Karuizawa started as a small distillery, situated in the foothills of Mount Asama (an active volcano which last erupted in 2004) in Japan. The founder, Suzuki Chuji, was the second son of the Ajinomoto Brand, and had been brewing sake before distilling whisky in 1939. In 1949, the name of the company was changed to Miraku Breweries Corp and in 1955, Karuizawa distillery was built near Mount Asama, and whisky production began.
The distillery was acquired as a subsidiary of Kirin Holdings in mid 2000s (around the time when distillery stopped production) and was eventually closed and taken apart in 2011 with all the remaining stock being sold. As a silent distillery and with some excellent maturing product, Karuizawa Whisky has become somewhat of a collectors item.