January 4, 2015 – Takeshi Taketsuru, the nephew and adopted son of Japanese whisky pioneer Masataka Taketsuru and retired president of Nikka Whisky, has died in Japan at the age of 90, according to the Financial Times. Taketsuru died December 17.

Takeshi Taketsuru was born in a village near Hiroshima in 1924 to Nobuyo Taketsuru, the older sister of Masataka Taketsuru. After the US atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima in 1945 that left widespread damage, he moved north to Yoichi to live with Masataka and Rita Taketsuru and joined the family’s Nikka Whisky business upon his graduation from college in 1949. He eventually became Nikka’s master blender, and was named Nikka’s president in 1985, six years after the death of Masataka Taketsuru.

Under his leadership, Nikka slowly began exporting its whiskies outside of Japan and acquired the Ben Nevis distillery in Scotland in 1995. He remained a key adviser to the company after it was acquired by the Asahi Group in 2001 until his death.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include the date of Taketsuru’s death.

Links: Nikka Whisky