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‘Fridge Door Bar’ Serves Up $2,000 Whiskey At Further Future

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Photo: Bar Gyu+

From the “Aspen of Asia” to desert of Nevada, Bar Gyu+ descended on this year’s Further Future festival with some very precious cargo.

Hisashi Watanabe has run the “fridge door bar” in Niseko, Japan for 18 years, bringing cozy, anachronistic vibes to his patrons along with high-end cocktails and whiskeys. For the past 10 years, he’s shared this responsibility with his Canadian wife Ioanna Morelli.

The couple is known for purchasing rare Japanese whiskeys from the defunct Hanyu distillery at auctions. Unlike other selfish auction buyers, however, the Watanabes prefer to share the wealth with their customers.

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Photo: 360Niseko

At Further Future, the pair set up several intimate tastings where attendees could try six different whiskeys from Hanyu’s Card series, appropriately differentiated with playing card place settings.

Though each bottle sells for approximately $2,000-2,800, festival-goers could pre-purchase tickets to these tastings for just $300. Since the whiskeys run about $100 a pour, the experience was quite the steal and came complete with a charming history lesson from Morelli. 

I was lucky enough to try one of the whiskeys, sans a trip to Japan, and I’m happy to say my digestive system drastically increased in value.