World Whisky Forum # 5 in Japan

November 2023. For immediate release:

The fifth World Whisky Forum will be hosted by Komoro Distillery in Japan on 19-21 February 2024. It is now open for ticket sales, and the complete lineup of panellists has been announced.

For the first time, the World Whisky Forum will take place in Asia, and the organisers are delighted that Komoro Distillery will be the hosts. The pioneering new distillery is the perfect location for the fifth Forum, entitled ‘Asia-Pacific: Whisky’s New Powerhouse’. Over three days, esteemed speakers from whisky production across the Asia-Pacific will examine four key areas: the lessons to be learnt from the Japanese experience, now over a century into whisky production; the founding philosophies driving the surge in new producers across the region; the challenges and opportunities for Asia-Pacific producers building their brands outside the region; and the big questions of identity and innovation facing producers new and old here – what can our whisky be?

Founder of the World Whisky Forum, Jan Groth, says, “We are delighted to be bringing the Forum to Komoro – an exciting new member of the great world of whisky, and one which we know for sure will play a significant part in the future of whisky making in the wider region.”

The full line-up of speakers at the 2024 World Whisky Forum:

Koji Shimaoka and Ian Chang, Komoro Distillery, Japan
Jane Overeem, Overeem Distillery, Australia
Jota Tanaka, Kirin Fuji Gotemba Distillery, Japan
Matthew Johns, Pōkeno Distillery, New Zealand
Ichiro Akuto and Yumi Yoshikawa, Chichibu Distillery, Japan
David Vitale, Starward Distillery, Australia
Dave Withers, Archie Rose Distillery, Australia
Richard L Lu, Inner Mongolia Mengtai Distillery, China
Taiko Nakamura, Shizuoka Distillery, Japan
Desiree Reid, Cardrona Distillery, New Zealand
Shinji Fukuyo, Suntory Spirits Ltd, Japan
Emiko Kaji and Hiromi Ozaki, Nikka Whisky, Japan
Ashok Chokalingam, Amrut Distillery, India
Bryan Do, Three Societies Distillery, Korea
Paul P John, John Distillery, India

The fifth Forum builds on the success of previous iterations at High Coast Distillery (Sweden), Cotswolds Distillery (UK), Westland Distillery (USA) and Stauning Distillery (Denmark). It has established a reputation as the platform for producers and brand owners to come together in an open and collegiate setting to share ideas and push to find solutions together for the biggest issues facing our industry. Taking place over three days, the Forum is made up of 4 sessions, with a panel of speakers presenting, followed by open floor discussion – all moderated by Dave Broom. Tickets can be purchased at


The World Whisky Forum was founded by Jan Groth in 2017. The events, which take place every 18 months, are a place to share insights into the possibilities and challenges the global whisky industry faces – with the emphasis firmly on ‘global’. Producers of all sizes from the new wave of ‘world whiskies’ sit alongside established producers from the dominant whisky countries to learn from each other. The WWF team is made up of Jan Groth, Ingvar Ronde, Dave Broom and Zoë Rutherford. The World Whisky Forum recently hosted its first regional iteration – a smaller-scale event solely for Nordic whisky producers, hosted by Mackmyra Distillery in June 2023. More information can be found at

Komoro Distillery, pioneered by Karuizawa Distillers, Inc. (KDI) under the leadership of entrepreneur Koji Shimaoka and acclaimed Master Distiller & Blender Ian Chang, stands as a testament to exceptional single malt Japanese whisky craftsmanship. Located at the foothills of Mount Asama in Komoro City, the distillery benefits from the region’s unparalleled natural resources. Ian Chang, embracing the teachings of the legendary “Einstein of Whisky,” the late Dr. Jim Swan, ensures each blend is a masterpiece. Visitors are treated to an immersive experience: the Whisky Academy offers enlightening courses for both novices and aficionados, tours unveil the secrets behind aromatic fermentation, barrels and pot stills, and the on-site bar promises a unique tasting experience, pairing whisky with local delicacies.