was kind enough to provide an up close and personal tour of the establishment that is situated 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Tachibanadori, Miyazaki city. Stay tuned for the full write up of this family-owned business and dying trade in the coming weeks.


  1. Hi Clint, information about cooperages in Japan is not easy to come by, so I look forward to your report. By the way: great pictures! Were these taken by yours truly?

  2. Hi Pierre, Yes, indeed, I took these pictures, hence the the WRU logo on each picture. I have a cache of at least 30 pictures, all equally good as the pictures posted above. And you are right..not a lot of information is circulating, well at least in English, about Japanese cooperages. Ariake Barrel is another establishment that isn't open to the public unfortunately. More on this later. Kind regards, Clint

  3. Hi Clint. It's Jason from Fukuoka here. On an aside, I know that many whisky producers here will recycle their casks into pens and other paraphernalia. Have you ever gotten any of them? They can be quite expensive, though some of my friends back home want me to get them.

    1. Great to hear from you Jason, hope you are well. There are a few good premium pens on the market made from defunct casks, most notable is the 'Pure Malt' pen made by the Mitsubishi Pencil Co. They are reasonably priced, certainly affordable, it depends on the ranking of pen. Take a look at this post I put up back in 2011:
      The pen I bought pictured in the post I believe was well under 2,000 yen at the time.
      Glad you bought up this topic - nothing like a good stave being turned into an equally good writing instrument. Kind regards, Clint.

  4. Clint, things are well, thanks. Looking forward to attending the Whisky Talks in June. Still planning on attending? Yeah, I saw the Pure Malt pens and they are a great gift - though I like to use slimmer pens. Thanks for the link! Looking forward to more photos and details of your trip!