Japanese whisky is increasing in popularity — but there's a shortage

John McDevitt
December 08, 2018 - 4:00 am
An exhibitor offers Japanese blended whisky for tasting during the 2016 Zagreb Whisky Fair in Zagreb, capital of Croatia, Feb. 26, 2016.

Xinhua/Sipa USA


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — You may not associate whiskey with Japan, but Japanese whisky is a very popular libation worldwide, including the Philadelphia region.  

Tuna Bar in Old City offers a variation of the whiskey. Unfortunately, there's a shortage of the drink. Manufacturers can't make it fast enough, resulting in a $15 to $50 two-ounce pour of the liquor.

Kenneth Sze, owner and executive chef of Tuna Bar, said one of their whiskies isn't even on the menu — you have to ask for it.

"Yamazaki 18 is the 18 year-old-version of the Yamazaki. It is extremely rare and it increased in popularity dramatically," he said. "When it first came out, I was the first one to buy it, around $85 a bottle. I believe now it's close to $400 a bottle."

Sze said the high prices are due two a couple of reasons.

"Pennsylvania law is really difficult to get certain wines and whiskey in general," he explained, plus the shortage makes it difficult to come by overall.


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