Business: The Saga off Rising Suntory

Attracting some customers away from the three-sake lunch

"Work hard, drink hard" is not exactly a national motto, but the Japanese seem to do both with rare dedication. Last year they spent a staggering $17.8 billion on alcoholic beverages, up fivefold from ten years ago. Of the $222 that the average Japanese adult invests in hard stuff every year,* 42% goes for beer and 31% for sake (rice wine). What is remarkable is the rise of a Western spirit: whisky. It accounts for 20% of all alcohol sales and comes in scores of...

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