How It All Began | Suntory      

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How It All Began

"Yatte Minahare" was the favorite saying of our founder, Shinjiro Torii. It means dream big, take challenges, and never give up. This spirit of bold ambition is the base of everything we do here at Suntory. This phrase drives us to turn those dreams into reality.

Suntory's story starts in 1899. From the beginning, our founder Shinjiro was full of ambition and daring. He pushed boundaries even with his very first store in Osaka, which he started with the vision to bring Western-style wines and liquors to Japan. Shinjiro's idea was brave. However, despite his hard work, the wines did not sell well. This is because Japanese consumers were not used to the flavors of Western wine. But Shinjiro did not give up.

He continued towards his vision, developing original wine for many years. His goal was to create a Western-style liquor that would suit Japanese tastes. It took almost 10 years to develop and create Akadama Port Wine in 1907. Akadama Port Wine was a sweet wine that appealed to Japanese customers, and it eventually became one of the most popular wines in Japan. But Shinjiro's story did not end there.

In 1923, Shinjiro started a whisky business with the vision of creating an authentic Japanese whisky to suit Japanese tastes. Many people thought this was impossible. But Shinjiro was different. He was driven by passion, determination, and daring.

In 1929, Shinjiro released Suntory Shirofuda (White Label). This first authentic Japanese whisky had a smoky flavor that did not suit Japanese palates, and it did not go well. After many challenges, he finally launched Suntory Whisky Kakubin, with its iconic square bottle, in 1937. This whisky quickly became very popular, and got Suntory recognition as the pioneer of Japanese Whisky.

"Yatte Minahare" is the saying that embodies Shinjiro's pioneering spirit and bold pursuits of dreams. These words, and his spirit, continue to drive us forward today.