David at the excellent Irish Whiskey Notes put me on to a one line mention in the Scotsman newspaper at the start of May saying that Suntory had been foiled in an attempt to grab itself slice of the Irish whiskey industry. David is in a much better position than I to give the Irish background to the story but the long and the short of it is that Suntory had been in the bidding for a number of spirit brands owned by the C&C Group, including Tullamore Dew whiskey. William Grant, the Scotch whisky company, fought off the Japanese interest with a £260 million acquisition.
It seems Grant are now planning a new Irish distillery. As Irish Whiskey Notes says: "Now that they've thought about Irish whiskey seriously, perhaps Suntory would like to build their own distillery here? C'mon, Japan, everyone's doing it!"