PROOF CREATIVE CELEBRATES THE OPENING OF VIRTÙ AT THE NEW FOUR SEASONS HOTEL TOKYO AT OTEMACHI


TOKYO 12 October 2020 In a city famous for its glamorous hotels and high-rise bars, a luxurious new hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, made its sparkling debut on 1st September. Nestled on the 39th floor of the new hotel, VIRTÙ is a destination hotel bar that celebrates the long, intersecting history of two capitals, Paris and Tokyo. Opened in collaboration with Proof Creative and the renowned Japanese Design Studio Spin, VIRTÙ offers French-inspired drinking and spectacular views of the bright megapolis that is modern Tokyo.

The golden thread at VIRTÙ is Paris’ and Tokyo’s common position as global capitals of style, now and throughout recent history. As a result, VIRTÙ is a celebration of the potent cultural influence of these two cities, spanning the arts, music, fashion, design, people and architecture. The name ‘VIRTÙ’ signifies the virtues of humankind and their influence on drinking etiquettes.

The gorgeous setting is courtesy of the award-winning team at Spin and centers on a main room with seating for 78 guests, an intimate crescent bar and a unique communal long table that spans the length of the room, inviting guests to interact in a family-style setting. The design fuses French art deco patterns and materials with Japanese textiles and craftsmanship.

Warm hues, soft fabrics and a distinctive checkered backbar at VIRTÙ

The arrival at VIRTÙ marked by an entrance library, home to a working collection of books by the world’s most prominent food and beverage authors. This collection supplemented with hand-picked cocktail artefacts and antiques, each with their own drinking story to tell. Tucked in a hidden walkway behind the library is the Spirits Chambers, which house a collection of the world’s finest French brandies as well as barrels and demijohns of spirits ageing experiments by the VIRTÙ bar team.

The entrance library at VIRTÙ

A wall of French Cognac in the Spirits Chamber

The bar and beverage program at VIRTÙ is led by respected Head Bartender Joshua Perez, an American known for his work at a series of legendary New York City cocktail institutions, including Booker & Dax, Experimental Cocktail Club and Milk & Honey. Fluent in Japanese, Perez was drawn by the prospect of returning to Japan to oversee a flagship hotel bar in a culture for which he has a deep appreciation.

Under Perez’s stewardship, guests can expect irreverent and detailed Japanese drinking rituals infused with classic French sensibility. Cocktails at VIRTÙ revolve around seven human virtues: Mercy, Loyalty, Justice, Honesty, Honour, Respect, and Bravery. The interlinking of drinking etiquettes and the strong social code of Japanese culture is purposeful, providing guests an intuitive guide when selecting a cocktail.

Notes Perez, “We’ve taken each virtue to represent a different style or category of cocktail to guide guests along. We start with ‘Mercy’ being low ABV aperitif-style cocktails, ‘Respect’ are spirit-forward, and we end on ‘Bravery’ with more experimental and esoteric drinks. The cocktails combine minimal Japanese styling, fresh local produce, with epitome French flavours, liqueurs and fine aged spirits.

The Takara Cocktail

The Champs de Lavende Cocktail

In collaboration with Tokyo’s YYG brewery, the VIRTÙ team have developed ‘Saison de Tokyo,’ a traditional French-style farmhouse ale. The craft beer is made exclusively for Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi and brewed in the YYG brewery in the Yoyogi district.

As is fitting, the food at VIRTÙ highlights the culinary traditions of these two culinary capitals. The bar menu is provided by the neighboring est restaurant, helmed by acclaimed Michelin Star chef Guillaume Bracaval and plays on French cuisine with endemic Japanese ingredients. One of our favourites is the Gyu Katsu Sando, a decadent wagyu beef sandwich on house-made toasted milk bun with VIRTÙ ‘bulldog’ sauce.

The aural direction aligns with the French and Japanese influence, drawing on influential French and Japanese musicians from the 1940s through present day. All expertly curated by the musical styling experts Bellosound. 

The opening of the new hotel and its elegant food and beverage offerings has been led by Regional Vice President and General Manager Andrew De Brito, along with Hotel Manager Anthony Tschudin. “Four Seasons Tokyo at Otemachi is in the perfect spot for guests to experience the best of Tokyo as we bring a freshness to the city,” notes De Brito, “In Japan, the art of hospitality is known as omotenashi; here at Four Seasons, it is how we take care of our guests every day.”

VIRTÙ is a project three years in the making and the latest in a long series of collaborations between Proof Creative and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, dating back to the opening of Manhattan Bar in 2014 and including the acclaimed Caprice Bar in Hong Kong, Charles H. in Seoul and Bar Trigona in Kuala Lumpur. VIRTÙ development work was led by Spirits Evangelist Bobby Carey, with support from Creative Director Jason Williams and Creative Project Coordinator Jonathan Teo.

“Four Seasons Asia has developed a reputation for beverage excellence, and we have every confidence that VIRTÙ and Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi are another step in that journey. It has been an honour to collaborate with Andrew, Anthony, Joshua and their entire team on this latest Four Seasons landmark opening,” notes Carey.


VIRTÙ is now open to the public. For reservations, point your cursor to  https://www.fourseasons.com/otemachi/dining/restaurants/virtu/ or restaurant.otemachi@fourseasons.com. Catch all the latest news on Instagram and Facebook.


ABOUT FOUR SEASONS HOTEL TOKYO AT OTEMACHI
In a city fuelled by boundless energy and defined by intriguing contrasts, Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi delivers next-generation luxury experiences with inimitable style. Soaring above the heart of the capital and offering expansive Imperial Palace views, Four Seasons puts you at centre stage, from sky-high gourmet meals on our rooftop terrace to gala business and social events at Tokyo’s best address.

For more information, please visit:
www.fourseasons.com/otemachi/


ABOUT DESIGN STUDIO SPIN
Design Studio Spin based in Tokyo are a distinguished interior design company serving for clients around the world who seek for the highest quality. Multiple award-winning creators of stunning Food & Beverage spaces, their high-profile work can be experienced throughout the globe.  They have previously worked closely with the Four Seasons at their Tianjin, St Petersburg, Bali, Cairo and Hong Kong Properties

For more information, please visit:
www.ds-spin.com


PROOF CREATIVE COLLABORATES WITH SIAM@SIAM DESIGN HOTEL TO OPEN PARADISE LOST IN BANGKOK


BANGKOK 11 September 2020 In a city renowned for its rooftop bars, this week marked the opening of a new standard bearer for open air drinking: Paradise Lost at the Siam@Siam Design Hotel. A neo-tropical bar and social habitat, Paradise Lost is a signature project for the team at Siam@Siam.

As the name foreshadows, Paradise Lost is inspired by a post-apocalyptic world, one in which climate change and environmental trauma have banished lush, tropical biosystems to the hazy reaches of distant memory. The only hope for resurrection lies in sustainable and thoughtful living.

Led by Managing Director Khun Pranai Phornprapha and General Manager Justin Swart, Paradise Lost is more than two years in the making. In collaboration with Proof Creative and award-winning Australian designers MASH, the Siam@Siam team developed a multi-level, maze-like venue with 360-degree views of the Bangkok skyline. Featuring three distinct bars, stunning wraparound ledges, a multitude of hideaways for guests, bold neon lighting, and liberal dashes of neo-tropical colour, Paradise Lost is all about escapism.

“We always wanted to create something very conceptual, a hidden sanctuary which allows us to spread the message about sustainability,” notes Phornprapha, “We would like for our visitors to feel like they’ve entered another world and hope that both locals and tourists will enjoy our unique twist on the modern bar experience.”

The drinks program at Paradise Lost is managed by Head Bartender and ‘Good Times Guide’ Gabriel Lowe. Lowe is the creator of Black Bear in Bogotá and a former bar manager at Locanda, Black Cat and The Battery in San Francisco. He was listed in Zagat’s 30 Under 30, honouring up-and-coming food and drink talents of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gabriel Lowe, Head Bartender and ‘Good Times Guide’ at Paradise Lost

The food and beverage on offer at Paradise Lost showcases the sustainable practices that a neo-tropical future might entail:  eliminating single use plastic and glass, local and hyperlocal sourcing, upcycling of ingredients and working with brands and suppliers that share the same sustainability ethos. Drinking vessels, coasters, furniture, and more throughout the venue are made from reused or recycled materials.

Upcycled drinks coasters from salvaged plastics by BOPE in Chiang Mai

Paradise Lost is also a proud partner venue for ecoSPIRITS, the world’s first low-carbon, low-waste spirits distribution technology. Through this partnership, nearly every cocktail served in the venue saves 150g of carbon emissions and supports reforestation through the planting of Paradise Lost geo-tagged trees in the endangered Kalimantan rainforest area in Borneo, Indonesia.

Sustainable doesn’t mean there is a deficit of fun or flavour. Drinks at Paradise Lost are as bold and delightful as the interiors. The cocktail menu plays homage to disaster manuals of pre-apocalypse times, offering guests a step-by-step guide to making the most of their moment. Lowe says, “Every drink is a miniature vacation, a moment of escape and enjoyment in a world where reality can be all too weighty.”

The WWW (What We Worship) Cocktail

Drinks such as the WWW (What We Worship), a play on the colours and flavours of Bangkok and Thailand. A colourful combination of low-carbon Tried & True Straight Wheat Vodka, blended with Rinomato Aperitivo and Rinomato Americano; bolstered with native citrus and local passionfruit. WWW is a drink that evokes the venue: vivid, bold and uncompromising.

The Invisible Garden Cocktail

Drinks feature world-class spirits, a new standard for Bangkok’s rooftop bars, as well as surprising and thoughtful local flavours. The Invisible Garden Cocktail is a spin on the classic Bloody Mary, featuring low-carbon Widges Gin, clarified tomato, celery, Thai peppers & lemon, salt and some heat from Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture - with a Thai chili dust rim.


The focus on quality, sustainable sourcing flows throughout the other drinks categories too, including the venue’s bespoke Paradise Pilsner, a tropical- leaning light and dry refresher with subtle sour mango nuances created in collaboration with the Rise of Civilization brewery in Saigon, Vietnam.

Food at Paradise Lost is just as thoughtful and colourful. Sitting above the hotel’s award-winning creative Thai restaurant, TAAN, and sharing a kitchen, the Paradise Lost food menu adopts its sister restaurant’s celebration of Thailand’s food artisans and their unique ingredients. One of the highlights is the Prawn Steak Roll, native fried prawn heads, layered with sour chili cream, onion marmalade & a burst of citrus, on a toasted butter bun.

The Native Prawn Steak Roll

With a rotating list of DJs and performance artists, Paradise Lost promises to be a beacon of escape, hospitality and positive energy in the Bangkok skyline. Just what 2020 needs, we suppose.

Paradise Lost is open to the public from 6 September 2020. For reservations, make your way to paradiselostbkk.com/ or info@paradiselostbangkok.com. Follow along on Instagram or Facebook.


ABOUT SIAM@SIAM
Established in 2007, Siam@Siam Design Hotels takes inspiration from the diverse and colourful neighbourhoods that surround its properties in Bangkok and Pattaya. Believing that exceptional hospitality goes hand in hand with cutting-edge design, nightlife, and culinary experiences, the hotel group boasts a growing portfolio of bars, restaurants and public spaces. Siam@Siam Bangkok is home to Paradise Lost, a bold and creative rooftop cocktail bar, as well as TAAN, a modern Thai fine-dining restaurant, and Chim Chim, a vibrant all-day diner (coming late 2020).

For more information, please visit:
www.siamatsiam.com


ABOUT MASH
Mash is an interdisciplinary design studio creating spaces and brands that ultimately help their clients achieve hospitality success. Coining the phrase ‘Art-itechture’ Dom Roberts the founder has created an emporium of innovation blurring the lines between interior design, branding and artistic endeavour. They are designers and brand-creators, bringing wonder and imagination to their clients’ venues. Their clients hail from all around this small world of ours. With projects completed in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Bangkok to name a few. They are currently working on new endeavours in Tokyo and London. Mash is inspired to create holistic spaces where harmony between all the parts come together to create a complete venue experience. Founder Dom Roberts believes interior design and branding must co-exist and work together to enhance and create truely amazing hospitality venues.

Their work has won multiple accolades including D&AD Awards in London and Graphis Awards in New York. Their work has also been displayed in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA).

For more information, please visit:
www.mashdesign.com.au


TERAI INDIA DRY GIN LAUNCHES IN COLLABORATION WITH THE PROOF CREATIVE TEAM


SINGAPORE 3 August 2020 – The modern era of craft distilling has well and truly arrived in India, home to one of the world’s largest spirits markets. This month marks the launch of an extraordinary new offering: TERAI India Dry Gin from the India Craft Spirit Co. in Behror, Rajasthan. 

Inspired by the Indian region of ‘Terai,’ which is a strip of fertile marshland running along the foothills of the Himalayas, TERAI is carefully crafted to pay homage to these notions of being lush, bountiful and fresh. The Swarups, the family behind the India Craft Spirit Co., have a history of agriculture in the region dating back to the 1700s and opened one of the first distilleries in India in 1958. TERAI India Dry Gin is their first contribution to India’s new era of distilling.

The verdant Himalayan foothills in India

Best known for its signature bar projects, the Proof Creative team worked closely with Shekhar Swarup, the founder, over two years in the development of the gin itself, the visitor experience at the distillery, and the storytelling and launch plans. The assignment? Develop an emblematic gin that sets a new benchmark for India craft spirits and one that can hold its own in the Second Golden Age of fine drinking.

“Our commitment over the last two years has been driven by a devotion to our land, our experience in agriculture and distillation, a spirit of craft and the love of a good drink! We are immensely proud of how this journey has shaped TERAI India Dry Gin and are delighted at its launch,” says Shekhar.

TERAI India Dry Gin is a modern interpretation of a traditional London Dry gin, the result of countless recipe trials drawing on India’s rich botanical and spice offering and testing in some of Asia’s best bars. The final recipe showcases 11 botanicals – juniper berries, tulsi (or holy basil), coriander, fennel, lemon peel, orange peel, lavender, rose, almond, angelica and orris root. Many are sourced from Asia’s largest spice market Khari Baoli in New Delhi.

TERAI’s commitment to craftsmanship exemplifies the best qualities of modern independent spirits. The gin is produced in a purpose-built distillery, using traditional one-shot distillation in the country’s first copper pot still from Carl GmbH. The neutral spirit at the heart of TERAI is produced from rice at a neighbouring distillery owned by the Swarup family. The glass bottle draws inspiration from pillars in ancient Indian architecture, and each stopper is handmade in the traditional style of India’s Channapatna craft. On the label an intricate representation of the botanicals has been illustrated in the design of vintage Indian coins.

“This is a world class gin,” notes Jason Williams, Proof Creative Director and Master of Gin at ATLAS Singapore, “Shekhar and the Swarup family should be rightly proud of their new addition to the global spirits landscape. With the launch of TERAI, and other quality India craft gins, the world of gin has come full circle to its historical roots in India. We could not be more delighted to have played a role in TERAI’s development.”

The TERAI botanical mix gives the gin a bold, dry spice profile, while the tulsi, a signature botanical, and the more floral elements add freshness and vibrancy. As a modern London Dry Gin, TERAI India Dry Gin works beautifully in a classic G&T with fresh lemon and mint or in a classic Southside cocktail.

TERAI India Dry Gin is available in New Delhi starting this month and will soon be available across India. A launch in overseas markets are planned for later in the year.


About India Craft Spirit Co.
India Craft Spirit Co. is an initiative undertaken by Globus Spirits Ltd. one of India’s leading grain distillers. Within this initiative, Shekhar Swarup, Founder, aspires to create contemporary spirits inspired by Indian produce and culture. Shekhar is a 4th generation distiller and part of the Swarup family which has been involved in agriculture in India since the 1700s. The family has been part of the burgeoning spirits industry of India with the family’s first distillery that was established in 1958. India Craft Spirit Co. has established its own small-batch craft distillery in Rajasthan and TERAI India Dry Gin is its first offering.


BRASS LION DISTILLERY PARTNERS WITH PROOF & COMPANY TO EXPAND IN ITS SINGAPORE HOME MARKET


SINGAPORE 13 July 2020 – Brass Lion Distillery, Singapore’s leading craft spirits producer, has appointed Proof & Company as their distribution partner in the city state. This announcement brings together two home-grown champions of independents spirits and cocktail culture.

“Local is a big part of the future of fine drinking. Across our Asia Pacific markets, Proof & Company is committed to championing the very best of local and regional distilling – and Brass Lion certainly fits the bill.” says Richelle South, Proof & Company’s Commercial Director, Singapore. “We look forward to working closely with Jamie, Kino and the entire team to continue Brass Lion’s rise as the benchmark distillery in this cocktail and spirits-loving city.”

Founded in 2018 by Jamie Koh, after a six-year journey of development, Brass Lion Distillery is Singapore’s first full-fledged micro distillery. Notes Jamie, “I first conceptualised the idea of a Singaporean distillery producing uniquely Singaporean spirits back in 2012. We believe Singapore is the perfect place to create a holistic distillery experience, given how the cocktail and spirits scene here has matured in recent years. At Brass Lion Distillery, we place a strong focus on the quality of our product.”

Jamie Koh, Founder & CEO, Brass Lion Distillery

The heart of the 4,000-square-foot standalone distillery is the ground floor, where small batch spirits are produced in a hand-crafted 150-litre copper still, then hand-labelled and hand-bottled. The distillery also features an urban herb garden, which features an assortment of herbs like lemongrass, rosemary, peppermint and kaffir lime leaves, specifically cultivated for use in the distillery and the second-floor tasting room.

The second floor of the distillery is also home to a retail corner, spirits research lab. The tasting room, serves iterations of gin-based cocktails and light bites that pair well with these drinks. Tours and workshops run on a regular basis, allowing spirits lovers to learn more about the art of distilling and customise their very own bottle of gin.

Brass Lion’s flagship spirit, the Singapore Dry Gin, is a tropical and distinctly Singaporean gin that evokes the island’s sense of place. Crafted in the New World-style, gin draws inspiration from the region’s centuries-old spice trade, which brought a plethora of Asian herbs and spices to the island.

The flagship dry gin is complemented by the Butterfly Pea Gin, which is a floral spirit infused with butterfly pea flowers and lavender. Butterfly pea flowers, a staple in local Peranakan cuisine, gives the gin its deep blue hue. With the addition of tonic or citrus, the gin morphs from a deep blue into a vibrant indigo.

The distillery’s other current release is the Pahit Pink Gin, a classic pink gin with a local, historical twist. First popularised by the British Royal Navy as a remedy for sea sickness in colonial Malaya, a mix of gin and bitters became known in the Straits region as Gin Pahit (or bitter gin). This blend of Singapore Dry Gin and Brass Lion Singapore Bitters is a warm, full-bodied spiced gin.

Kino Soh, Brand Ambassador, Brass Lion Distillery

The new partnership aims to make Brass Lion Singapore’s gin of choice. Proof & Company will expand Brass Lion’s existing on-trade and off-trade presence through its strong client network of national retailers, leading cocktail venues and major hotels. The Proof & Company and Brass Lion teams will work closely together to provide enhanced levels of customer support and engagement for the rapidly growing base of consumers and bartenders who are drinking local.

Kino Soh, Brand Ambassador for Brass Lion Distillery, “I am delighted to now work with the Proof & Company to spread Singapore pride in the trade. Please do come spend time with us through the distillery experience and more!”

About Brass Lion Distillery

Launched in 2018, Brass Lion Distillery is Singapore’s first full-fledged micro-distillery offering a selection of high-quality craft spirits using local ingredients. Inspired by the flourishing spice trade that made Singapore a trading hub in the 19th century, Brass Lion Distillery uses familiar Southeast Asian botanicals to create distinctive spirit creations that reflect Singapore’s heritage as a cultural melting pot. The debut offering is the Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin, featuring 22 botanicals, with strong Asian influence, including pomelo peel, tangerine peel, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lemongrass, chrysanthemum and torch ginger flower. Distilled using a traditional 150-litre copper pot still, the gin presents floral and citrusy notes with a full-bodied mouth-feel. The distillery also houses a herb garden, a R&D lab and a tasting room with drinks that take inspiration from the gin’s various botanicals. Tours and workshops are also available for participants to sign-up and learn more about the art of distilling and customising their very own bottle of gin.

For more information, please visit www.brassliondistillery.com


Brass Lion is now available for Singapore trade customers through Proof & Company’s B2B Portal or email office@proofandcompany.com to place an order. Consumers can purchase Brass Lion at EC Proof and other leading Singapore online retailers.


PROOF & COMPANY CHINA PARTNERS WITH LIBER WINES


SHANGHAI 20 May 2020 – Proof & Company China has formed a strategic partnership with LIBER, Ltd. that combines Proof & Company’s rapidly growing national distribution platform with LIBER China’s extensive private client and corporate network to expand the sales capacities of both groups. This partnership also allows Proof & Company clients to access LIBER’s portfolio of crafted wines and champagnes across China.

This three-year exclusive partnership builds on a multi-year relationship between Proof & Company and Stéphane Moreau, Co-Founder of LIBER. In 2019, Stephane was appointed as Senior Advisor, China for Proof & Company. In this role, he is a member of the group’s advisory board.

“While Proof & Company is not a wine company, we benefit greatly from a strong partner in this adjacent category. As we launch the ecoSPIRITS offering of pouring craft spirits, it is also wonderful to have an exceptional champagne to complement our craft spirits lineup,” says Christopher Lowder, General Manager, China. “The LIBER team also maintain an excellent network of luxury corporate clients, and we have been able to successfully collaborate in supplying these clients with some of our premium spirits products such as Ferrand Cognacs and single-cask Scotch whiskies.”

Jean-Marie Pratt from the LIBER x Proof & Company team serves Presidents Xi and Macron in Shanghai in 2019

LIBER manages an exclusive portfolio of fine wines mainly from Rhône Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne. Their wine portfolio features premium, terroir-driven brands such as Billecart-Salmon, Nicolas Rossignol, Confuron-Cotetido, Jasmin and Gerin. LIBER’s team in Mainland China includes wine industry veterans Queenie Xia and Jean-Marie Pratt, both of whom serve as national ambassadors for these high-quality brands in China’s luxury hotels, gastronomic restaurants and networks of private and corporate clients. In addition to Mainland China, both Proof & Company and LIBER have distribution operations in Hong Kong and Macau, where they similarly collaborate through shared offerings to both on-premise and private clients.

Billecart Salmon in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, France

“The partnership between LIBER and Proof & Company is truly the result of a common vision, shared values and a strong will to build together a platform to develop a customer-centric strategy for our independent crafted wines and spirits. I also feel extremely proud to be a Senior Advisor for our group operation in Mainland China, which is a major priority for both companies,” notes Stéphane Moreau.

The partnership in China allows the combined salesforce to access a broader base of clients, which bolsters opportunities while streamlining operational costs. Both measures will help the partners strengthen their financial position and service quality during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


About LIBER, Ltd.
LIBER, founded by Connor McClay, Bertrand Carquillat and Stéphane Moreau, is an independent privately-owned company dedicated to crafted wines, champagnes and spirits. LIBER operates in Greater China with a team of dedicated professionals who live and work by their shared values: Passion, Respect, Integrity and Accountability. LIBER activities are structured around four divisions, each focusing on specific customer needs: Distribution, Servicing, Consulting and Open Market Sourcing.

For more information, please visit www.liberwines.com


OPEN LETTER: LET'S COME BACK STRONGER, TOGETHER

SINGAPORE, 13 May 2020

To Our Industry Community,

For the first time in nearly nine years, the Edison lightbulb above the entrance at 28 HongKong Street in Singapore is dark. That simple, welcoming symbol of hospitality will stay dark until at least 1 June, when Singapore’s “circuit breaker” lockdown is tentatively scheduled to be lifted.

28 HongKong Street, the cocktail bar where the Proof & Company journey started in 2011

These past 12 weeks have been the most difficult that all of us at Proof & Company have seen in our lifetimes in the hospitality business. COVID-19 has been devastating for the bar, restaurant and hotel industry in Asia Pacific. It has brought about a level of stress regarding the present and uncertainty about the future that can be difficult to grasp. Many of the clients who have supported us for years are hurting even more than we are.

This pandemic has forced all of us to make painful decisions. At Proof & Company, no decisions have been more painful than parting ways with beloved team members who had such bright futures with us. Through it all, our approach to the crisis has been straightforward: to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our team, our clients, our brand partners and our shared future.

And yet we count ourselves amongst the fortunate. Something extraordinary has emerged from this crisis in recent weeks: an unprecedented sense of togetherness. All across the region, the industry is coming together in remarkable and unexpected ways. If we are all lucky, these changes will strengthen our industry for years to come.

To our team, the sacrifices we are making together are difficult, but they are making the difference. To our warehousing and delivery teams, who have worked through the lockdowns across the region, thank you. You are part of an army of essential workers who are keeping economies on life support. Your continued belief in our mission, your dedication to our clients and your positive spirit inspire us.

To our clients, the bars, restaurants, hotels, wholesalers and retailers of Asia Pacific, you are the frontline in this crisis and you are being hit the hardest. As you pivot to new business models overnight, you are sharing your learnings with peers and competitors alike. Look up Hope + Sesame in Guangzhou, China and their excellent online COVID recovery content. You won’t regret it. On our side, we are doing everything we can to be there for you – by extending credit terms, by helping you launch bottled cocktail programs, and by supporting local COVID-19 industry relief initiatives like #lovetowuhan. Is there more we can do to help? Please reach out.

To our global bar family, your perseverance, creativity and tireless energy in the face of historic adversity inspire us every day. Your camaraderie is of benefit to us all. Nearly 2,000 of you have signed up for our complimentary COVID-19 JERRY beverage learning, looking to sharpen skills and knowledge during the lockdowns so you can take even better care of guests when the good times return. We cannot wait to see you over the bar when they do.

To our brand partners, almost without exception, you have asked a simple question, “How can we help?” You have extended payment terms, air freighted shipments to avoid stock outs, and generally had our collective backs. Your support ensures that we can serve our clients without interruption, as they navigate this difficult period. We will not forget it. We are proud to represent you.

To our regional governments, your COVID-19 support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, such as the JobKeeper program in Australia, is giving everyone a fighting chance – and saving countless jobs. We are fortunate to have such capable, action-oriented government leadership. Asia Pacific was hit first, and hit hard, but it will do its part to help lead the world out of this crisis.

To our shareholders, you have always believed in the Proof & Company vision. Your steadfast support, particularly in a crisis of this scale, puts us in a stronger position to help our teams, our clients and our hospitality communities.

This togetherness translates into resilience. As hospitality venues in China, Hong Kong and, soon, New Zealand reopen, this resilience is on full display. It gives us all hope.

A busy service at 28 HongKong Street in happier times

We now have every confidence that we – as a community, as an industry, and as a company – will beat COVID-19. Yes, the post-COVID world will be different. Hospitality will be different, possibly for a long time to come. The road back will take time, and there will no doubt be setbacks along the way. Like you, we are using this time to reflect, to absorb the lessons we are being taught, and to adapt to the new normal that will follow.

More than anything, we are grateful to be a part of this community. It may be amongst the hardest hit, but it is also the most unified. The light outside 28 HongKong Street will most certainly come back on in due time.

When it does, let’s come back stronger, together.

Spencer Forhart Chairman  I   Paul Gabie  Chief  Executive Officer



MEDIA FEATURE: THESE ASIAN BARS ARE PIONEERING THE NEXT WAVE OF THE CRAFT COCKTAIL REVOLUTION

Published Feb 13, 2020 by Hong Kong Tatler   Written by Dan Q. Dao

Thank you to Dan Q. Dao and the team at Tatler Magazine Hong Kong for the excellent feature on the Asia bar scene, including a selection of the regional bars developed with the assistance of the Proof Creative Team: 28 HongKong Street (Singapore), ATLAS (Singapore), Pontiac (Hong Kong), Manhattan (Singapore). It is wonderful to see so many of our friends celebrated for their good work, especially during these challenging times.

Twenty years after the craft cocktail revolution launched in New York City, Asia is pioneering the next frontier of drink-slinging innovation. Bridging Western tradition with disciplined craftsmanship plus a treasure trove of untapped local ingredients, Asian bars are creating some of the most exciting and outré cocktails in the world.

The first thing you see is an eight-metre-tall gilded tower whose brightly lit shelves are neatly lined with seemingly hundreds of liquor bottles. Below, bartenders in crisp white blazers shake and stir with equal parts poise and bravado. You order a gin martini, which arrives in a custom etched coupe glass with one of those thin, rounded lemon peel twists floating on top. But even before you take a sip, you’ve already forgotten where (and when) you’re standing.

You’d be reasonably forgiven for losing yourself at Atlas, the legendary gin-centric bar that opened in Singapore in 2017 yet feels like New York City circa 1920. After all, the 7,400sqft bar is set in the lobby of Parkview Square, one of the island city-state’s iconic Art Deco skyscrapers whose grandiose bronze facade and stunning geometric designs were meant to mirror the style of Prohibition-era Gotham. Equally attention-grabbing is that soaring pillar of spirits: it’s holding 1,000 or so gins, whiskies and wines—all catalogued meticulously by producer, origin, type of still and more.

The lively scene at 28 Hong Kong Street, one of the bars that started the craft cocktail revolution in Singapore (Photo: Courtesy of Hong Kong Street)

Sitting at number eight in the annual World’s 50 Best Bars ranking, Atlas is Asia’s top performer on the list. Last year, another Singaporean bar, Manhattan, came in third overall—beating out all of its competition in the United States. Suffice to say: as far as international regard is concerned, Asia’s finest bars would hold their own if they were picked up and dropped down in any of the world’s cocktail capitals.

Now with the undivided attention of the drinks world, however, Asia is pioneering a new, exciting frontier for cocktail culture. While the more developed scenes in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo push the envelope with creative concepts and untapped ingredients, newer emerging markets like Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City are taking note and vying fiercely for a place on the global stage. Challenges remain, of course—namely, a lack of resources, training and access to ingredients—but the competition is spirited and the thirst palpable.

RAISING THE BAR

It makes sense that Singaporean bars with a classic ethos would rake in the top honours in the West. After all, it was largely successful US, European and Australian bartenders and entrepreneurs who first saw fertile ground for a cocktail scene in relatively wealthy, globalised Singapore. In 2011, former New York City lawyers Spencer Forhart and Paul Gabie helped kickstart the Asian cocktail revolution with the opening of 28 Hong Kong Street, a then-unprecedented 55-seat speakeasy tucked away on a nondescript block in Singapore’s Chinatown. Nine years and countless accolades later, the bar remains remarkably faithful to its founding ethos: classics and original creations shaken and stirred to a hiphop and soul soundtrack.

The success of that bar would inspire Forhart and Gabie to launch Proof & Co, a bar-and spirits-focused creative agency that’s since become the pioneering force behind top establishments in Singapore—including Atlas and Manhattan—and throughout the rest of the Asia-Pacific region. Services include menu and concept development, but also a much-needed supply chain, particularly for spirits, liqueurs and barware not yet available in Asia. With a flagship office in Singapore, Proof & Co has been instrumental in establishing the city-state as the modern capital of cocktail culture.

“Singapore was historically a trading post and financial hub, so you have different cultures and ethnicities coming together to promote creativity,” explains Jason Williams, a Queensland native who moved to the Lion City five years ago to serve as creative director for Proof & Co as well as Master of Gin at Atlas.

“There are tons of expats from the United States and elsewhere, along with a local middle class that have come up in a globalised economy. They experience cocktail culture elsewhere and bring it back here. And since food culture in Asia is so integral, people already have much a broader palate compared to in Australia, where I’m from. Here, they’re more willing to try new things, from smoky mezcals to European liqueurs.”

Photo: Courtesy of Atlas

Yet it would be inaccurate to give Singapore sole credit for birthing cocktail culture in the vastness that is Asia. Those with a longer memory may recall that the US food magazine Bon Appétit in 2008 proclaimed Tokyo to be “the cocktail capital of the world”—perhaps for the precision, craftsmanship and omotenashi (hospitality) of Japan’s buttoned-up bartenders. Often compared to other Japanese crafts like the tea ceremony or ikebana (flower arranging), Japanese bartending is a reflection of virtues like patience, respect and service.

It’s worth noting that many attributes of Japanese bar culture predate even the US’s own cocktail revolution. Indeed, even the late New York bartender Sasha Petraske cited the enthralling bartending performances put on at New York City’s Angel’s Share and other local Japanese-owned cocktail bars as inspiration for his legendary reinvented speakeasy Milk & Honey. And when Petraske’s disciple, Richard Boccato, began investigating the now ubiquitous use of “fancy,” hand-cut ice, he turned to a Japanese ice-sculpting studio in Queens, Okamoto Studio.

That early fascination with Japanese cocktail culture would soon be mirrored by a love for the cult genre of Japanese whisky—a product of Scottish-Japanese collaboration that emphasizes the meticulous selection of natural spring water and a ceremonial reverence for the art of blending. In 2015, when Suntory’s Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 won the title of World’s Best Whisky, the spirits market acknowledged, for the first time, that Asian distillers were a force to be reckoned with. These days, Suntory and its primary competitor Nikka are foraying into gins and vodkas made with Asian botanicals and citrus such as yuzu.

But while there are exceptions, Japan’s cocktail culture continues to be defined by a near obsession with a classic canon of drinks and a dedication to honing even the simplest techniques. “One time, I was talking to a Japanese bartender working at Mizunara: The Library in Hong Kong,” remembers Nick Braun, creative director of the Bangkok-based Umami Hospitality group. “I asked him what he’d been learning, and he said, ‘My gin and tonic isn’t quite right.’ That’s all he’d been working on for months: perfecting a gin and tonic. They do things perfectly, or not at all.”

That’s not to say that creativity has been altogether sacrificed: Hiroyasu Kayama, in particular, has been revered for plucking out lesser-known ingredients like Japanese peppers grown at his family farm and gula melaka (palm sugar) brought in from Malaysia. But broadly speaking, Tokyo, like New York City and London, is marked by a concrete identity that’s become easily recognisable to global cocktail fans—one of scientifically accurate measured pours, impeccable light-touch service and exactly timed cocktail shaking.

ALL IN THE MIX

More fast-paced streams of innovation might be found in second-wave Asian markets like Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taipei, but also particularly where a convergence of diverse cultures and widespread economic growth have given rise to newfound cultural, and thus cocktail, capitals: Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and notably Bangkok.

With emergent middle classes, many Southeast Asian cities are seeing land grabs for first iterations of global concepts like craft beer breweries, Third Wave coffee shops and classic cocktail bars. For both the people who drink cocktails and the people who make them, it’s a brave new world.

Photo: Courtesy of Pontiac

“The best thing about the bar scene in Southeast Asia is that it’s youthful and diverse,” says Williams, whose consulted on regional projects like the hyperlocal Trigona at the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur. “People are doing cool and crazy things—not just the cookie-cutter-style bars that you might see in different cities. There are also mutations of different concepts, whether that’s Ginza-style Japanese bars that also play heavy metal, or bars doing molecular mixology with all Southeast Asian ingredients.”

One standout of these exceedingly inventive hybrid concepts is Hong Kong’s Pontiac, a women-led, Coyote Ugly-esque neighborhood dive that oozes pure rock ’n’ roll. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, owner Beckaly Franks has been dubbed the First Lady of Hong Kong mixology for leading the city towards the trend of relaxed and inclusive cocktail bars that still shake up award-worthy drinks. “Before we opened in 2015, there were some great heavy hitters but mostly the scene was very exclusive,” Franks says. “That ‘you can’t sit with us’ mentality has flown the coop. There’s a spirit of collaboration in the scene.”

Franks is quick to earnestly shout out Pontiac’s peers, including Stockton (“They’re the OGs representing Hong Kong”), COA (“Jay Khan is the most honest, determined guy in the industry”) and Quinary (“Antonio Lai is a champion and a badass leader”), as inspirations for how she trains and mentors her staff. But Pontiac’s unique calling card is perhaps its multiculturalism: the staff has included people from the Philippines, Taiwan, Hungary, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, Brazil and the United States.

“Hong Kong is special in that we have a beautiful melting pot of cultures—everyone comes from a different background, so we have to learn to respect each other and how each of us does things,” Franks asserts, adding that that diversity translates directly onto the menu. “My bar manager Tracy Villegas, who is Filipino, created a Palamig Ti Punch—a classic agricole rum punch but made with the flavours of Palamig, a traditional drink in the Philippines.”

Photo: Courtesy of Stockton

Local ingredients likewise inform the ethos at Singapore’s Native, a three-year-old bar by luminary Vijay Mudaliar that looks and breathes like a classic Western cocktail bar except with a fixation on Asian ingredients (pandan leaves and Indian whisky, for instance) as well as locally procured artisan crafts (batik fabric aprons and locally crafted ceramic vessels). One notable drink, Antz, fuses salt-baked tapioca and coconut yogurt with aged cane juice and Thai agricole rum. The garnish? Crunchy Polyrhachis ants from Thailand nestled in a liquid nitrogen-frozen leaf with melting basil “cubes.”

“It took us a while to connect with our audience, as we work solely on local and regional produce and make no classics at the bar,” admits Mudaliar. “However, I think it was exciting for the local audience to rediscover ingredients used in our heritage—but in terms of a cocktail. We work on reconnecting our customers with tradition, farmers and foraged produce. Being indigenous to this part of the world, we really wanted to showcase not only the unique ingredients, but also give a sense of familiarity to the culture.”

More surface-level attempts to simply drop Southeast Asian flavours into classic cocktail formats have been at times misguided. Braun recalls an early moment in Bangkok’s cocktail renaissance in which Thai ingredients were used primarily in such forced applications with subpar results.

“Back then, it was tom yum-spiced cocktails, sticky rice infusions, and mango liqueurs—low-hanging fruit that weren’t very creative and didn’t mix well,” Braun says. “But now that more and more people are seeing Bangkok as a true cocktail city, we’re seeing interesting ways that the breadth and variety of Southeast Asian cuisines lend themselves perfectly to innovation. For example, things here are typically locally sourced. And while Western cuisine is generally quite wasteful, Asian cuisine focuses on eating the whole animal.”

Photo: Courtesy of Asia Today

Asia Today, the neon-lit bar that Braun opened with veteran Thai bartender Niks Anuman-Rajadhon in 2017, offers a masterclass in spotlighting local ingredients in thoughtful ways. “We focus our drinks around local wild honey from different regions, species and vintages, as honey is one of the most terroir-driven natural ingredients,” explains Anuman-Rajadhon.

A house daiquiri incorporates a honey variety from Khao Yai National Park, while the back bar showcases local ingredients like cocoa wine and various rums produced around Thailand. “European food has been pretty well explored in cocktails,” Braun adds. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the next new ingredient fads coming out of Asia.”

SHAPING THE SCENE

The retro interiors of Live Twice are inspired by a Japanese take on mid-century modern aesthetics (Photo: Courtesy of Jigger & Pony)

Asia’s rapid ascent in the bar world offers the continent’s top haunts an opportunity to shape the global conversation in terms of ingredients, techniques and trends. At the same time, more acclaim has turned a profession once deemed unworthy into a lucrative, sustainable industry.

“The prestige of being a bartender is small but growing in Asia—it’s now seen as a viable career path,” Williams says. “At Manhattan, we hired a strong Filipino contingent of bartenders who were used to working banquet situations. Five years later, most still work there and they’re travelling the world leading presentations on how to build one of the world’s best bars. That’s a huge metric of success for us.”

Indra Kantono, co-founder of Singapore’s pioneering Jigger & Pony group, which just launched its latest venue Live Twice, says a new generation of homegrown bartenders is emerging to helm and open their own bars. “It is already the case that home-grown bartenders are leading and opening exciting bars that take the cocktail scene to the next level and make it their own,” Kantono says. “The Jigger & Pony bar is managed by Jerrold Khoo, a Singaporean bartender who rose up the ranks from apprentice to bar manager at our group.”

Beyond their home bars, Asian bartenders have also earned acclaim through their performances at the world’s largest bartending competitions. At this year’s Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition it was a Thai talent, Ronnaporn “Neung” Kanivichaporn of Bangkok’s whimsical theatre-themed Backstage Cocktail Bar, who took home the crown with his basil-garnished take on a lighter, rum-based Bloody Mary. He was the first bartender representing an Asian country to win the competition.

Kanivichaporn notes that he’s not the only Thai making waves in global competitions, expressing excitement for peers like Arron Grendon of Tropic City, who won the Chivas Masters Global 2018 competition, and his Backstage colleague Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana, who bested the rest at Campari’s Asia-Pacific bartender competition.

“I’ve been thinking about Thai-born bartenders for a couple years—we are good enough now that we can make our country’s name global,” Kanivichaporn says. “We have a new generation of talented Thai bartenders. If they can get through the language barrier, I would love to see them share their ideas and passion on the world stage.”

Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan

But language is hardly the only struggle. In Ho Chi Minh City, several ambitious bars have emerged as hopeful champions for the still-nascent Vietnamese cocktail scene. Among them is Rabbit Hole, a recently opened but already beloved speakeasy that whisks revellers to a bygone, prewar era of Saigon with live jazz and subtly tweaked classics.

Co-owner Leon Nguyen cites poor access to ingredients as a major issue: “I have to source things in non-official ways, such as hand-carrying. That’s been the biggest challenge. We can’t even get Chartreuse, Cherry Heering or Pimm’s.”

Another obstacle is a lack of infrastructure for training. “Saigon fell behind because we didn’t have alcohol literacy yet,” Nguyen explains. “Vietnamese bars tried to copy popular Japanese concepts, but many times people don’t take the time to learn the basics.” But to improve training and education within his fledgling bar, Nguyen is not looking only to the West. Rather, he’s bringing in heavy hitters from Asia’s mighty cocktail scene for an ongoing Asia 50 Pop-Up Series at Rabbit Hole, featuring guest shifts from seminal regional bars like Ben Fiddich in Tokyo, Quinary in Hong Kong and its namesake Rabbit Hole Bangkok.

Nguyen is hopeful that with the right training, a little patience, and some inspiration from those who’ve come before that Vietnam might one day see one of its own bars in a coveted place on a World’s 50 Best Bars list. “After we opened, we saw more and more bars taking cocktails seriously and understanding classics,” Nguyen says. “That’s the greatest reward—being able to change something big-picture in Vietnam.”

From classically minded stalwarts to innovative newcomers, here are five bars worth visiting during your Asia cocktail bar tour:

1. Bangkok: Asia Today

Taking advantage of Bangkok’s Wild West allure, bartender Niks Anuman-Rajadhon bucks global cocktail trends and does things his own way. The ethos here is local: the menu prominently features Thai rum along with dozens of varieties of foraged wild honeys and lesser known ingredients like bai hor wor—a herb coming from the Pga K’nyau indigenous peoples of northern Thailand.


Cocktails at Asia Today in Bangkok’s Chinatown district put the spotlight on local ingredients such as cocoa wine and various Thai rums (Photo: Courtesy of Asia Today)

2. Ho Chi Minh City: Rabbit Hole

Advertising professional Leon Nguyen’s self-proclaimed avant-garde bar transports drinkers to pre-war Saigon. Art Deco furnishings, velvet curtains and live jazz sessions contribute to the image, while regularly rotating cocktails skew classic. One notable nouveau spirit to try: Hanoi’s small-batch Song Cai gin, a wholly Vietnamese bottling fused with hand-foraged botanicals and heirloom grains.


Rabbit Hole in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a new, speakeasy-style bar that is already beloved by patrons (Photo: Courtesy of Rabbit Hole)

3. Hong Kong: Pontiac

Pontiac is worth a visit for the music alone—a jukebox loaded with old and new rock anthems helps solidify the bar’s grungy street cred. It’s also one of Hong Kong’s most culturally progressive watering holes: female-led, with staff from Asia, Europe and the Americas. Its relaxed, devil-may-care attitude is encouraged by owner Beckaly Franks, who’s known to look the other way as her staff hop on the counter to pour shots for the crowd.


An original creation of Pontiac, a progressive Hong Kong bar founded by mixology maven, Beckaly Franks (Photo: Courtesy of Pontiac)

4. Singapore: Native

Offering the most straightforward interpretation of classic drink culture reimagined with local ingredients, Native, helmed by veteran Vijay Mudaliar, sets the standard for hyperlocal cocktail bars. Here, you grab a seat on a stool carved by a local carpenter to enjoy cocktails made with local rum and locally foraged herbs—while enjoying local music as you sip.


Drinks at Singapore’s Native are created using a hyper-local approach (Photo: Courtesy of Native)

5. Tokyo: Ben Fiddich

At this tiny Shinjuku institution, the whitesuited owner-bartender Hiroyasu Kayama slings cocktails using Japanese whiskies and spirits infused with herbs grown at his family farm. The journey to the bar is also notable: enter the nondescript building, take the lift to the ninth floor and search for the giant wooden doors that’ll transport you into a wood-bedecked den adorned in paintings and still-life fruit arrangements.


Photo: Courtesy of Ben Fiddich


DIPLOMÁTICO RUM JOINS PROOF & COMPANY AUSTRALIA, EXPANDS NATIONAL RETAIL FOOTPRINT


MELBOURNE 30 September 2019 – Commencing 1 October 2019, Diplomático Rum has appointed Proof & Company as their distributor in the Australian market. The acquisition builds on a seven-year partnership between the two companies in key Asia domestic markets and travel retail across Asia Pacific.

“We could not be more excited to bring this delicious liquid to the Australian bartender and consumer. We aim to build on Diplomático’s strong foundation here and develop it into a household name for lovers of rum and quality dark spirits alike,” says Paul Broadbent, Proof & Company General Manager, Australia & New Zealand.

Australia remains Diplomático’s most important Asia Pacific market. In keeping with this status, both companies are expanding their investment in Diplomático’s development. Sai Hamsala, Diplomático’s Melbourne-based Asia Pacific Brand Ambassador, will now be joined by Kate Mansour, in the newly created role of National Brand Manager, Australia for Diplomático. Mansour joins Proof & Company Australia and Diplomático with a wealth of spirits industry brand and marketing experience, including at Brown-Forman, where she helped oversee the growth of Woodford Reserve Bourbon and other premium brands in Australia.

‘It is a privilege to join Proof & Company and Diplomático to oversee the Australia market for this exceptional rum. I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting involved in the entrepreneurial culture that both companies are renowned for,” notes Mansour. In her new role, Mansour will be responsible for rolling out the “Heart of Rum” program across the country, with a focus on getting liquid on lips of this award-winning rum.

Diplomático is one of the fastest growing premium rums in Australia. Starting in late 2019, Coles Liquor Group will make Diplomático available in Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice Liquor Market locations. This builds on an existing nationwide presence with EDG Group through Dan Murphy’s and BWS stores and with independent liquor retailers.  Through Hamasala’s work over recent years, Diplomático also has a strong presence in leading bars and restaurants, which will see continued focus from the expanded team.

“Diplomático have been present in Australia for the last nine years thanks to the exceptional work carried out by the Baranows Emporium team. We are thankful for their work in building this foundation. Moving forward, we are excited to take Australia to the next level, from good to great, with the talented and passionate team at Proof & Company,” notes Alfonso Castillo,  Diplomático Asia Pacific Marketing Manager.


About Diplomático Rum
Diplomático is a super-premium rum from Venezuela. In 2018, Diplomático was awarded Wine Enthusiast’s prestigious “Spirit Brand of the Year,” the first-ever rum to win in this category. The Diplomático distillery is located at the foot of the Andes Mountains and is a family-owned brand inspired by the character of Don Juan Nieto Melendez, whose portrait is illustrated on its labels. Having produced top-quality spirits since 1959, Diplomático’s distillery combines traditional methods with modern technology to produce the finest of rums. The production area boasts great conditions for sugar cane and rum production including fertile lands, abundant water and a Caribbean climate. The team of award-winning Master Blenders works diligently to create unique and complex rums. The product range consists of the Tradition Range: Planas (aged up to 6 years), Mantuano (aged up to 8 years) and Reserva Exclusiva (aged up to 12 years), the Prestige Range: Single Vintage and Ambassador, both aged 12 years and finished in Spanish sherry casks for one and two years respectively, and a Special Edition: The Distillery Collection, featuring a Single Batch Kettle rum, a Single Barbet column rum and a Pot Still rum. For more information, please visit www.rondiplomatico.com.


URBANBAR LAUNCHES ASIA BARWARE HUB AND ONLINE STORE IN COLLABORATION WITH PROOF & COMPANY


SINGAPORE, 19 August 2019 – UrbanBar, a leading United Kingdom designer of premium bar tools and glassware, has launched a Singapore-based stock hub and online store (www.urbanbar.sg) to serve the rapidly growing Asia cocktail and bar scene. This premium barware hub, which will be operated in collaboration with Proof & Company, is the first of its kind in the region.

“We have witnessed the increase in premium cocktail bars, spirits distribution and premium drinks culture across Asia.” notes Nick Andrews, “After a number of years building our position in the region, we are now extremely pleased to be working with the team at Proof & Company to offer our full range online and direct to a number of Asian countries. We are stocking and supplying Asia from Asia.”

By holding UrbanBar stocks in Singapore, and allowing consumers and trade clients to purchase online for the first time, UrbanBar and Proof & Company will be able to reduce prices, shorten lead time for orders, and offer improved customer service and support. With the launch of the new store, online ordering and shipping service will be open to customers in Singapore, China, Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea. Trade clients of Proof & Company in Singapore will also be able to order UrbanBar items through the new Proof & Company online trade portal.

“The dramatic rise of Asia’s cocktail scene means the demand for proper tools, glassware and other accessories of the Second Golden Age – oak barrels for cocktail ageing, for instance – has never been greater,” notes Bobby Carey, Spirits Evangelist at Proof & Company “We find that trade clients, in particular, have suffered due to the lack of premium options available locally and the long lead times for overseas orders. We are excited to be able to finally address these two challenges through this expanded collaboration with UrbanBar.”

To celebrate the launch of the new online store, customers who register and place their first order by 30 September 2019 can use code SAVE5 for a special 5% launch discount.


About UrbanBar
Urban Bar is a leading United Kingdom-based designer and producer of luxury barware and glassware. They have been developing products for almost forty years and continue to develop and learn new techniques that enables them to produce cutting edge items and keep pace with the evolution of mixology and drinking culture. They do not release an item unless they are entirely confident in its design, functionality, quality and proud enough to allow it to carry their name. For more information, please visit www.urbanbar.com.


PROOF & COMPANY COMPLETES SGD 11M RAISE LED BY AGLAIA FAMILY OFFICE TO FUND ITS CONTINUED APAC GROWTH

SINGAPORE, 12 JULY 2019 – Proof & Company, the independent spirits company headquartered in Singapore, today announced that it has closed a growth capital round totalling SGD 11 million led by Aglaia Family Office. A significant portion of the round was taken up by the company’s existing investors. With this closing, Proof & Company has become one of Asia Pacific’s most valuable independent spirit companies.

The funding will support the growth of the group’s APAC spirits distribution platform, including continued team development in Australia and China, along with inventory expansion at the company’s stock hubs in Singapore, Shanghai and Melbourne. The funding will also support the company’s innovation initiatives, such as JERRY, its SaaS-based hospitality education service, and True Believers, its vehicle for developing and distributing affordable craft spirit brands.

“Proof & Company’s disruptive approach to independent spirits is experiencing nearly unlimited growth opportunities. Consumer markets across APAC continue to develop at an extraordinary pace and regional preferences are coming to align with global preferences. This investment will allow us to deepen our distribution in the region while allowing our innovation initiatives to gain broad market access,” said Spencer Forhart, Chairman of Proof & Company.

Over the past year, Proof & Company has grown its team from 70 to 100, opened an office in Shenzhen, and completed the integration of its Neat Spirits Australia and Neat Spirits New Zealand acquisitions. Building on this momentum, the company will now use this funding to increase inventory levels across the region and reinforce what has become the sector’s only APAC-wide platform for independent spirit brands.

“Proof & Company has positioned itself as one of the leading independent spirits companies in APAC. We are excited to support the business as it continues to capture the strong growth we are witnessing in the craft and premium spirit segments, ” said Patrick O’Regan, Head of Investments at Aglaia Family Office.

“Proof & Company has developed an innovative business model with strong growth potential. JPJ Invest is very comfortable with this investment. “, noted J. Peter Jessen, Chairman and CEO of JPJ Invest Pte Ltd, who will also join the Board of Directors as an outside director.


About Aglaia Family Office
Aglaia is a capital markets-licensed multi-family office headquartered in Singapore. Founded in 2006, Aglaia provides bespoke family office services to ultra high net worth families, trusts, and foundations across the globe. Aglaia adopts an endowment approach to investing, establishing a bespoke portfolio that will preserve and grow capital through generations. Aglaia’s infrastructure and resources are dedicated to sourcing and evaluating the best investment ideas and opportunities across public and private markets globally. For more information, visit: www.aglaiaim.com

About JPJ Invest
JPJ Invest is a member of the Jebsen & Jessen Family Enterprise. Established in January 2016, it serves as an investment platform providing a home for SME businesses without any geographical or industry sector restrictions. JPJ Invest is focused on both active and passive investments in businesses with impeccable standards and governance, solid track records and transparent business models. The team at JPJ Invest are comfortable to take on responsibilities and provide guidance to the businesses it invests in, both at board level and on an individual project basis.