Mizkan Timeline

Founding of Nakano Vinegar (Nakano Suya) (1804~)

1804

The company is founded.

Matazaemon Nakano I establishes a successful business by making vinegar out of sake lees, a by-product of sake brewing. This is a courageous challenge because sake brewers avoided vinegar for fear of contamination.

Founding
1811

First vinegar brewery opens (later known as the Handa Factory). Fermented vinegar is produced on a large scale.

The traditional black walls of the vinegar brewery have been featured in films.

First vinegar brewery opens (later known as the Handa Factory). Fermented vinegar is produced on a large scale.
1821

Tazo succeeds to the name Matazaemon II.

~1845

Yamabuki launches.

The premium sake lees vinegar Yamabukiis launched. It uses sake lees matured for three years, and becomes known for complementing sushi.

Yamabuki™ launches.
1850

Constructs a new private waterway.

Constructs a new private waterway.
1854 to 1856

Matazaemon III performs public works, clearing a waterway and improving a nearby harbor for flood control and disaster recovery.

Navigating the upheaval of the Meiji period (1868~)

1873

Kokichi succeeds to the name Matazaemon IV.

Kokichi succeeds to the name Matazaemon IV.
1884

Opens a dairy farm (later known as Aiyosha).

1887

The Mizkan mark becomes a registered trademark.

The widely recognized Mizkan mark, designed by Matazaemon IV, is based on the Nakano family crest.

牛乳搾取所(後の愛養舎)開業
1888

A celebration of the new trademark is held in Shintomiza, a theater in Tokyo.

A celebration of the new trademark is held in Shintomiza, a theater in Tokyo.
1889

Begins selling beer.

Begins selling beer.
1896

Founds Marusan Beer Co., Ltd.

1897

Is designated as purveyor to the Imperial Household Agency.

Is designated as purveyor to the Imperial Household Agency.
~1897

Masasuke succeeds to the name Matazaemon V.

Masasuke succeeds to the name Matazaemon V.
1898

Establishes a new plant (Red-Brick Plant) for Marusan Beer. Marusan Beer is renamed as Kabuto Beer.

Establishes a new plant (Red-Brick Plant) for Marusan Beer. Marusan Beer is renamed as Kabuto Beer.
1900

Kabuto Beer wins a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition.

During this period of developing new businesses in dairy, banking, gas, and textiles, Kabuto beer, produced in the modern Red-Brick Plant, wins a coveted international prize for its excellent quality.

Kabuto Beer wins a gold medal at the 1900 Paris Exposition.
1901

Founds Nakano Bank.

Founds Nakano Bank.
1905

Opens the Amagaski Branch and completes the Amagasaki Plant. Begins selling rice vinegar, and enters the Kansai region.

Opens the Amagaski Branch and completes the Amagasaki Plant. Begins selling rice vinegar, and enters the Kansai region.
1919

Kozo succeeds to the name Matazaemon VI.

Kozo succeeds to the name Matazaemon VI.
1923

Founds Nakano Sumise Co., Ltd.

Founds Nakano Sumise Co., Ltd.
1924

Opens the Tokyo Branch of Nakano Sumise.

1928

Selects a new catch phrase through a newspaper advertisement: "Leave all things vinegar to Mizkan."

Selects a new catch phrase through a newspaper advertisement: "Leave all things vinegar to Mizkan."
1933

Opens a branch and plant in Shizuoka.

1934

Revises articles of incorporation. A three-branch system is established around Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya.

1942

Opens the Nakano Biochemical Research Institute. (Later known as the Central Research Institute.)

The Institute focuses on research that supports the development of hit products and helps explain the health benefits of our foods.

Second Founding (1945~)

1948

Begins exporting from Japan to the US.

1948

Opens the Tochigi Plant.

1951

Launches Shiragiku, a rice vinegar.

Launches Shiragiku, a rice vinegar.
1952

Matazaemon VI is appointed as chairman, and Masakazu is appointed as president.

1954

Full-scale production of bottled vinegar begins.
A fully automated bottling line is established in the Handa Plant.

Mizkan secures funding to set up a new vinegar bottling line to ensure the future of Mizkan product quality.

Full-scale production of bottled vinegar begins. A fully automated bottling line is established in the Handa Plant.
1955

Establishes a fully automated bottling line in the Amagasaki Plant.

Establishes a fully automated bottling line in the Amagasaki Plant.
1958

Opens the Tokyo Plant.

Opens the Tokyo Plant.
1959

“Offer the Customers Only the Finest Products” principle announced in the president’s New Year address.

1960

Masakazu succeeds to the name Matazaemon VII.

1961

Completes the Fukuoka Plant.

Completes the Fukuoka Plant.
1964

Ajipon (citrus-seasoned soy sauce) launches.

Ajipon enables consumers to make and enjoy restaurant- quality food at home. To drive sales, Mizkan carries out recipe tasting and sells the new product from market stalls promoting mizutaki hot pot, then a little-known dish in the Kanto area.

Ajipon™ (citrus-seasoned soy sauce) launches.
1964

Completes the Osaka Plant.

Completes the Osaka Plant.
1968

Natural Food Campaign

A natural food campaign is rolled out to emphasize Mizkan’s key point of difference versus competitors of the time: our commitment to quality and natural brewing. The campaign slogan was “Only Mizkan vinegar is 100% brewed” (i.e. not synthetic vinegar).

Natural Food Campaign
1971

Going Beyond Vinegar

The “Beyond Vinegar Strategy” launches, initially called the “Non-Vinegar Strategy.” It aimed for 100 billion yen in sales by increasing vinegar sales in tandem with more aggressive development of non-vinegar products.

1971
1972

Completes new Headquarters building (on the site of the former Nakano Bank).

Completes new Headquarters building (on the site of the former Nakano Bank).
1974

The proverb “Kyakka shoko” (“know thyself”) is put forward in the president’s New Year address.

1976

Founds Nakano Forestry Co., Ltd.

1977

Founds Nakano USA in Hawaii as a base for entering the US market.

1978

Central Research Institute receives the JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research.

This award recognizes Mizkan’s significant achievements in improving the productivity and quality of brewed vinegar, the technical foundations for Mizkan’s current vinegar business.
(The Mizkan Group receives the award again in 2007 and 2013.)

Central Research Institute receives its first JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research
1978

“Continuously Challenge the Status Quo” principle announced in the president’s New Year address.

1979

Shabu-shabu tare sauce launches.

The shabu-shabu hot pot, which had only been enjoyed at restaurants, became a popular dish at home with the launch of two flavors, citrus soy and sesame.

Shabu-shabu tare sauce launches.
1979

All vinegar plants are certified by JAS (Japan Agricultural Standard).

1979

Honteri launches.

Honteri, a sweet mirin seasoning for cooking, meets the needs of consumers perfectly in terms of “easy to use and buy.”

Honteri launches.
1981

Acquires American Industries Company, a major American vinegar manufacturer, to use as a base for the western US.

With the acquisition of American Industries Company, overseas expansion starts in earnest. Further US acquisitions follow.

Acquires American Industries Company, a major American vinegar manufacturer, to use as a base for the western US.
1982

Omusubiyama launches to success.

Making rice balls becomes easier with Omusubiyama, which is simply mixed into cooked rice. This is a completely new category for Mizkan, outside of the core categories of vinegar and Ajipon.

Omusubiyama™ launches to success.
1983

Completes the Tochigi Plant.

1985

Acquires Lyndonville Vinegar Inc. to use as a base for the eastern US.

Acquires Lyndonville Vinegar Inc. to use as a base for the eastern US.
1986

Su-no-Sato Vinegar Museum opens. It opens to the public after a visit by the former imperial couple.

The museum introduced visitors to the spirit and techniques handed down by generations of vinegar-making craftsmen, all in an atmosphere reminiscent of the early days of Mizkan.

  • In November 2015, Su-no-Sato Vinegar Museum was reborn as the MIZKAN MUSEUM.
Su-no-Sato Vinegar Museum opens. It opens to the public after a visit by the former imperial couple.
1987

Acquires New York company Indian Summer to use as a base for the mid-western US.

1988

Tsuyu launches.

Mizkan enters the tsuyu (soup-stock) category, which is a big market in Japan. Tsuyu is launched as a premium product with the key selling point that it has a high concentration of bonito stock. It is later rebranded as Oigatsuo Tsuyu and becomes a big hit with consumers.

Tsuyu launches.
1989

Begins Challenge 1000 & 73 Operation.

In 1989, Mizkan developed a bold business plan called “Challenge 1000 & 73 Operation” to realize sales of 100 billion yen in the next five years with the composition ratio of 70% developed product sales and 30% vinegar product sales.

Begins Challenge 1000 & 73 Operation.
1990

Gomoku Chirashi launches.

Instant chirashi sushi mix for at-home sushi making is launched. The convenience it offers home cooks means it quickly becomes a bestseller.

Gomoku Chirashi launches.
1990

Establishes the Crossville Plant in Tennessee, US.

The establishment of the Tennessee plant provided a production and supply system which could cover the entire US.

1992

Completes new headquarters in Japan.

The exterior of the newly built headquarters was designed in all black to maintain harmony with the surrounding scenery.

Completes new headquarters in Japan.
1992

Acquires the Green Bay Plant in Wisconsin, and the La Junta Plant in Colorado, US.

This completed the establishment of a production and sales network, in approximately 10 years since the acquisition of American Industries Company in 1981.

1994

Nakano Thailand is founded in Thailand.

Nakano Thailand is founded in Thailand.
1994

Founds Campbell Nakano.

1994

Completes the Tatebayashi Plant.

1997

Participates in raising capital with Asahi Foods to enter the natto (fermented soybeans) business.

In an effort to further diversify its portfolio of healthy, delicious foods, Mizkan begins full-scale production of natto.

Participates in raising capital with Asahi Foods to  enter the natto (fermented soybeans) business.
1997

At an academic conference, presents findings on the role of vinegar in easing physical fatigue and lowering blood-sugar levels.

At an academic conference, presents findings on the role of vinegar in easing physical fatigue and lowering blood-sugar levels.
1997

Time Dish, a frozen food, launches.

Time Dish, a frozen food, launches.
1998
1998

Establishes Nakano Europe, in the UK.

Establishes Nakano Europe, in the UK.
1999

Mizkan Center for Water Culture is established.

The Mizkan Center for Water Culture opens and begins initiatives to raise public awareness about the importance of water, defining “water culture” as the integral and life-long relationship people have with water.

Mizkan Center for Water Culture is established.
2000

Kinnotsubu Niowanatto launches.

Niowanatto uses a specially selected beneficial bacteria which reduces the unique scent of natto.

Kinnotsubu™ Niowanatto™ launches.
2000

Kinnotsubu Honegenki launches.

Kinnotsubu Honegenki contains more than 1.5 times the Vitamin K2, which makes bones stronger, found in existing natto. It is the first natto to be certified for a specified health use.

Kinnotsubu™ Honegenki™ launches.
2000

Acquires Spico Co., a vinegar manufacturer in the US.

2001

Opens a new plant in Dallas, Texas, US

2002

Acquires Manor Vinegar, a vinegar manufacturer in the UK, to use as a base to start a full-scale vinegar business in Europe.

2002

Decodes the genome of acetic acid bacteria.

Decodes the genome of acetic acid bacteria.

From “Mitsukan” to “mizkan” (2003~)

2003

Jun Genmai Kurozu launches as a new vinegar.

Made exclusively from Japanese brown rice, this mellow black vinegar is suitable for drinking.

Jun Genmai Kurozu launches as a new vinegar.
2003

Kazuhide succeeds to the name Matazaemon Kazuhide VIII.

Kazuhide succeeds to the name Matazaemon Kazuhide VIII.
2004

New Mizkan Group Vision and Corporate Symbol are established.

The new Mizkan Group Vision (Bringing Flavor to Life) is unveiled in tandem with a new corporate symbol (the Mizkan mark of three horizontal lines above a circle, followed by “mizkan”). The new symbol represents Mizkan’s resolve to continuously innovate and challenge itself while embracing its heritage.

New Mizkan Group Vision and Corporate Symbol are established.
2004

Establishes Mizkan Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

2005

Mainzu launches.

Mainzu, a black-vinegar drink effective for people with high blood pressure, was the first food in which acetic acid (a principal component of vinegar) was certified for a specified health use.

Mainzu™ launches.
2005

A base is established in Singapore for the Asia Pacific area.

2005

Acquires Holland House, a branded cooking wine for household use in US.

Acquires Holland House™, a branded cooking wine  for household use in US.
2005

Mizkan China Co., Ltd. is established as a 100%-owned subsidiary sales company in Beijing, China.

2006

Mizkan Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. Hong Kong Branch and Taiwan Branch begins operations.

2007

Central Research Institute receives its second JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research.

This award recognizes Mizkan’s development of a highly palatable and nutritionally beneficial black vinegar made possible through proprietary research demonstrating the functional health benefits of vinegar.

Central Research Institute receives its second JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research.
2007

Miki Plant and biotope are completed.

Miki Plant and biotope are completed.
2007

Acquires Creole Co., a vinegar manufacturer in the US.

2008

Kinnotsubu Arabenri launches.

A convenient natto package without a plastic film or sauce packet, developed thanks to a customer’s comment.

Kinnotsubu™ Arabenri™ launches.
2008

Acquires the vinegar and cooking wine gourmet specialty division of Imperial Brand in the US.

2009

Acquires the Kumenatto brand in Japan.

Kumenatto, a popular natto brand in Kanto area, was acquired, strengthening Mizkan’s natto portfolio and sales.

Acquires the Kumenatto™ brand in Japan.
2010

Acquires the World Harbors brand from World Harbors in the US. Enters the marinade and barbeque sauce markets.

2011

Shifts from “company system” to “functional organization.”

Shifted from a company system of separate subsidiaries into a functional organization, recognizing all entities in Japan as one company.

2011

Acquires Nattoichi brand in Japan.

Acquired the natto business from Asahimatsu Foods, including the Nattoichi brand, popular in western Japan, strengthening sales.

Acquires Nattoichi™ brand in Japan.
2011

Acquires Border Foods to enter the growing pepper market in the US. Starts the manufacture and sales of processed foods made from green chilies, jalapenos, etc.

2012

Kinnotsubu Pakittotare launches.

This new natto product features an innovative lid that releases the sauce (tare) when snapped open (paki). The lid adds an element of fun as well as convenience for consumers.

Kinnotsubu™ Pakkittotare™ launches.
2012

Adds a second plant to the Tatebayashi Plant premises.

Tatebayashi becomes Mizkan’s largest natto manufacturing base in Japan.

Adds a second plant to the Tatebayashi Plant premises.
2012

Acquires Sarson’s malt vinegar and Haywards pickled vegetables, both category leaders in the UK.

Acquires Sarson’s™ malt vinegar and Haywards™ pickled vegetables, both category leaders in the UK.
2013

Acquires Branston, sweet pickle in the UK.

With this, three brands which have long been popular in the UK have joined the Mizkan Group.

Acquires Branston™, sweet pickle in the UK.
2013

Wins the JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research for natto research.

The Central Research Institute is recognized again, this time for work in product differentiation and quality improvement through the research of beneficial natto bacteria. This is the first time the award was given for natto research.

Wins the JSBBA Award for Achievement in Technological Research for natto research.
2014

Matazaemon Kazuhide VIII changes his name to Kazuhide Nakano.

2014

Corporate reorganization and name change.

To reinforce Mizkan’s future global growth, the company is reorganized into three geographic areas: Japan + Asia, North America, and Europe. Company names are also changed to English.

2014

Acquires two US top-selling pasta sauce brands: RAGÚ and Bertolli.

Mizkan expands the US business with the acquisition of popular pasta sauce brand RAGÚ and the leading premium pasta sauce brand, Bertolli.

Acquires two US top-selling pasta sauce brands: RAGÚ™ and Bertolli™.
2014

Completes the Minokamo Plant.

Completes the Minokamo Plant.
2015

Opens the MIZKAN MUSEUM (MIM).

MIM opens its doors in November, 2015. MIM is an interactive museum where visitors learn about the art and history of vinegar brewing and Japanese food culture in a fun and engaging way.

Opens the MIZKAN MUSEUM™ (MIM™).
2016

Senya, a vinegar made from genuine sake lees, is made available exclusively at the MIZKAN MUSEUM.

Senya™, a vinegar made from genuine sake lees, is made available exclusively at the MIZKAN MUSEUM™.
2018

The MIZKAN MUSEUM reopens after renovations.

The MIZKAN MUSEUM™ reopens after renovations.
2018

Publishes the Mizkan Vision Statement.

Publishes the Mizkan Vision Statement.
2018

Start ZENB Initiative.

Start ZENB™ Initiative.
2019

ZENB Brand Launches.

The ZENB brand launches as a result of the ZENB Initiative.

ZENB