Case Study: Nikka Whisky’s (Asahi Group) Distillery Transforms Safety with VIA’s Forklift Safety System


Nestled in Hokkaido, Japan, the Nikka Whisky Hokkaido Yoichi Distillery (a subsidiary of Asahi Breweries) is celebrated for its traditional whisky-making techniques. However, upholding their legacy of quality also means ensuring the utmost safety within a complex and potentially hazardous environment.

Challenges Faced:

The distillery grappled with multiple safety concerns:

  • Visitor Safety: Safeguarding visitors during tours, particularly in areas with active distillation processes and heavy machinery. “We receive a lot of tourists throughout the year. Some areas have intersecting pathways between factory operations and tour routes, leading to significant safety concerns,” notes a distillery staff member in the video.

  • Employee Safety: Protecting staff from risks linked to operating and maintaining distillery equipment. “There are certain areas that pose significant safety concerns. Operators must constantly be aware of people just 2-3 meters ahead,” explains an operator.

  • Visibility in Snow Conditions: Maintaining clear visibility and preventing accidents during periods of heavy snowfall. An operator mentions, “On snowy days, the road becomes bumpy and visibility is severely reduced.”

Forklift at the NIkka Whiskey distillary showing the FSS's AI camera and main processing unit


Nikka Whisky turned to the VIA Mobile360 Forklift Safety System to address these multifaceted challenges. This state-of-the-art AI-driven solution combines edge AI technology and cloud connectivity to elevate safety and efficiency.

The system’s key features directly tackled the distillery’s problems:

  • Pedestrian Detection: Real-time identification of pedestrians near forklifts, minimizing collision risks, especially in areas with intersecting paths.

  • Collision Alerts: Instant alerts to operators about pedestrians, aiding quick reactions even when visibility is limited (e.g., with raised skid steer buckets).

  • Driver Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of operator behavior reinforces adherence to safety protocols, promoting a culture of vigilance.

  • Data Integration and Analysis: Cloud-based optional data collection and analysis allows for proactive safety improvements and predictive maintenance, critical for minimizing downtime in harsh weather.


The impact of the VIA Mobile360 system has been substantial:

  • Significant Safety Improvements: Reduced incidents and near-misses involving forklifts and pedestrians.

  • Enhanced Visitor and Worker Confidence: Increased trust in the distillery’s commitment to safety.

  • Operational Efficiency Gains: Improved workflow and reduced downtime.

  • Operator Confidence: Operators feel more secure and supported in their daily tasks.

Forklift at the NIkka Whiskey distillary showing the FSS's AI camera and display panel


Nikka Whisky Hokkaido Yoichi Distillery’s proactive approach to safety through the implementation of the VIA Mobile360 Forklift Safety System demonstrates a dedication to both tradition and innovation. By harnessing VIA’s solution, the establishment has not only protected its workforce and visitors, but also ensured the continued smooth operation of its unique and cherished distillery.