You’d never guess there was a fully equipped distillery tucked away under the Yamanote Line tracks just north of Akihabara Station, but this new venue from Hitachino Brewing is full of surprises. The Ibaraki-based craft brewery behind the popular Hitachino Nest beer started distilling whisky back in 2016, and this is the best place in Tokyo to get a taste of what they’ve been working on.
The venue has the same neat and casual interior as the Hitachino Brewing Lab venues in Tokyo. But where the former focus on beer, the Tokyo Distillery is all about the company’s Kiuchi Whisky, which you can sample while sitting amongst beautiful copper stills.
The 14 whiskies on offer – seven malt, seven grain – start at ¥750 per glass and vary widely in age, cask and flavour profile. There’s a sense of experimentation here, which you just don’t get from a bigger distillery. If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a tasting flight of three different whiskies (¥1,280). While the whisky all comes from the company’s main distillery in Ibaraki prefecture, you can also sample gin, liqueurs and other spirits that are distilled on-site (from ¥750). And of course, Hitachino’s beloved beers are on tap, too (from ¥750).
You’ll need some food alongside all that booze, and the menu offers plenty of classic pub grub. There’s pasta carbonara (¥1,280), beef jerky (¥980) and salads (from ¥750), plus a range of homemade charcuterie using local Ibaraki pork (from ¥680).
Whether you’re a diehard whisky fan or just popping in for a highball and a snack, the distillery is the perfect pitstop in busy central Tokyo.