PROOF & COMPANY PIONEERS ‘SMARTKIOSK’ TECHNOLOGY IN SINGAPORE


SINGAPORE, 19 SEPTEMBER – Proof & Company, one of Asia Pacific’s leading independent spirits distributors, is the world’s first to pioneer the new patent-pending SmartKioskTM technology for ecoSPIRITS in partnership with DFI Retail Group. This new innovation represents the next step in ecoSPIRITS’ Intelligent CircularTM roadmap and marks its first foray into circular packaging solutions for the retail channel; making sustainable reuse of branded spirits bottles available to consumers.

ecoSPIRITs SmartKIOSK at Cold Storage, Tanglin Mall

Proof & Company, ecoSPIRITS’ licensed operator for Singapore, Hongkong SAR, China, Australia and New Zealand, is the first partner in the world to own and operate a fleet of SmartKiosk across the Region. Partnering with DFI Retail Group for the Singapore launch, Proof & Company has deployed the first SmartKiosk in CS Fresh, Tanglin Mall, Singapore, with four more locations pinned for launch later this year.

The new CS Fresh SmartKiosk will offer Singapore’s shoppers access to sustainable refills of a selection of craft spirit brands, including gins from the island’s own Brass Lion Distillery. Other spirits available will include Tried & True Straight Wheat Vodka, Widges Gin, Mackintosh Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and Los Arcos Destilado de Agave. By placing their bottle under an intelligent pouring system with brand authentication through a novel Verified Sustainable RefillTM feature and using a touch screen, customers can accurately refill with their favourite spirits. Each sustainable refill offers significant environmental benefits, eliminating an average of 550g of carbon emissions and more than 700g of single-use packaging waste. Consumers will also save up to 20 per cent over the same spirit in single-use packaging formats.

Brandon Grusd, General Manager, Southeast Asia

“Proof & Company is proud to be the very first operator of the SmartKiosk technology globally. Having first pioneered ecoSPIRITS in the on-premise channel back in 2018, it’s a natural fit for our growing network of retailers across Asia Pacific. It also provides a wonderful opportunity for our brand partners, such as Brass Lion Distillery and True Believers, to be at the forefront of consumer innovation. DFI and CS Fresh should be commended for their sustainability leadership in pioneering such a unique shopper experience.”

This technology debut with Singapore’s leading premium grocer aligns with the city state’s Singapore Green Plan 2030, which commits to reducing landfill waste per capita per day by 30% by 2030. As part of their collaboration, for each refill purchased, ecoSPIRITS, Proof & Company and DFI will jointly plant one tree in the CS Fresh Forest under the ecoSPIRITS’ Forest Program.

Paul Gabie, CEO, ecoSPIRITS

“Circular retail for spirits and wine presents enormous opportunities and equally great challenges. Retail purchases make up the largest volume segment for our industry and the largest source of single-use glass waste. As such, it is incumbent upon all of us to find more sustainable ways to serve consumers. Helping shoppers adapt to novel consumption patterns is not easy, but in the face of global waste and climate crisis, adaptation is a must. Together with trailblazing partners like Proof & Company and DFI Retail Group, we can build a future beyond single-use packaging.”

Additional SmartKiosks will be deployed in ecoSPIRITS markets around the world in the coming months. For more information on Proof & Company and its leading Asia Pacific spirits distribution platform, please contact info@proofandcompany.com.

High-res image selects are available to download here.


ecoSPIRITS is a circular economy technology company that has developed the world’s first low carbon, low waste distribution technology for premium spirits and wine. Our patent-pending closed loop system nearly eliminates all packaging waste in the supply chain. By dramatically reducing packaging and transport, ecoSPIRITS provides both a powerful cost advantage and a transformative carbon footprint reduction. Founded in Singapore in 2018, the ecoSPIRITS technology is now available in 11 countries and 30 cities across the Asia Pacific. Europe and the Americas. More than 1,000 leading bars, restaurants and hotels have adopted the technology, including Michelin-starred restaurants, World’s 50 Best and Asia’s 50 Best bars and iconic hotels. ecoSPIRITS is now rapidly building a global network of closed loop services, with coverage in 18 countries worldwide by late 2022. Together with our brand partners, importers, distributors, wholesalers and venues, we are already making a difference. Each year, ecoSPIRITS and our partners eliminate hundreds of tons of single-use glass waste, plant tens of thousands of trees, and inspire others to change.

For more information, please visit www.ecospirits.com or follow @ecospirits.global on Instagram.

ABOUT THE NEW SMARTKIOSK 1.0S

The new SmartKiosk 1.0S is an intelligent circular retail technology that makes secure, sustainable reuse of branded spirits bottles possible for the first time. Wifi-enabled and powered by ecoSPIRITS’ cloud-based CircularONETM software platform, each SmartKiosk 1.0S is equipped with a large high-definition touchscreen, bottle, and brand authentication through a novel Verified Sustainable RefillTM feature, and fast, accurate refills using ecoSPIRITS’ existing SmartPourTM technology. As an extension of ecoSPIRITS’ existing portfolio of closed-loop technologies, the SmartKiosk enables retailers to leverage existing ecoTOTETM distribution in their local market and offer a scalable, cost-effective refill solution to consumers.

Each SmartKiosk 1.0S unit supports sustainable refill for a range of six spirit products, supported by a two-level merchandising display for branded refill bottles and a rear cabinet for convenient restocking of ecoTOTEs.  SmartKiosks feature a Microsoft Windows CE-based operating system and live content and data powered by the CircularONE software platform. This software integrates a range of intelligent features possible, including a large 125cm touch screen display, NFC-based bottle authentication via Verified Sustainable Refill, and fast, accurate dispense using the proven SmartPour system. Kiosks also feature programmable dispense volumes, stainless steel drip trays and locking wheels for ease of handling.


FROM BEHIND THE BAR: THE NEGRONI, A CLASSICALLY MODERN COCKTAIL


ASIA PACIFIC, 13 SEPTEMBER – The lure of a Negroni is its completeness, providing an explosion of flavours while maintaining balance, along with its signature bright red hue. Not just a fantastic way to start a meal, it also works as a nightcap or on its own, and modern variations create myriad Negroni-appropriate occasions. It is at once herbaceous, sweet, strong, and ― perhaps most notably ― bitter. Its straightforward recipe of equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and red bitter belies the complexity of each individual ingredient and its ability to be modernised and customised. In fact, it is among the most interpreted cocktails of our time.

Single Origin Negroni

Teresa Negroni with Widges Gin

Since the cocktail’s inception in 1919, Negronis have easily made their way into the canon of classic cocktails, enjoyed worldwide. Ryan McLeod, Co-Founder of Peddlers, recognizes the transportive power of the cocktail, as a “refreshing alcohol-forward beverage with flavours that remind you of Italy.”

Itself a variation, the Negroni is said to have come about in Florence as a riff of the Americano (which was a lengthened variation of yet another cocktail, the Milano-Torino, equal parts bitter and sweet vermouth). In search of a stronger sip than the Americano provided, the soda water was swapped out for a matching equal part of gin and a new classic was born. But as with most cocktail origin stories, there may be some fuzziness to the facts.

“Historically it’s not been proved that this drink was born on equal parts. Indeed, it’s much likely that the vermouth or/and the bitter parts were higher than the gin part. That being said, it’s always interesting to try new variations, and nobody needs to always follow a certain rule: creativity is limitless.” Grazia Di Franco, Mancino Vermouth Brand Ambassador explains.

Peddlers Sichuan Negroni

With the availability of new spirits, the global ability to share information in an instant, and the rise of cocktail culture, the bar and spirits worlds are always evolving, changing, and creating new spin-offs to classic cocktails. In particular, the gin and Amari categories have exploded in the past several years, with brands from craft to corporate all creating their specific signatures, bending and expanding the previously established limits of each category.

For those seeking to create their own signature Negroni; classic or a spin-off, consider the base first – be it traditional gin or a variation with an aged spirit, agave, or something else entirely. From there, the bitter should complement; perhaps it’s from the same region as the base or employs similar botanicals or production methods. One of the most prevalent adjustments seen includes amping up the gin portion and reducing the bitter pour, to cut some sweetness and add a bigger botanical punch. Another option, using aged spirits as the base, is so common that the bourbon version of a Negroni has its own name, a Boulevardier. Trading the vermouth and bitter for modern versions is a great way to add local or custom flair to a signature Negroni.

Our industry experts have a few more suggestions to get started:

Grazia Di Franco

Being a vermouth brand, we always try new Negroni variations all over the world. A White Negroni with Rinomato Americano works amazingly, as does a Claypot Negroni with a touch of amaro: we personally developed a recipe based on a melange of Mancino Vermouth, Amaro Lucano Anniversario, gin and Rinomato Aperitivo Scuro.

Luke Sanderson

An agave-based White Negroni is a great variation; the green and grassy notes from the agave with Suze and Lillet or Cocchi Americano… DELISH! I’m also a big fan of a cocktail called a Lucien Gaudin, which falls somewhere between a Negroni and a Gin Martini. Gin-forward with a splash of dry vermouth, dry Curaçao, and Italian Bitter.

Ryan McLeod

Burnt orange peel Negroni with Peddlers Shanghai Craft Gin is a favourite.

Oh, and any time a touch of coffee is incorporated into a classic Negroni I have enjoyed. I would recommend you give it a try because it’s delicious!

Mancino Vermouth Negroni

The beauty of the Negroni lies in its ability to be executed by anyone. Infinitely customisable, adaptations can come about in a number of ways: the portions adjusted, the base spirit swapped, the vermouth and bitter components updated. At a certain point, cocktails leave the world of being a version of a Negroni to what can best be described as “Negroni-inspired”. While the ability to try new variations and spin-offs is vast, for many people it becomes apparent that a true classic often lay within the 1:1:1 equal parts ratio.

Luke Sanderson from True Believers mentioned “Many view a Negroni as almost a cocktail category unto itself, like the Martini and its many variations. But a Negroni will always be the triple threat of gin, vermouth and bitter.”

Di Franco concurs; “You can play with the ratio, swap the gin with a rum, adding a touch of liqueur or other ingredients, but when the recipe goes too far from the original, you’re just creating a new drink that has nothing to do with a Negroni. And garnish-wise, citrus is always preferred.”


ABOUT MANCINO VERMOUTH

Mancino Vermouth was born in 2011 in a small family-run distillery in Asti, Piedmont. The distillery, established over 60 years ago in 1957, inspired Giancarlo Mancino, owner of the brand, to compose his own vermouth using only the finest hand-picked spices and botanicals. From the moment you pick up the bottle, its classic look and feel, together with the bittersweet concoctions awaiting inside, impress upon you the timeless character that make Mancino Vermouth an integral part of the world’s finest cocktail bars.

For more information, please visit Mancino Vermouth.

ABOUT PEDDLERS GIN COMPANY

Peddlers is a Shanghai gin company started in 2017 with a vision of challenging perceptions of what it means to be ‘Made in China’. Using uniquely Chinese ingredients like Sichuan Pepper and Buddha’s Hand, Peddlers Gin tells a story of diverse regions of China. With exports of their premium gin to over ten countries throughout the Asia Pacific, and triple-digit sales growth, Peddlers is proudly representing Shanghai to the world.

For more information, please visit Peddlers Gin Company.

ABOUT TRUE BELIEVERS SPIRITS

True Believers was conceived by Proof & Company to offer a range of craft spirits that bridges the gap between economical pouring brands, which often fall short in meeting modern consumer preferences for craft credibility, and super-premium craft spirits, which are generally priced out of reach for house pouring programs. Each of the True Believers brands was developed individually to serve as a versatile archetype of its category, suitable for cocktails and sipping alike. The spirits themselves are produced with authentic craft values by highly-regarded distillers. 

For more information, please visit True Believers.



THE POPULARITY OF CANNED COCKTAILS WITH MATT SANGER, CURATIF


AUSTRALIA, 9 SEPTEMBER 2022 – A new wave of premium canned and bottled cocktails is quickly changing the game for what we deem the perfect drink. While some might still insist that nothing can replace a great cocktail bar experience; drinking quality drinks at home or on the go has become increasingly popular in today’s society.

This is where Curatif comes in – with their lineup from Espresso Martinis and Tommy’s Margaritas made from hand-selected ingredients to entice even the most critical palate. And because these drinks are put together with skilful hands, the brand has been rewarded time after time with awards such as a Double Gold at the renowned San Francisco World Spirits Competition or a triple Gold Medal haul at the recent IWSC Awards reflecting excellence in product quality year after year.

Matt Sanger, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Curatif chats about the popularity of canned cocktails and the brand’s place in this new craft ready-to-drink era.

Matt Sanger, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Curatif

Curatif's Canned Cocktails

How has the canned cocktails trend evolved in the last few years and what do you think are the reasons for the gain in popularity?

If we take away the lens of cans and bottles, it really is cocktails that have kicked into overdrive over the last couple of years, with the shift towards higher quality and greater convenience.

Great cocktails are composed of incredible spirits, beautiful bases, intentional balances, tempering bitters and refined sweetness. They become a journey that in turn creates emotional memories. Now with so much consideration towards portability, it’s possible to have that ‘Oh Wow’ moment at home, in a hotel mini bar, on a plane, or wherever you choose.

Curatif's Canned Cocktail Range

What is the biggest challenge in the canned cocktail space?

Cans for one! Besides aluminium shortages, there is the perception around cans – for decades the only things that came in cans were designed to outlast a nuclear winter. Think beans, soups, anchovies – Spam! – they came in cans for reasons that are obvious – impervious to light and oxygen, easier to transport and store – the exact same reasons that make them the perfect vessel to ensure quality and freshness for world-class cocktails.

So, when consumers see our small cans on the shelf there is a bridge that we need to make for them between the can and the cocktail, which we’re doing by taking out top gongs at all the most prestigious award ceremonies around the world. Good things really do come in small packages!

Why did the team decide to start Curatif and what were the goals for creating canned cocktails in the spirit industry, considering other categories?

Australians love their RTDs – in fact, we consume more RTD per capita than any other country. The combination of convenience and culture – think barbecues, beaches, and festivals – as well as a healthy thirst-causing climate, has set the stage for down-under to become not just the capital of convenience consumption, but also the testing ground for major brand owners to test market their RTDs.

Unfortunately, traditional RTD is typically a brand extension – a signature spirit and mixer serve that attempts to take a bottle brand into scenarios it couldn’t otherwise enter. There has never been a lot of sophistication or innovation in the category, so we started asking; “Why can’t real cocktails be convenient too? Why does convenience have to equal cheap and cheerful?”. So we got to work on making world-class cocktails, in cans.

Silver Award Winner at 2021 World Premix Awards, Never Never Distilling Co. Negroni

What are the primary inputs that set Curatif aside from any other brands in this canned cocktail space?

Everything starts from scratch – at our facility we brew our own coffee in our own made-to-order brewhouse using coffee sourced by our great pals at Seven Seeds Coffee, we blend fresh juice with fruits from the central coast of Australia, and we do all of our own flavour work and R&D. We only use best in class spirit and liqueur partners, and so while that means that our product commands a premium pricetag, it’s because our cocktails are created using the absolute best ingredients. That level of attention to detail is the reason why the first thing that everyone says when they are introduced to the brand is “I can’t believe that came out of a can!”

And what are the areas of innovation and trends do you foresee in this wave of premium canned and bottled cocktails?

 We’re working on some really exciting new concepts, and we’d love to see the category expand with like-minded makers who want to bring class leading spirits, liqueurs, and aperitifs to the fore.

I think you’re definitely going to see more major brand owners who want to play in this space. The message has been loud and clear from both consumers and trade that ready-to-serve is a perfect solution, whether it is efficiency or improving consistency, or simply elevating the home-premise experience that customers are aspiring to attain – so expect to see cold-press coming to RTD, as well as the advancement of other mindful consumption concepts.

At Curatif, we’re focusing on how we can expand into other cocktail list favourites – whether that’s going to mean clarifications, shrubs, fizzes, or other expressions that have previously been too challenging for the RTD format the message is the same – watch this space.


ABOUT CURATIF

Created and perfected with the finest ingredients from around the world. Curatif cocktails are the drinks of the world’s best bars. Their ambition pushes the boundaries, which allows the brand to create an incomparable product, an opportunity for consumption to be elevated, improved, and for aspirations to be achieved.

As a dynamic independent start-up, Curatif has a keen focus on three core principles: Quality, Convenience and Sustainability. It is a daily pursuit to embed these values in the way they produce their exceptional ready-to-serve cocktails. Ultimately they aspire to deliver the most divine luxury, convenience without compromise.

For more information, please visit Curatif.


FROM THE DISTILLERY TO THE BARS, AN UNFILTERED PEEK INTO THE LIFE OF SINGAPORE'S GIN MAESTRO


SINGAPORE, 4 AUGUST 2022 – A love for crafting uniquely Singaporean tipples has been keeping Brass Lion Distillery motivated. More importantly, the brand hopes to elevate the city’s local drinking culture and further affirm Singapore’s thriving bar scene on the world map by building a global spirits brand. With the booming popularity of gin cocktails in Singapore, Brass Lion Distillery seeks to educate international and local audiences about how to create handcrafted spirits, while diversifying the industry with Made in Singapore drinks as Singapore’s first distillery.

In this Singapore’s National Day feature, we are given an exclusive look at the gin brand as Brand Ambassador Kino Soh shares a peek into her life, plans for world (gin) domination, and introduces her favourite bars to visitors and residents of Singapore alike.

Kino Soh, Brand Ambassador of Brass Lion Distillery

Brass Lion Distillery's Butterfly Pea Gin

What is an unfiltered look at your 24 hours, from your morning routine to your favourite way of unwinding?

I have a hectic work schedule and a full list of duties, but every morning starts off great, thanks to my magical mug of coffee.

When I get to the distillery, each day is an opportunity to create new possibilities and experiences. My day can be anything from an uninterrupted workday of grinding away at projects, to hopping behind the bar for some research and development on new drinks, or taste-testing freshly distilled gin.

It’s never a dull moment when you’re working with one of Singapore’s finest (and friendliest) – but after a long day of hard work, it feels so nice to go back home, kick back and relax. I love the company of good friends and a Brass Lion Butterfly Pea Gin with soda.

As someone who comes from a city with the most Asia’s 50 Best Bars, what are your favourite bars to go to?

There are so many bars in Singapore that are worth mentioning and since there are hundreds of high-quality bars, picking one is relatively tricky.

In Bad Company is known for throwing the most memorable parties in town, serving great food and having an extensive selection of our gins. Stay Gold Flamingo would be my go-to if you’re looking for a place with everything you need for a fun night out. Great drinks and excellent customer service from the friendliest team – these guys are great, and you won’t regret your visit.

Another noteworthy venue is MO Bar. It’s one of my favourites because of its eclectic menu and warm atmosphere. In addition, they offer a delicious satay-flavoured cocktail called Satay by the Bay. The cocktail is an excellent blend of the Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin, bitters, and of course, satay. The fantastic team at the bar also makes me feel at home whenever I’m there.

Brass Lion Distillery

Tasting Room

If someone is looking for an incredible selection of gins that encompasses the spirit of Singapore, how would you recommend them to drink Brass Lion Gin?

A Calamansi Gimlet is one of my favourite drinks to make; it’s made up of Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin, calamansi cordial, and lime. This simple yet delightful cocktail is our twist on a classic gimlet. It highlights the spicy, citrusy, and floral notes of The Singapore Dry Gin by pairing it with the tart and floral-flavoured calamansi fruit.

This refreshing drink goes great with many local dishes and we designed it specifically for Singapore’s weather!

Brass Lion Distillery has been around for four years now, so what do you see coming up next?

Is world domination too much to ask for? Frankly, we want to be Asia’s most recognised premium gin and be able to share the sunshine of our tropical spirits on a global stage. Plans were put on hold during Covid-19, but we are excited to get back in full force now that borders are opening up.

We’ve already made great strides towards achieving this goal thanks to our high-quality, handmade products that consist entirely of natural ingredients. In addition, we’ve joined the ecoSPIRITS initiative, which strives for sustainable production practices in the supply chain of premium spirits brands.


ABOUT BRASS LION DISTILLERY

The birth of the idea came back in 2012 when they were looking for a spirit crafted here in Singapore. After embarking on a six-year journey to create a spirit that can truly encapsulate the heart of Singapore, Brass Lion Singapore Dry Gin was brought to life.

Building upon classic gin foundations of juniper berries and coriander seed, the first Singaporean micro-distillery introduced traditional Asian flavours such as the aromatic torch ginger flower and citrusy lemongrass. The result? A smooth, vibrant spirit that is the quintessential expression of The Singapore Dry Gin –  a true reflection of the cultural melting pot that is Singapore.

For more information, please visit Brass Lion Distillery.


PROOF & COMPANY WELCOMES AMARO LUCANO, A PARTNERSHIP BRINGING NEW MEANING TO ‘BITTER SWEET’


SINGAPORE & HONG KONG, 28 JULY – The advocate of extraordinary spirits, Proof & Company, continues to enrich their portfolio with a new spirit partner Amaro Lucano, a beloved Italian brand which boasts a herbaceous array of premium liqueurs.

Mancino Vermouth Secco and Amaro Lucano

The exclusive agreement was cultivated off the back of the Mancino Vermouth and Amaro Lucano merger (2021) in recognition of the Proof & Company relationship with Giancarlo Mancino and the distributor’s efforts and brand growth in the APAC region, with a key focus on the on-trade luxury market.

Of the new partnership, Paul Broadbent, CEO Proof & Company says, “The Vena family live and breathe the Lucano brand, and their timeless statement, “What more could you want from life?” resonates with Proof & Company’s passion in being “advocates for extraordinary spirits”. This is a wonderful partnership and we look forward to taking Lucano to more bars, restaurants and retailers across Singapore, Hong Kong and then China.”

Amaro Lucano 1894 (28% vol) consists of a meticulous (and family secret) blend of more than 30 specially selected herbs, characterising its strong and delicately balanced flavour. The herbaceous mix provides an aroma of pine, lavender and citrus notes, gentian bitterness, a balanced sweetness, spearmint freshness and mild spice upon sip. The versatility and fragrant nature of this bitter, before only known as an Italian aperitivo and (more often) digestivo, is fast trending in the cocktail scene, with bartenders introducing the spirit into classics with a twist or new bitter-sweet concoctions.

“Through our partnership with Proof & Company, we look forward to strengthening our presence in Asia, as well as sharing the brand story with the incredible bar industry and consumer communities,” said Leonardo Vena, CEO and family owner of Amaro Lucano.

Amaro Lucano on 28 HongKong Street's Back Bar

Amaro Lucano Highball, 28 HongKong Street

28 HongKong Street, a pioneer in the Singapore cocktail movement, and advocate of the brand has already introduced Amaro Lucano into their cocktail offering.

“Amaro liqueurs offer the modern bartender a delicious opportunity to introduce guests to a wonderful myriad of herbal, floral and fruit flavours. The bold, medicinal profile of these traditional liqueurs means they are great to sip on, or to use as a base in a highball or spritz.

Meanwhile, the complexity of amari means they are great to use as an accent in classic cocktails, and the wide range of flavours and aromas make amaro products like Amaro Lucano perfect for signature, original cocktails.” Jason Williams, Head of Advocacy APAC explains.

Official Amaro Partner at Asia's 50 Best Bars 2022

Rich in taste and in history; The Amaro Lucano story begins in Pisticci, at the end of the 1800s. It was here in this small Lucanian town in the province of Matera, where Pasquale Vena, a confectioner with a passion for herbology set out to create the perfect liqueur.

In 1894, after much trial and error, and many concoctions of different herbal combinations he finally found the ideal blend that would become Amaro Lucano – a now secret recipe of more than 30 carefully selected herbs, that has been passed down from Vena generation to generation.

Proof & Company will be distributing three Amaro Lucano spirits, all of which are gluten-free; the Amaro Lucano classic, the Anniversario, a prestigious version to celebrate the company’s 120 years, and the Essenza a new blend which set out to bring the amaro closer to the world of oenology and refined for 12 months in oak barriques used to age Italian Grappa.

In the spirit of Amaro Lucano, “Cosa Vuoi di piú dalla vita?” (what more could you want from life?)


ABOUT AMARO LUCANO

A story made of passion and authenticity enclosed in the secret recipe of Cavalier Pasquale Vena. Amaro Lucano is the result of tradition, quality, knowledge and ideas improved through innovation: these are the values of the Vena family, now in its fourth generation, that make Amaro Lucano one of the most important companies in the spirit market since 1894.

In 2021, the company receives the coveted “Historic Trademark of National Interest” certification, showcasing the recognition of national excellence through the value of their products that have been part of the history of Italy for years.

For more information, please visit Amaro Lucano.


FROM BEHIND THE BAR: AN INTRODUCTION TO TEQUILA


ASIA PACIFIC, 21 JULY – Tequila, like any spirit, has its own complexities and nuances that are waiting to be explored. The world of tequila, in particular, has many facets that you may not know about if you’re not already steeped in it and familiar with the culture surrounding it. Interest in agave spirits continues to grow, and there have never been more tequilas lining liquor store shelves — be they celebrity-branded or craft blended. Each tequila has its own unique characteristics and flavour profile.

With so many tequilas available, finding exceptional tequila can be a challenge. That’s why we turned to the pros from behind the bar to share their tips on what you need to know about tequila if you want to drink the best stuff out there.

Agave Fields

The word tequila comes from an Aztec word te-kuia meaning “the place where we were born” as it was originally produced for hundreds of years before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico. Made from the Weber blue agave plant (also known as *agave tequilana*), the bulb or “piña” is baked and juiced before being fermented in tanks with yeast and then distilled to make tequila.

There are two main regions in Mexico’s Jalisco where agave is grown: the highlands, known as Los Altos, and the lowlands, sometimes called “Tequila Valley,” which are closer to the city of Tequila itself. These areas produce tequilas with dramatically different flavour profiles. Lowland tequilas tend to have more vegetal flavours like grass and sage than highland tequilas; they also tend to taste less sweet than their counterparts from higher altitudes. Highland tequilas, on the other hand, are usually smoother, sweeter, and fruitier than lowland tequilas. Recognising the importance of these two primary growing areas can be a big step to understanding the intricacies of Mexico’s premier spirit.

100% agave is a must when I’m selecting my choice of Tequila. Small batch and tequila from Los Altos would be my preference since there will be richer and more minerality in the spirit.

While I do enjoy drinking tequila neat without any other chaser so that wouldn’t affect the original flavour itself, this is also a fantastic spirit to be used in cocktails for a more wild and vegetal lift.

Tequila, like wine, is an expression of the place where the agave is grown. And not all tequilas — again, like wine — are created equal. So, the next time you enjoy your favourite tequila, keep an eye on the regions and the fields where its agave was grown. While many producers are vague about where their agave comes from, Arquitecto produces batches of tequila that are sourced from the lands of Master Tequilero, Enrique Fonseca, who is known for creating tequilas rich with agave character yet graced with a delicate finish. With no additives, diffusers, immature agave, and non-agave fermentation sugars, every bottle of Arquitecto is spectacular with its own clean character and is an easy choice to start your tequila journey with.

“Always avoid Mixto Tequilas! Having a smooth Blanco Tequila such as Arquitecto is perfect; great in cocktails and great as our house shot too! Generally, it’s great to experiment with and works with almost everything.” — Stuart Campbell, Bar Manager of Margo’s, New Zealand

Arquitecto Distillery

Once you’ve understood the fundamentals of this spirit, take your own tequila connoisseurship to the next level. Whether you prefer to sip it neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail, each different style of tequila will strongly influence your experience.

There are five types of tequila depending on how long they have been aged in oak barrels. A blanco (white) has no ageing process and is bottled immediately after distillation, a reposado (rested) sits in oak barrels between two months and one year, an añejo (aged) ages between one year and three years while extra añejo (extra aged) sits for more than three years.

Jeremy Blackmore, Director of Mucho Hospitality Group

At Cantina OK!, we make margaritas with a mix of Tequila and a dash of Mezcal. The key to the flavour in a margarita is using lime squeezed right in the moment. The taste of the oils that are expressed from the skin of the lime is as important as the juice.

Personally, I have been returning to drinking tequila with lime and salt. There is something so honestly exciting about the whole process. I’m not really sure why we collectively decided it wasn’t cool but I’m all for bringing it back.

Imelda Ng, Greater China Brand Ambassador for Diplomatico

The taste of tequila elevates cocktails thanks to their distinctive agave flavour. The sweet and sugary essence followed by notes of vanilla and cinnamon makes it a great base for a Margarita and a Paloma!

When you start to understand the taste of tequila, I’d definitely recommend food pairings such as blanco with seafood, aged tequila with red meat or chocolate, and citrus and fresh herbs also works particularly well with the flavour of agave.

As you learn about how to enjoy tequila, remember that just like any other spirit, there is no one right way to drink it. As long as you do it thoughtfully and respectfully, feel free to experiment until you find what works best for you. The key thing is to not let preconceived notions about what kind of tequila you should drink limit your options. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! The most important thing to keep in mind when drinking tequila is moderation. When used responsibly, all forms of tequila can make great drinks.


ABOUT TRUE BELIEVERS SPIRITS

True Believers was conceived by Proof & Company to offer a range of craft spirits that bridges the gap between economical pouring brands, which often fall short in meeting modern consumer preferences for craft credibility, and super-premium craft spirits, which are generally priced out of reach for house pouring programs. Each of the True Believers brands was developed individually to serve as a versatile archetype of its category, suitable for cocktails and sipping alike. The spirits themselves are produced with authentic craft values by highly-regarded distillers. 

ABOUT ARQUITECTO TEQUILA

Created from high-altitude agave grown on the lands of Master Tequilero, Arq. Enrique Fonseca, near Atotonilco in the highlands. Cooked, crushed, fermented, and distilled at his ABV Tequileña distillery in the town of Tequila. No immature agave, no non-agave fermentation sugars, no diffusers, and no additives were used in the production of this tequila.

For more information, please visit True Believers.



THE FUTURE OF WHISKY WITH SIMON MCGORAM, ATOM BRANDS


ASIA PACIFIC, 23 MAY – The whisky industry is exploding in growth with the number of small-batch distilleries increasing by double digits each year. Innovation seems to be coming out of every seam and people are demanding variety when it comes to grains, production styles, and consumption methods. Whisky drinkers are becoming increasingly diverse – pushing for something that suits their tastes rather than just settling for what’s typical – which will lead us into an exciting future filled with various changes within the current status quo.

For these reasons, we sat down with Simon McGoram, Regional Sales Manager of ATOM Brands (Asia Pacific) who shared his thoughts about whisky’s future.

Simon McGoram, Regional Sales Manager of ATOM Brands (Asia Pacific)

Atom Brands enjoys success at the 2020 World Whiskies Awards & Icons of Whisky

How has the market landscape for whisky evolved?

The landscape for whisky has evolved a lot in the Asia Pacific region and indeed around the globe. Whilst the brand ‘Scotch’ remains strong, we are seeing an emergence and increasing interest in new world whiskies. It’s one of the things I’m most excited about with working on brands like That Boutique-y Whisky Company which leads the conversation of craft whisky bottling exciting releases, White Peak in England, Nantou from Taiwan, Three Sheets in South Africa and Black Gate in Australia to name a few.

What are the areas of innovation you can foresee in the whisky process, ingredients and beyond barrels?

In terms of innovation, what haven’t we seen yet? As the world embraces new world whiskies, innovation can be found in every corner of the industry. Oxford Artisan Distillery is leading the charge with heirloom grains in England – it’s producing excellent whisky with more disease & drought-resistant crops (pertinent in the age of global warming). Archie Rose in Australia blends a six malt stream (with a load of speciality malts) to make their new make spirit in a dizzyingly complex process that has seen some delicious results to date. Let’s not forget the recently ratified category of Empire Rye in New York State is a driving force behind some excellent whisky from the US east coast. In short, it’s a great time to be a whisky fan.

What are the primary inputs for an excellent whisky in terms of ingredients, and processes?

Well, the ingredients for all whisky are pretty similar – grain (malted & unmalted), water, yeast and of course time in cask. We could spend a long time discussing speciality grains, length of fermentation, worms tubs and maturation regimes (and anyone who has spent any real length of time with me over a couple of drams would have fallen into this rabbit hole) – but really, I’m a firm believer that whisky is a primarily a product of people, passion and place.

These less tangible and personal elements are what help consumers fall in love with whisky – much like the bar industry, it’s passionate people that are at the heart of it working in a dynamic range of venues. Great whisky, much like a great bar, somehow manages to capture the essence & devotion of those behind it – and best manages to reflect the soul of where they’re from.

At That Boutique-y Whisky Company, we never try to lose sight that our whisky is made by people – our graphic novel-style labels often try to tell the story of the people and places involved in making their fabulous product.

What exciting news will we expect from your brand in the future?

In exciting news from That Boutique-y Whisky Company, we’re thrilled to be celebrating our 10th birthday this year and look forward to announcing soon a very special line-up of 10th Anniversary bottlings to mark the occasion. We are also planning a return trip to Australia after the success of our first Australian series. And very shortly our Boutique-y Record Series will be released – a double scotch whisky release that combines the teams’ love of music with some cracking drams.

That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Australia Series

Across the globe, demand for whisky is only increasing, so much so that it’s creating a new era of exploration for enthusiasts. Luckily for us, one company has been ruthlessly keeping up with the booming and changing markets, with innovation and quality at heart. ATOM Brands has been focused on crafting high-quality liquor products and extending to the joys of innovative research, leading them to what they do best today. Expect what you’ve come to love from this 8-years-old brand in future releases: awe-inspiring whiskies crafted by innovators who are always eager to seize inspiration before anyone else does.


ABOUT ATOM BRANDS

Being the disruptive innovative arm of the Atom Group, the leading distributor of craft spirits in the UK, ATOM Brands owns, creates and produces some of the most exciting, innovative and high-growth, multi-award-winning (and delicious) brands in the drinks industry. It all started with the creation of Bathtub Gin, and rapidly grew to include the full Ableforth’s portfolio, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, That Boutique-y Gin Company and That Boutique-y Rum Company, as well as the groundbreaking Drinks by the Dram. The winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – International Trade in 2019 which recognises outstanding short term growth in overseas sales over a 3 year period, ATOM Brands now proudly operates in over 70 growing craft spirit markets worldwide, including Taiwan, USA, China, Japan and Germany.

For more information, please visit ATOM Brands.