Japan Declares Bourbon Whiskey and Tennessee Whiskey as Distinctive Products of the United States

On May 4, 1964, the U.S. Senate designated, and the House of Representatives concurred, that Bourbon Whiskey is a unique product of the United States.

Bourbon Whiskey - Recognized as a Distinctive Product of the United States, May 4, 1964
Bourbon Whiskey – Recognized as a Distinctive Product of the United States, May 4, 1964.

It took 57 years and 8 months, but Japan too has finally agreed to recognize Bourbon Whiskey as a distinctive product of the United States.

It’s Official: Japan Recognizes Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey as Products of the United States

Japan recently became the 44th country to officially recognize “Bourbon” and “Tennessee Whiskey” as distinctive products of the United States, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States – DISCUS. 

“This recognition ensures that only Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey that are produced in the United States according to official U.S. standards may be sold in Japan,” said Robert Maron, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Vice President of International Trade. “Japan ranks as the top export market for American Whiskeys. This action will ensure the integrity of these popular spirits products in this critical market.” 

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When Did Bourbon Whiskey Become a Distinctive Product of the United States?

American Whiskey exports to Japan reached $89 million from January – November 2021 (latest data available). Between 2010 and 2020, Japan grew from the fifth-largest export market for American Whiskeys to the top export destination, with American Whiskey exports increasing by nearly 51 percent.   

“This official recognition will help Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey exports continue to expand in this dynamic and growing market,” added Maron. 

In 2015, Japan agreed to initiate a process to extend recognition for “Bourbon” and “Tennessee Whiskey” as distinctive products of the United States.  As part of the agreement, the United States initiated a similar process for several products as distinctive products of Japan.  

“We wish to thank the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for their tireless efforts to secure Japan’s recognition of two of America’s distinctive spirits — Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey,” Maron concluded. 

Japan is the No. 2 Market Worldwide for Bourbon Whiskey

Q: How important is Japan to the bourbon market?
A: Very. Japan is the number two market in the world to import Bourbon Whiskey second only to Spain.

Below is the complete data snapshot of Bourbon Whiskey proof gallons by volume exported by country based on data provided by DISCUS. This data is up to date as of September 2021.

Japan’s recognition of “Bourbon” and “Tennessee Whiskey” as distinctive products of the United States went into effect on December 22, 2021. 

CountryBottledIn-Bulk Jan-Sep 2021 TotalBottledIn-Bulk Jan-Sep 2020 Total
Spain13,2514,043,8064,057,0574,1374,748,3974,752,535
Japan569,3032,140,2752,709,577381,0102,754,2273,135,237
Australia529,8502,022,6492,552,499781,3192,254,4023,035,720
Germany97,320900,187997,50663,4821,239,2751,302,757
U. Kingdom367,595572,675940,270222,088400,265622,353
New-Zealand79,871654,284734,15443,025577,677620,702
Panama5,359380,127385,48617,238017,238
China323,38814,431337,81883,51913,37596,894
Canada333,0140333,014304,8290304,829
Mexico257,554333257,887146,1747,719153,892
Nethlds206,40629,465235,871141,63919,808161,447
Italy99,91065,052164,96278,31052,233130,543
Dom-Rep2,511150,961153,4724,15618,68622,842
France30,639108,866139,50525,189537,416562,605
India4,913104,834109,7475,76676,45282,218
Belgium10,43594,045104,4802,56983,68586,254
Singapore38,79447,73486,52827,735027,735
Latvia78,685078,68593,738093,738
Brazil75,418075,41838,872038,872
S. Africa6,94254,57961,5213,11603,116
Korea, S50,359050,35911,72041,74653,466
Chile37,591037,5914,70904,709
Russia28,128028,12821,67530,11651,791
Costa Rica3,20217,67320,8751,82401,824
Argentina19,374019,3746,75706,757
Denmark1,5287,6439,1712,4854,5667,051
Taiwan9,05309,0535,90105,901
Nigeria6,9716597,6305,74605,746
Poland7,57207,5729,56909,569
U.A.E.7,40507,40511,428011,428
Jamaica5,2691,6386,9081,6811541,835
Ecuador05,5325,532000
Guatemala5,09405,0943,29503,295
Turkey3,87803,8784,12904,129
Oman3,56303,563000
Sweden3,49203,4925,59805,598
Ireland3,27903,2792,10502,105
Bahamas2,1669883,1541,3721281,500
Ukraine3,00803,0081,46601,466
Colombia2,95302,9531,27101,271
Lithuania2,90402,9042,74702,747
Israel2,72902,7291,52701,527
Hong-Kong2,64502,6451,60701,607
Peru4861,8662,3522480248
Slovenia2,29202,292000
El-Slvadr2,28302,28304,9924,992
St. Lucia2,26602,266000
Cayman Is2,00302,0032,35502,355
Norway1,73201,7322410241
Venezuela1,68801,6883,38403,384
Switzld1,66501,6656770677
Barbados1,38301,383000
Philippines1,38201,3823,24303,243
Bahrain1,19301,193000
Czech-Rep1,16601,1664540454
Indonesia1,12601,126000
Guadeloupe1,06001,060000
Vietnam99409943860386
Aruba88608864,9292,6717,600
Zambia0742742000
Uruguay60606063800380
Bermuda4841065891180118
Greece57005701,97401,974
Qatar45304533110311
Romania42104216260626
Bulgaria30803082490249
Jordan30803082,76202,762
Haiti282028213,821013,821
Sint-Maarten26902692960296
Austria02642641,40101,401
Thailand24802481750175
Curacao2280228000
Serbia212021263063
Georgia1690169000
Iceland10501051,42901,429
Antigua86086000
Hungary860861560156
Estonia8408405,6195,619
Macao72072000
Malta63063000
St-Vincent52052000
Belize510511,78001,780
Albania4804863063
Turk & Cac.80821021
Afghan00003,8413,841
Bangladesh00099099
Croatia0006580658
Cyprus0002,09702,097
Finland0001,36201,362
Kazakhstn0001,81601,816
Kenya0002140214
Malaysia0001930193
Marshall-Is00033033
Microns00047047
Trinidad00001,2591,259
Distilled Spirits – Exports by Volume September 2021. Source: DISCUS

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