The Karuizawa distillery is located on the southern slopes of Mount Asama, the island of Honshu's most active volcano. It was built in 1956 and has ever since been part of the Mercian company, which has subsequently acquired by the mighty Kirin group, owners of the Fuji Gotemba single malt brand. In the early days, Karuizawa malt was used in blends together with the output of other Mercian distilleries. Since 1987, the production is devoted to single malts. The whisky is typically matured in sherry butts.