Not content with distilling whiskies that are consistently voted the best in the world, Japan's drinks companies are taking aim at another quintessentially British beverage - gin.
Asahi Breweries is to release a premium brand named Coffey Gin in Europe and North America in September, while Suntory Spirits has devised a new gin with its US unit, Beam Suntory Inc., that will be called Roku and shipped to the same markets before the end of the year.
Suntory said in a statement that it intends to give its new product a distinctive Japanese flavour through the use of cherry blossoms, "yuzu" citrus fruit and "sansho" Japanese pepper in the distillation process.
A hint at Suntory's intentions came with its purchase in December of London gin maker Sipsmith for a reported £50 million just eight years after the Chiswick-based brand was founded.
"These companies have been producing standard gins for the domestic market for some years, so they have the experience that is required to make good gins", said David Croll, who set up Whisk-e in 1995 to import craft drinks to the increasingly thirsty Japanese market and last year opened Japan's first craft gin distillery in Kyoto.
"The global craft gin movement has come to Japan and there are a number of companies that have decided to try their hand at it", he told The Telegraph.
And Croll believes that skills Japanese distillers have picked up will stand them in good stead with these new products.
"Japanese companies as a whole have a reputation for producing high-quality items and it is the same in the drinks sector," he said.
Japan's whisky manufacturerscelebrated in November 2014 when the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 was named the best whisky in the world by the Whisky Bible.
Jim Murray, who compiles the annual list, praised the whisky as being of "near indescribable genius" with a "nose of exquisite boldness".