With a long family history over several generations in sake brewing since 1626, Isouji Akuto established the Hanyu distillery in 1941 (with the alcohol license being finally obtained in 1946) in the town of Hanyu, located to the northwest of Tokyo in Saitama Prefecture. However, it was only in 1980 that the production of single malt commenced after the purchase of two traditional Japanese-made pot stills. Unfortunately during that time the demand was primarily biased towards blended whiskies. Consequently, Hanyu stopped production in 2000, and the distillery was finally closed in 2004.
The remaining stock of Hanyu were recovered by Ichiro Akuto (grandson of the founder of Isouji Akuto) with the assistance of another sake producer Sasanokawa Shuzo who helped to store them until 2008 when they were finally transferred to Chichibu in the new distillery founded by Ichiro Akuto. These Hanyu casks were bottled into the now legendary Ichiro's Malt - Hanyu Card Series and other Hanyu releases. Some of the stock were also vatted with Chichibu's own distillate in the various Leaf Series bottlings with a predominant representation in the Double Distilleries Green Leaf Series (this component is likely to be lower in the newer releases).