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Suntory Celebrates A Century Of Japanese Whisky With Keanu Reeves’ Help

The House of Suntory, a pioneer in Japanese whisky, recently announced it is celebrating its 100th anniversary marking a major milestone not only for Suntory, but for Japanese spirits.

A statement from Suntory noted that in honor of this centennial, a Suntory Anniversary Tribute film has debuted, brought to the whisky world by Academy Award-winning Director Sofia Coppola and starring Keanu Reeves.

The tribute film joins the exclusive 100th anniversary editions of its whiskies coming out this summer.

Suntory Keanu Reeves
The House of Suntory, a pioneer in Japanese whisky, recently announced it is celebrating its 100th anniversary, including through a special short film showcasing actor Keanu Reeves. (image via House of Suntory)

It’s been 20 years since Sofia Coppola filmed Lost in Translation, and she returned to Japan especially to create the Suntory Anniversary Tribute.

A description from the filmmaker notes that the Suntory Anniversary Tribute tells the story of the brand’s heritage and whisky-making legacy over the last 100 years, depicting the meaning of “Suntory Time” through the eyes of its creator.

Starring Keanu Reeves, a professed lover of Suntory Whisky who previously appeared in a Suntory Reserve ad campaign in 1992, the actor was at the film’s debut recently in New York during the Suntory Time 100th Anniversary Global Premiere.

You can watch the tribute film below:

“As the pioneer of Japanese whisky, the House of Suntory played a significant role in shaping culture and leading craftsmanship in Japan over the last century,” said Jon Potter, managing director of House of Suntory. “To mark this historic milestone, partnering with Sofia and Keanu, who are Suntory Whisky fans, makes perfect sense.”

And later this summer, the Suntory statement notes, Reeves will star in another project partnering with the House of Suntory … a series of documentary shorts from filmmaker Roman Coppola called The Nature and Spirit of Japan.

That series will explore Japanese whisky culture inspired by harmony with nature (Wa), elevated by Japanese craftsmanship (Monozukuri) and enjoyed as an authentic Japanese cultural experience (Omotenashi).

“I’m honored to partner with Suntory Whisky again 30 years after our Suntory Reserve campaign,” said Reeves, in the prepared statement. “I’m a huge fan of Suntory Whisky, so it’s very special to collaborate in honor of this milestone anniversary.”

He said his admiration for the whisky goes beyond tasting it. “It’s the elevated Japanese craftsmanship and attention to every detail that makes Suntory Whisky so special. As an actor honing and perfecting my own craft, sharing this process in a docuseries is a thrill.”

The story of the House of Suntory’s century began with the establishment of its Yamazaki Distillery in 1923, the first and oldest malt whisky distillery in Japan’s history.

And as a first step toward its next century, the House of Suntory will invest 10 billion JPY ($77 million USD) to enhance its Yamazaki and Hakushu Distilleries, which are currently closed for renovation and scheduled to reopen this fall.

For more information about the House of Suntory, check out www.house.suntory.com/japanese-whisky.

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Gary Carter

Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether that be a novel project, a start-up, an organization, a fresh-face to the journalistic world, or even something as simple as a short story. A native Texan and a Pacific Northwest convert, he is a whiskey enthusiast who cut his teeth on it ... literally!

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