From left to right: David Croll (Whisk-e), Euan Mitchell (Isle of Arran Distillers and co-ordinator of the Project), Matt Watt (Duncan Taylor), Chiba-san (Utatsu resident), Douglas Cook (Benriach and Glendronaich Distilleries), Frank McHardy (Springbank Distillery) and Karasawa-san (Biomass Network NPO)

On October 29, 2011, representatives from distilleries that participated in the Spirit of Unity Project traveled with Jane Best, CEO of RIJ, to visit Utatsu and meet members of the community.

The Project has raised over 11 million yen from sales of the Spirit of Unity (or Kizuna in Japanese), a unique whiskey produced by a group of independent Scottish distilleries. Proceeds from the sales are currently being channeled by RIJ to fund the tented market area in Utatsu, which was recently established to provide a much-needed focal centre for the local residents to trade, shop and meet.

The trip enabled the distillers to see for themselves the impact that their donation has made on the Utatsu community. They were also able to hear directly from people who experienced the earthquake and tsunami, learning how the disaster has affected their lives.

Jane Best reflects on this recent visit to Utatsu:

“Every time I visit Tohoku, it is a beautiful sunny day, which makes the sight of loss and destruction somewhat easier to bear. However, I can’t help but think how awful it would have been in the cold and rain. 

I am happy to work directly with the local community, as it is only the community members that can create the strength and hope that is needed to rebuild Tohoku.


絆(spirit of unity)プロジェクトでは、独立したスコットランド醸造所の集まりが生産したユニークなウィスキー「絆」を販売し、1100万円以上を売り上げました。今回の収益はRIJを通じ、宇多津のテント商店街に提供されます。同テント商店街は、地元住民が物を売り買いし、またふれあうための中心地として最近設置されました。