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Suntory Holdings Limited
Native name
Santorī Hōrudingusu Kabushiki-gaisha
Company typePrivate
FoundedOsaka, Japan
1899; 125 years ago (1899)
FounderTorii Shinjiro
Key people
Saburo Kogo
Kazuhiro Saito
(President and CEO)
SubsidiariesBeam Suntory; Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd.

Suntory Holdings Limited (サントリーホールディングス株式会社, Santorī Hōrudingusu Kabushiki-gaisha) (commonly referred to as simply Suntory) is a Japanese multinational brewing and distilling company group. Established in 1899, it is one of the oldest companies in the distribution of alcoholic beverages in Japan, and makes Japanese whisky.

Its business has expanded to other fields, and the company now also makes soft drinks and operates sandwich chains. With its 2014 acquisition of Beam, Inc., it has diversified internationally and become the third largest maker of distilled beverages in the world. Suntory is headquartered in Dojimahama 2-chome, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. Suntory Beverage & Food Limited (サントリー食品インターナショナル株式会社, Santorī shokuhin intānashonaru Kabushiki-gaisha), a subsidiary of Suntory, is responsible for development outside Japan.[citation needed]


Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki, Japanese whiskeys from Suntory
Orange juice soft drink from Suntory

Suntory was started by Shinjirō Torii (鳥井 信治郎, Torii Shinjirō), who first opened his store Torii Shōten (鳥井商店) in Osaka on February 1, 1899, to sell imported wines. In 1907, the store began selling a fortified wine called Akadama Port Wine (Akadama literally meaning "red ball," a euphemism for the sun). The store became the Kotobukiya company in 1921 to further expand its business and in 1923, Torii built Japan's first malt whisky distillery Yamazaki Distillery. Production began in December 1924 and five years later Suntory Whisky Shirofuda (White Label), the first single malt whisky made in Japan, was sold.[citation needed]

Due to shortages during World War II, Kotobukiya was forced to halt its development of new products, but in 1946 it re-released Torys Whisky, which sold well in post-war Japan. In 1961, Kotobukiya launched the "Drink Torys and Go to Hawaii" campaign. At the time, a trip abroad was considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In 1963, Kotobukiya changed its name to "Suntory", taken from the name of the whisky it produces, which itself was derived from the English "Sun" (referencing "akadama") + Tory, the anglicized version of Torii's name. In the same year, Musashino Beer Factory began its production of the Suntory Beer. In 1997, the company became Japan's sole bottler, distributor, and licensee of Pepsi products.[citation needed]

On April 1, 2009, Suntory became a stockholding company named Suntory Holdings Limited (サントリーホールディングス株式会社) and established Suntory Beverage and Food Limited (サントリー食品株式会社), Suntory Products Limited (サントリープロダクツ株式会社), Suntory Wellness Limited (サントリーウェルネス株式会社), Suntory Liquors Limited (サントリー酒類株式会社), Suntory Beer & Spirits Limited (サントリービア&スピリッツ株式会社), Suntory Wine International Limited (サントリーワインインターナショナル株式会社), and Suntory Business Expert Limited (サントリービジネスエキスパート株式会社).[1]

On July 14, 2009, Kirin announced that it was negotiating with Suntory on a merger.[2] On February 8, 2010, it was announced that negotiations between the two were terminated.[3]

In 2009, Suntory acquired Orangina, the orange soft drink for 300 billion yen, and Frucor energy drinks for 600 million euros.[4] On July 2, 2013 the company debuted on the Tokyo stock exchange and raised almost US$4 billion in the process.[5]

In September 2013, Suntory purchased the drinks division of GlaxoSmithKline. This included the brands Lucozade and Ribena, however, the deal did not include Horlicks.[6]

In January 2014, Suntory announced an agreement to buy the largest U.S. bourbon producer, Beam Inc. (producers of Jim Beam) for US$16 billion.[7] This deal would make Suntory the world's third largest spirits maker.[8] The acquisition was completed in April 2014, when it was announced that the new subsidiary would be renamed Beam Suntory.[9][10]

In December 2015, Beam Suntory acquired the gin maker Sipsmith.[11]

In November 2017, Suntory and PepsiCo form a joint venture in Thailand.[12]

In 2018, Suntory sold most of Cerebos Pacific assets, including Australian and New Zealand food business to Kraft Heinz for A$290 million.[13][14] This transaction excludes Cerebos Pacific's health supplements and fresh coffee business which later integrated into Suntory Beverage & Food Asia Pte. Ltd. and Suntory Coffee Australia respectively.[13]

In March 2023, Makiko Ono become the first woman to be appointed CEO of Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd.[15]


Suntory Malt's beer

Joint ventures[edit]

A Suntory Kakubin ("angled bottle") Whisky bottle and glass display at a Yamaya Liquor store in Iizaka, Japan

From the early 1990s, Suntory has collaborated extensively with Melbourne biotechnology firm Florigene to genetically engineer the world's first true blue rose, a symbol often associated with the impossible or unattainable. In 1991, the team won the intense global race to isolate the gene responsible for blue flowers, and has since developed a range of genetically modified flowers expressing colors in the blue spectrum, as well as a number of other breakthroughs extending the vase life of cut flowers.

In 2003, Suntory acquired a 98.5% equity holding in Florigene. Prior to this, Florigene had been a subsidiary of global agrochemicals giant Nufarm since 1999. In July 2004, Suntory and Florigene scientists announced to the world the development of the first roses containing blue pigment, an important step toward the creation of a truly blue colored rose.

In July 2011, Suntory Beverage and Food Limited together with PT GarudaFood from Tudung Group in Indonesia have agreed to make a new firm to produce non-alcoholic drink with 51 percent and 49 percent shares respectively. It will produce Suntory Oolong Tea, Boss and Orangina.[17]

In April 2019, Suntory partnered with Drinkripples, an Israeli-based company. As part of the collaboration Suntory will use Drinkripples' Ripple Maker machines to print branded and viral content on top of Suntory beer in Suntory certified locations and factories throughout Japan.[18]


Suntory beverage brands include:[19]

Soft drinks: Bikkle, Boss Coffee, C.C. Lemon, Calcium and Iron Beverage, Gini, Green DAKARA, Iyemon, Lucozade, MayTea, Mizone, Nature’s Twist, Oasis, Okky, Iced Oolong Tea, Orangina, Ribena, Schweppes, TEA+, Tennensui, V, Pepsi Special

Malt's beer served at Suntory's Kyoto brewery, Kyoto

Beer: All-Free, Kin-Mugi, The Premium Malt's

Cognac: Courvoisier

Gin: Larios, Sipsmith, Roku

Liqueur: DeKuyper, Midori, Sourz

Rum: Cruzan

Tequila: El Tesoro de Don Felipe, Hornitos, Sauza, Tres Generaciones, 100 Años

Vodka: Effen, Haku, Pinnacle, Vox

Bourbon whiskey: Baker's, Basil Hayden's, Beam's Eight Star, Booker's, Jim Beam, Kessler, Knob Creek, Legent, Maker's Mark, Old Crow, Old Grand-Dad

Canadian whisky: Alberta Premium, Canadian Club

Irish whiskey: Connemara, Kilbeggan, The Tyrconnell

Japanese whisky: Chita, Hakushu, Hibiki, Kakubin, Toki, Yamazaki

Scotch whisky:

Single malt Scotch: Ardmore, Auchentoshan, Bowmore, Glen Garioch, Laphroaig

Blended Scotch whisky: Teacher's Highland Cream

Spanish whisky: DYC whisky

Wine: Akadama, Delica Maison, Château Lagrange Les Fiefs de Lagrange

Media and advertising[edit]

Advertising poster of "AKADAMA Port Wine", the first nude advertising poster in Japan. Published in 1922 (Taisho 11). Directed by Toshiro Kataoka featuring Emiko Matsushima
  • Suntory and its various products are featured in the Yakuza series of games.
  • Suntory was one of the first East Asian companies to specifically employ American celebrities to market their product.[citation needed] One of the most notable is Sammy Davis, Jr., who appeared in a series of Suntory commercials in the early 1970s. In the late 1970s, Akira Kurosawa directed a series of commercials featuring American celebrities on the set of his film Kagemusha. One of these featured Francis Ford Coppola (an executive producer of the film), which later inspired his daughter Sofia Coppola in her writing of Lost in Translation, a film which focuses on an American actor (played by Bill Murray) filming a Suntory commercial in Tokyo.
  • A Reuters photo by Toshiyuki Aizawa from July 2003 showed Suntory's marketing strategy of TV helmets. In this scheme, advertising company employees clad in orange jumpsuits wear television cameras that broadcast wide-screen digital feeds of the brewing company's commercial on top of their helmets.
  • In the 1980s, Suntory released a new type of product called "Suntory CAN Beer". To promote the product, Suntory created penguin characters that would be singing, provided by Seiko Matsuda.[20] The ads were popular, and as a result, Suntory created a film about the penguins called "Penguin's Memory: A Tale of Happiness".[21][better source needed]
  • Suntory operates two museums, the Suntory Museum of Art in Tokyo and the Suntory Museum Tempozan in Osaka, in addition to a number of cultural and social programs across Japan.
  • In the 1970s, Suntory engaged the US pop group the Carpenters to advertise its new line of soft drinks.
  • Suntory is a former sponsor of the professional match play golf tournament, played annually at Wentworth Club, near London.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Suntory News Release on January 19, 2009 (Global website), (Japan website) Archived March 24, 2009, at the Wayback Machine - Suntory Limited
  2. ^ キリン:サントリーと経営統合へ交渉 - 毎日jp(毎日新聞) Archived July 10, 2012, at Mainichi Shimbun (Retrieved on July 13, 2009)
  3. ^ Termination of Merger Negotiation with Kirin Archived March 1, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Suntory News Release (Retrieved on February 8, 2010)
  4. ^ "Suntory buys Frucor from Groupe Danone October 2008". Danone. October 23, 2008. Archived from the original on February 21, 2013. Retrieved January 16, 2009.
  5. ^ Suntory IPO
  6. ^ Angela Monaghan "Ribena and Lucozade sold to Japanese drinks giant", The Guardian, September 9, 2013
  7. ^ Suntory News Release on January 13, 2014 (Global website)
  8. ^ MARTINNE GELLER AND OLIVIA ORAN (January 14, 2014). "Japan's Suntory to buy U.S. spirits maker Beam for $13.6 billion cash". Reuters.
  9. ^ Beam Suntory, Suntory press release, April 30, 2014.
  10. ^ Suntory Still has M&A Thirst, The Wall Street Journal, May 15, 2014.
  11. ^ Daneshkhu, Scheherazade (2016-12-16). "Beam Suntory swallows London gin maker Sipsmith". Financial Times. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  12. ^ (2017-11-02). "Suntory and PepsiCo form soft drink joint venture in Thailand". Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  13. ^ a b "Kraft Heinz to acquire food and instant coffee business in Australia". Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  14. ^ Hartley, Simon (2018-03-10). "Kraft Heinz to buy Cerebos, Asian". Otago Daily Times Online News. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  15. ^ Ward, Ben (2023-03-29). "Suntory's New CEO Wants to Spend Over $5 Billion in M&A". Nasdaq. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  16. ^ "Japan's Suntory snaps up Orangina". BBC News. BBC. November 13, 2009. Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  17. ^ "GarudaFood, Suntory form joint venture". The Jakarta Post. July 16, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2012.
  18. ^ "Ripples Suntory Partnership". 12 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Suntory | Brands". Suntory. Retrieved 2023-10-22.
  20. ^ All the Suntory Mike and Jill ads (redone), archived from the original on 2021-12-12, retrieved 2021-08-30
  21. ^ Penguin's Memories: A Tale of Happiness (4K 60FPS with subtitles), archived from the original on 2021-12-12, retrieved 2021-08-30

External links[edit]