Beer first, then hard liquor.
We had the free tour.
No beer seemed to be in production while we were there but we got to see all the machinery and watch a video presentation about it. I was surprised to see they get their hops from the Czech Republic. The whole place smelt lovely and hoppy too.
At the end of the tour you can sample the goods! A free premium malts and malts drink, including some complimentary beer snacks. Apparently we could have three drinks, but before we finished our second they were tidying up trying to usher us out! While we were drinking the tour guide gave a sales pitch for beer gift boxes, but it was easy enough to ignore.
We jumped on the free Suntory bus back to the station and headed towards Yamazaki.
We booked the paid tour here, ¥1000.
After the tour was the main event – the tasting session! We were talked through how to make the perfect highball (whiskey ice and tonic).
And tasted three of their other whiskeys. Of course the most expensive one tasted the best! We even had a snack selection and were told when to have each snack with each whiskey. The chocolate orange went pretty well with the strong whiskey, I was surprised!
We had some leaflets on the whiskey tour and space where we could make tasting notes.
Before we left we were gifted with Tory’s tshirts! Yay.
I enjoyed both visits, the premium malts was fun for the free beer and the whiskey one was a bit more interesting and we had the whiskey lesson at the end. I’d do both again for sure!
The tours are only given in Japanese, but we were able to get an English audio guide for the Yamazaki tour. All tours need to be booked in advance over the phone.