Suntory (サントリー Santorī ) is a Japanese brewing and distilling company group. Established in 1899, it is one of the oldest companies in the distribution of alcoholic beverages in Japan. Its business has expanded to other fields, and the company now offers everything from soft drinks to sandwich chains. Suntory is headquartered in Dojimahama Nichome, Kita-ku, Osaka, Osaka prefecture.
Suntory was started by Torii Shinjiro, who first opened his store Torii Shoten in Osaka on February 1, 1899, to sell imported wines. In 1907, the store began selling a sweet tasting red wine called Akadama Port Wine. The store became the Kotobukiya company in 1921 to further expand its business. In December 1924, Yamazaki Distillery, the first Japanese whisky distillery, began its production of malt whisky. Five years later Suntory Whisky Sirofuda (White Label), the first single malt whisky made in Japan, was sold.
Due to wartime shortage of World War II, Kotobukiya was briefly forced to halt its development of new products. In 1961, Kotobukiya launched the famous "Drink Tory's (Whisky) and Go to Hawaii" campaign. At the time, a trip abroad was considered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In 1963, Kotobukiya changed its name to "Suntory", taken from the name of the famous whisky it produces. In the same year, Musashino Beer Factory began its production of the Suntory Beer. In 1997, the company became Japan's sole bottler, distributor, and licensee of Pepsi products.
On April 1, 2009, Suntory became a stockholding company named "Suntory Holdings Limited (サントリーホールディングス株式会社)" and established "Suntory Beverage and Food Limited (サントリー食品株式会社)", "Suntory Products Limited (サントリープロダクツ株式会社)", "Suntory Wellness Limited (サントリーウェルネス株式会社)", "Suntory Liquors Limited (サントリー酒類株式会社)", "Suntory Beer & Spirits Limited (サントリービア&スピリッツ株式会社)", "Suntory Wine International Limited (サントリーワインインターナショナル株式会社)", and "Suntory Business Expert Limited (サントリービジネスエキスパート株式会社)".
From the early 1990s, Suntory has collaborated extensively with Melbourne biotechnology firm Florigene to genetically engineer the world's first true blue rose, a symbol often associated with the impossible or unattainable. In 1991, the team won the intense global race to isolate the gene responsible for blue flowers, and has since developed a range of genetically modified flowers expressing colors in the blue spectrum, as well as a number of other breakthroughs extending the vase life of cut flowers.
In 2003, Suntory acquired a 98.5% equity holding in Florigene. Prior to this, Florigene had been a subsidiary of global agrochemicals giant Nufarm Limited since 1999. In July 2004, Suntory and Florigene scientists announced to the world the development of the first roses containing blue pigment, an important step toward the creation of a truly blue colored rose.