Sport Another casualty of the COVID Olympics ... Japanese whisky

05:27  22 july  2021
05:27  22 july  2021 Source:   sports.yahoo.com

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Data Sharing In The Covid Era | Paid Program. As Japanese whisky sales continue to soar, less and less of the premium liquid remains on shelves. The latest casualties come from rival brand, Nikka. And they are certain to leave the whisky world quite It’s also rumored that brands have been hoarding their high-end liquid to showcase domestically during the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics .

Two-thirds of Japanese people don’t believe the Tokyo Olympics can be held safely during the Covid -19 pandemic, a new poll has shown. Several protests have been held in the Japanese capital, with attendees concerned that the Olympics will lead to a wave of infections and bring more contagious and deadlier variants of the coronavirus to the country. Automotive giant Toyota, one of the top sponsors of the games, said on Monday that it will not run TV ads related to the Tokyo Olympics in Japan and its president will not attend the opening ceremony.

In 1964, the last time Japan hosted the Olympics, the Suntory distillery, the nation’s oldest, moved a batch of then 4-year-old whisky from a mizunara cask to a white oak cask.

The liquor was left untouched for decades.

That includes the last few years when the Japanese whisky industry blew up internationally, both in terms of sales and respect for the product. In 2012, Japan exported about $22 million (US) in whisky. By 2020, it was nearly $250 million and growing quickly (up 28.2 percent year over year).

As a promotional effort, Suntory decided it would link the Olympics of 1964 with the Olympics of 2020, which is finally set to begin Friday in Tokyo. It would release 100 commemorative bottles of its prized batch and market it around the Summer Games.

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Japanese whisky makers have grappled with dwindling stocks in recent years as thirst grows for their prized liquid. Yet that hasn’t stopped major distilleries and smaller producers alike from releasing exciting new whiskies to celebrate a momentous year for Japan —in spite of the Tokyo Summer Olympics being postponed until 2021 because of the global COVID -19 pandemic. Read on for details on seven new whiskies from some of Japan ’s leading distilleries, past and present.

She founded the U.S.- Japan Council and was the group's first president. She also served as the first executive director of the The Japanese American National Museum in her native Los Angeles. She was married to Daniel Inouye, who passed away in 2012 and served as a senator to Hawaii for The first lady will be among a handful of people cheering athletes on as organizers announced earlier this month that spectators would be banned from Olympics ' venues as COVID -19 cases spiked in Japan . Biden is stopping in Alaska en route to the Olympics and traveling through Hawaii on the way back.

The “Yamazaki 55” single malt would serve as a peripheral chance for Japanese whisky to tap into the global spotlight of, and excitement in, the Olympics and hopefully gain even more worldwide prominence ... and, of course, demand.

It’s what businesses — entire industries even — do when their country hosts the Games.

Suntory was hardly alone. The nation’s so-called “smallest distillery,” Chichibu, planned on releasing its “The First Ten” batch in conjunction with the Games. Another newish whisky maker, Akkeshi, used the colors of the Olympic rings on the labels of their bottles.

“It’s extraordinarily competitive,” Liam McNulty, an American who has lived in Tokyo since 2007 and runs an influential lifestyle and whisky site, nomunication.jp, said of the high-end Japanese whisky market.

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He addressed International Olympic Committee members in Tokyo ahead of the games opening on Friday. Tedros called on the world's leading economies to step up by sharing vaccines and funding global efforts to make them more accessible as well as incentivizing companies to scale up vaccine production. The world is in the early stages of another wave of Covid -19 infections and death, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. Speaking to International Olympic Committee members in Tokyo, Tedros said the global failure to share vaccines

Three unnamed Olympians have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the final days leading up to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan . The upcoming event has been plagued with Covid -19 restrictions and concerns over health safety. International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach made an attempt to reassure the public in the final days leading up to the games. “We are well aware of the skepticism a number of people have here in Japan . My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome the athletes for their competitions,” he said on Saturday, adding that the IOC is

“Demand [leads] to unopened bottles being sold in secondary markets for five times, ten times, or twenty times their suggested retail price. Or worse: counterfeit bottles,” McNulty said. “Even under 3-year matured releases from unproven new market entrants are snapped up so quickly that most retailers have introduced some lottery-based system to allocate ‘buying rights’ to consumers.”

a bottle of wine: Distilleries such as Suntory hoped to use the Tokyo Olympics as a vehicle to promote Japanese whisky. (Photo by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) © Provided by Yahoo! Sports Distilleries such as Suntory hoped to use the Tokyo Olympics as a vehicle to promote Japanese whisky. (Photo by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

This is the kind of business-story Japanese whisky wanted the world to hear. This was a chance for the hills of Japan to become as synonymous with whiskey as Ireland or Tennessee have been for generations. It’s the ancillary benefits that governments cite as reason to spend billions to host the Games.

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The International Olympic Committee insist the show will go on but Covid -19 is not the only major issue organisers have had to deal with since they were awarded the Games over Istanbul and Madrid in 2013. Japan has been faced with numerous headline-hitting controversies that have gripped the world, including corruptions claims, the safety of construction workers, arguments over the quality of its water and asbestos in some of its venues. With just a year to go until the original date of the Tokyo Olympics , Japan was forced to elect a new leader to its National Olympic Committee.

The emergence of Covid cases surrounding the Olympics held in Japan is "obviously a risk," said Thomas Taw, an investment strategist at BlackRock. However, he said it was a "temporary headwind." Despite the ongoing anti-trust crackdown on China's technology companies, Taw told CNBC that there's also an opportunity for investors to raise the exposure to Chinese stocks. "Over the second half of the year, I expect some money will rotate into places like Japan , and Europe, which we have upgraded to overweight." In a report on Monday, BlackRock said it has upgraded Japanese stocks to neutral

Except the 2020 Olympics were postponed a year. While the cauldron will finally be lit on Friday, due to COVID restrictions, the competitions will take place with no international visitors or even local fans. It isn't just the stands that will be empty. So, too, will Tokyo’s entertainment districts, where bars have been shuttered and liquor sales prohibited.

The chance to show and share the product with the world is limited, if not gone. There will be few, if any, press stories or social media posts from athletes, well-heeled travelers or journalists about the local nightlife where “The HighBall” — Japanese whisky, soda water and ice — is the prevailing respite from the heat and humidity of summer.

"The Olympics have become a lost opportunity for Japan's distillers,” David Flemming, executive editor of Whisky Advocate magazine, told Yahoo Sports. “With safety now the prime concern, the bells and whistles normally provided by an Olympic platform will be muted at best."

It is a sign of how brutal it is trying to stage an Olympics with no fans and heavy restrictions — and not just for the IOC. It impacts everything from major corporate sponsors to mom and pop stores, stadium-area bars and restaurants and, indeed, even whisky.

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“The setback is significant for Japanese retailers as the now unlikely influx of any international visitors, combined with Tokyo's most recent state of emergency declaration, means they are now being denied the spillover benefits of tourism spending [hospitality, hotels and entertainment],” said Patrick Kinch, an analyst for GlobalData, a London based business analytics firm.

“For brands, crowd restrictions create a conundrum of them essentially having a product they didn't pay for, as full crowds would have been assumed at the time of securing contracts with the IOC,” Kinch continued. “Reduced crowds mean less atmosphere, which may alter the TV viewing experience for millions around the world, leaving the IOC's sponsors having a multi-million dollar partnership with less value for money given potential audience drops.”

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. IOC president Thomas Bach deemed Tokyo “the best-ever prepared city for the Olympic Games” — an ideal mesh of technology, logistics and hospitality.

COVID changed everything, however. The Games have gone from a three-week celebration of everything Japanese to a somewhat sterile television production just hoping to muddle through.

Fortunately for Japan’s whisky distillers, the combination of its balanced taste and scarcity of supply, hasn’t tempered business.

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After all, even without the preferred Olympic tie-in last year, those bottles of “The First Ten” from Chichibu are currently selling for $2,000-$3,000 on the secondary market. And when a first edition bottle of “Yamazaki 55” went to auction last August, Games or no Games, it was still expected to fetch between $75,000 and $100,000.

Instead it went for a cool $795,000.

Yes, just one bottle.

Who needs Simone Biles after all?

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Softball needs the Olympics. And it needs baseball to care .
Asked to imagine her future in fourth grade, Aubree Munro drew herself in a Team USA softball jersey. It was 2004, and that summer, she begged her mom to wake her in the middle of the night when the Olympic softball games were played in Greece. Ten years old, she struggled to stay up for the whole game, but she got to see the first few innings of Team USA’s gold medal run. Growing up, Janie Reed would practice signing her autograph with “USA” right after it. She aspired to join the ranks of Olympic softball players like Stacey Nuveman, Jennie Finch, and the rest of the 2008 team that took home silver from Beijing.

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