The "smallest distiller in Japan" operating on a mountainous site about 100 km northwest of Tokyo has won recognition from whisky lovers at home and abroad.

Venture Whisky Ltd. was established only 11 years ago. But some of its products won high marks as Japanese whisky from a prestigious British publication, the Whisky Magazine, for several consecutive years since 2006, putting its brand "Ichiro's" in the ranks of big names like Suntory and Nikka.

"My plan is to release a 10-year-old malt whisky in 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympic Games," says Ichiro Akuto, founder of the distiller which now sells about 90,000 bottles of whisky worldwide on an advanced-order basis.