A short video created to mark the House of Suntory milestone shows Hollywood star Keanu Reeves walking down a neon-drenched street before slipping into a bar and enjoying a glass of Hibiki 21 Year Old Japanese whisky with friends.
The video, created by Academy Award-winning director Sofia Coppola, then highlights some of the most famous Suntory ads from the past century.
It is 20 years since the release of Coppola’s hit 2003 film, Lost In Translation, which featured Bill Murray’s perplexed character shooting a Suntory commercial.
Reeves previously appeared in a Suntory Reserve ad campaign all the way back in 1992, the year Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in which he played Jonathan Harker, was released.
Francis Ford Coppola, the legendary director of The Godfather and Apocalypse Now, helmed that film.
Reeves reportedly met Coppola’s daughter, Sofia, on the set at the time, and the pair have now joined forces for the Suntory 100th anniversary tribute video.
Later this summer, Reeves will also star in a series of documentary shorts titled ‘The Nature and Spirit of Japan’, directed by Sophia’s brother, Roman Coppola.
‘I’m a huge fan of Suntory whisky, so it’s very special to collaborate in honour of this milestone anniversary,’ said Reeves.
The House of Suntory, founded when Shinjiro Torii built the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923, said it is also releasing several limited-edition whiskies to celebrate the centennial.
They include Yamazaki 18 Year Old Mizunara, and an Hakushu 18 Year Old peated malt, along with 100th anniversary labels of the flagship Yamazaki 12 Year Old and Hakushu 12 Year Old single malts.
‘As the pioneer of Japanese whisky, the House of Suntory played a significant role in shaping culture and leading craftsmanship in Japan over the last century,’ said House of Suntory MD Jon Potter. ‘To mark this historic milestone, partnering with Sofia and Keanu, who are Suntory Whisky fans, makes perfect sense.’
Japanese whiskies have become increasingly prominent on the global spirits market over the past decade, and rare bottlings can fetch high prices at auction. ‘Demand for aged Japanese whisky is massively outstripping supply,’ said auction house Sotheby’s in December 2022.
Stay tuned for more details about Suntory’s limited-edition, anniversary whiskies in an upcoming article on Decanter.com.