Published on March 10, 2014
THE MAGAZINE FOR MANAGERS, SOMMELIERS AND BARTENDERS SINGAPORE NO. 3 RUM, PIONEERS, PIRATES& PROHIBITION ‘ALL COGNACS ARE BRANDIES BUT NOT ALL BRANDIES ARE COGNACS’ GOES THE OLD SAYING, BUT WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? COINTREAU PRESENTS FIRST EDITION OF LA MAISON COINTREAU IN ASIA SINGAPORE’S BARTENDERS PAVE THE WAY FOR A WORLD CLASS ENDING www.drinksworld.asia
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Welcome It’s true that here in Singapore we love our Cognac. While trade into China has slowed – due to government austerity measures – Singapore has remained true to the French spirit that embodies luxury and continues to embrace new and exciting line extensions. In this edition we talk about the importance of Cognac in the Singapore market and the renewed efforts of brands to offer something new and exciting. We bring you an interview with Gaurav Sabharval, the managing director of Pernod Ricard Singapore, the brand owners of Martell Cognac. We also bring you the exciting developments in the rum category, from a new Bacardi campaign focusing on the family history to the ultra cool Sailor Jerry brand featured in our Cocktail Club this edition. The World Class Cocktail Competition continues to grow on the global stage and at the time of printing, we are all holding our breath to discover where in Asia the 2014 final will be held. Check back in at www.drinksworld.asia, or follow the facebook page, facebook/drinksworld to find out just as soon as we do. World Class isn’t the only comp in town; check out our report on the ‘Cointreau La Maison,’ its first time in Asia – very exciting. And finally, having been successfully launched in our sister Hong Kong publication, we bring you our own exciting news. Drinks World Asia launches its very own Top 25 (T25) Bartenders and Top 25 (T25) Sommeliers. T25 Bartenders are first off the rank – coming this April. Get online to keep up to date... www.drinksworld.asia. Drinks World Asia - Singapore is distributed to 3000+ bars, restaurants and hotels in Singapore. If you would like to have your brand represented or would like to contribute or comment please contact: email@example.com 8° DRINKS WORLD ASIA
Contents 12 66 18 20 Meet 18 20 34 54 62 65 Maurice Hennessy Bernard Pellion Martell Interview Chef Jeff Mosher Alfred Cointreau Cointreau Bartenders 38 Drink 102 Cocktail Club - Sailor Jerry Features 12 38 47 52 57 66 68 78 Cognac L de Jean Martell ’Or Careers after bartending Ice and Highballs La Maison Cointreau Gin Jubilee World Class Pioneers, Pirates & Prohibition DRINKS WORLD ASIA °9
Contents 88 23 Profiles 30 42 74 88 98 107 110 10 ° Martell / Zhang Yu Hennessy Singapore Ron Zacapa Bacardi - Everyone has a story Sailor Jerry East Imperial Edrington Singapore DRINKS WORLD ASIA 43 98 Visit 23 New York’s Bar Scene Regulars 114 Coming up 107
Credits CREDITS Publisher Marc Rodrigues firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL Publishing Editor Ashley Pini DESIGN Art Director Evelyn Rueda Senior Designer Ryan Andrew Salcedo ADVERTISING Advertising Manager Sasha Falloon SALES Sales Director Marc Rodrigues Sales Manager Sasha Falloon PHOTOGRAPHY Photographer Janka Husta Writers: Ashley Pini, Andy Gaunt, John O’Toole, Beanie Espey, Mathew Bradford, Naren Young Publication MCI (P) 198/03/2013 Editor’s note Unsung heroes Hallelujah for the barback If you asked the average punter what they thought is the difference between a good bar and a well-oiled machine, they’d probably tell you it’s all about the drinks, the venue, the bartender or the management. Yet on most occasions it’s the painstaking job of the overlooked bar back. Without them, the night becomes a nightmare. As the bartender juggles customers, the barback runs back and forth to fetch stock, change the barrels, clean the lines, fill the ice buckets, cut fresh limes, wipe the bar, deal with the broken glass- and this is only naming a few. All jobs have their downsides, and this is no exception. Soggy clothes, injuries, long and anti-social hours, smelly ashtrays and pruney hands were all mentioned. Comments I regularly hear are; ‘A lot of the mess isn’t made by you - cleaning the ashtrays was the worst” . ‘As a barback I feel like the “bartender’s skivvy” . So what do the barbacks get out of such a painstaking job? One word. Experience. Many bar backs start with no experience, and of course “A knockoff beer is better than any other beer” . So what’s the difference between a good bar back and a great bar back, it appeared everyone I spoke to agreed: a good bar back will do everything they’re told, while a great bar back will, in practice, anticipate what’s happening, and not be afraid to get their hands dirty if it means getting the job done. Here’s to great bar backs. The unsung heroes of the bars around the world. Sponsor Andy Gaunt Andy Gaunt has a deep-rooted and long standing passion for the drinks, food, travel and luxury sectors. With over 15 years of industry experience, beginning behind the bar, Andy was at the heart of the explosion of cocktail culture in London in the late 90s and early 2000’s. Produced and published by Editorial Enquiries: If you, your bar, or your brand and company have news or events you would like to share with Drinks World Asia please contact: email@example.com Although Hip Media Asia endeavours to ensure the accuracy and correctness of the information and drinks trade and drinkstrade. com.au, we do not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or missions. The views expressed by authors of publications or event presentations, published drinks trade, do not necessarily represent the views of Hip Media Asia. Decisions or actions based on the information and publications provided by Hip Media Asia are at your own risk. drinks-world-asia @drinksworldasia DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 11
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° FEATURE ° ‘Alembic’ ‘ All Cognacs are brandies, but not all brandies are Cognacs’ goes the old saying, which might sound profound and enigmatic, but just what does it mean? WORDS ° Matthew Bradford Brandy is an alcoholic spirit distilled from various fruits. Calvados/ Applejack, (apples), Kirschwasser (cherries), Poire William (pear), Slivovitz (plums) are all types of fruit brandy and in France these are known generically as ‘eau-devie’, or ‘water of life’. The eau-devie we’ll explore here is a grape brandy, that is, an eau-de-vie distilled from fermented grapes and more specifically those from a single recognised geographical area of France and to a specific set of rules. These are known as Cognacs. Grape brandies are produced throughout the world and their histories stretch back many hundred of years. Countries like Greece (Metaxa), Italy (Vecchio Romano) and Spain (Brandy de Jerez) all have their own distinct local brandies, but one country prides itself most among all others for its brandies – France. The French are particularly proud of brandies produced from two specific areas; Cognac and Armagnac, both of which are situated near Bordeaux. Although Armagnac’s history is longer, Cognac is the better known of the two. They share many attributes in common, with both production methods required to meet certain legal requirements to carry the name “appellation d’origine controlee” which is the , French certification system for agricultural products such as wine, eau-de-vie and cheese. Stylistically, the two eau-de-vie are very similar, although Cognac is distilled in a pot or alambic still, whereas Armagnac is distilled in a column still. A HISTORY OF COGNAC Vineyards were planted in Saintonge, Charantes-Maritime in the 3rd century A.D. during the reign of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus who reversed a previous law and granted the privilege of grapegrowing and winemaking to all of the local Gauls. In the 1100’s, the region’s grape production was increased again when Guillaume X., the Duke of Guyenne and Poitiers, ordered major plantings of vines in the Poitou-Charante region. This meant that by the 1200’s wine was being added to salt shipments sent from the region to Hamburg. In 1185, King Henry II of England, also known as Henry Plantagenet, founded the Angevin Empire, which comprised England, parts of Wales and Ireland, as well as most of the Western half of France. The Cognac region, like Bordeaux and Armagnac, was under English control for large parts of the next 400 years and the English possession stimulated the demand, production and export of these wines and eaux-de-vie. The Dutch had also been importing wine from the Charente region and in order to reduce the volume of wine that had to be carried it was double distilled, with the resulting spirit put into wooden casks to be shipped back to the Netherlands. It was this transportation in wooden casks that changed the character and flavour of the spirit - and a grape brandy aged in wood was born. All it needed was a name, which came about due to a distillation process. During its distillation the wine was brought to the boil using fire and so it was called “brandewijn” or burnt , wine in Dutch. This became brandy wine in English; or, as we know it, brandy. During the Middle Ages the distillation process began to be better understood and perfected and began to spread throughout Europe. By 1411 the first grape brandy had been made in Armagnac using the local grapes, which were first fermented and then distilled. Cognac followed suit in 1549. In Cognac, the production of grape brandy using the doubledistillation process and oak cask aging became favoured. In 1638 Sir Robert Lewes spoke of wine from France called ‘Cogniacke’ in his travel journal, and so, the region’s reputation was firmly established. By 1643 Philippe Augier had founded Cognac Augier and over the following centuries many more Cognac houses were founded, such as Remy Martin, Courvoisier, Martell, Hennessy, Delamain and Hine. Thanks to the perfection of the double-distillation method in 1710, these houses have assisted in refining the process of making brandy and cognac into the polished product we know today. WHAT IT TAKES FOR A BRANDY TO BE A COGNAC For a distilled brandy to be legally called a cognac it must be made in a specific way. It must be mainly made using the Ugni Blanc grape (known locally as Saint-Émilion), twice distilled in copper pots and then aged for a minimum of DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 13
° FEATURE ° two years in oak barrels from the Tronçais and Limousin regions of France. Cognac production is centred around the towns of Cognac, Jarnac and Segonzac and straddles the two ‘départements’, or counties, of Charentes and Charentes-Maritime. It is divided into six distinct geographical areas, or ‘cru’, largely based around specific soil types. Cru is a French term which means literally ‘growth’ and refers to the idea that a specific area of land has certain geologically homogeneous characteristics which gives a wine or Cognac produced there a unique character, aroma and flavour. The six cru are: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois, and Bois Ordinaire, with the first three being considered the superior cru due to their better soils. It should be noted that the ‘Champagne’ element in the name is nothing to do with the sparkling wine also called champagne. Although the name has the same 14 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA origin, the word refers to the chalky soils that can be found in the Champagne and Cognac regions. The base wine used to make Cognac is extremely sour, acid and thin, and if it is to be a ‘cru’ Cognac it must be made from at least 90 per cent Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard, which the remaining 10 per cent being made up from a variety of local grapes including Le Jurançon, Sémillon, Montils, Meslier-Saint-François, Balzac Blanc, Chalosse, SaintPierre, Bouilleaud, Saint-Rabier, Balzac Noir and Petit Noir. Of the first three grapes, which make up 90 per cent of any ‘cru’ Cognac, Ugni Blanc and Folle Blanche are considered the best varieties for Cognac production, as they both produce juice that’s high in acidity, making it the ideal the base wine for Cognac. Once ready, the grapes are picked, crushed and allowed to ferment using the natural yeast found in the grape skins and surrounding environment of the distillery, which converts the sugar to alcohol. At this stage, the liquid is at around 7-8 per cent alcohol. This is then distilled twice in traditional Charentais style copper stills, known as alembic stills, which results in a clear eaude-vie with around 70 per cent
alcohol. This is then aged in French oak barrels, which impart dryness, colour, sweetness from the oak sap, and all the rich hints of spice and dried fruits that can be found in a Cognac. The minimum ageing is two years, though most houses age even their basic grade Cognac for longer. This oak ageing, coupled with the soil types the grapes are grown in and the climate, are the key elements that give Cognac its quality factor and uniqueness. During the oak ageing the eaudevie reacts with the barrel and the air it contains, which causes evaporation of both water and alcohol. The alcohol evaporates at a greater rate than the water and this results in the drop from 70 per cent to the standard ABV of 40 per cent. Once the required length of ageing in barrel has been reached, which dictates the grading of the Cognac, it is then transferred into large glass carboys or demijohns, which are known locally as bonbonnes or dame-jeanne. The next stage is the blending or marriage of the different eauxdevie, from different regions and of different ages. The youngest eau-de-vie in the blend dictates which grading the final product will be given, so there is no real point blending very old eaux-de-vie with younger ones as the resulting grade will be for a young Cognac. This blending is key in the production of nearly all Cognac and the aim here is to produce a balanced and consistent product year-in, yearout, exhibiting a particular ‘house style’. The Cognac houses each have their own maître de chai, or cellar master, who oversees the blending to reproduce this house style consistently. They are also know as le nez, or the nose of the distillery, as it is their nose and sense of smell and taste that set and perpetuate the house style. Traditionally, many local farmers and villagers would make their own eau-de-vie at home – a practice that was greatly encouraged by Napoléon Bonaparte when he removed the tax on home-distilled alcohol, allowing up to 20 litres of alcohol at 50%ABV to be produced tax-free. This privilège de bouilleur de cru, which literally means the privilege of being able to boil your own vineyards, was passed on from generation to generation in France until 1960. The lifting of DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 15
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° FEATURE ° ‘‘Traditionally, many local farmers and villagers would make their own eau-de-vie at home – a practice that was greatly encouraged by Napoléon Bonaparte when he removed the tax on home-distilled alcohol, allowing up to 20 litres of alcohol at 50%ABV to be produced tax-free.’’ the tax helps to explain the sheer amount and diversity of local eauxde-vie that you will find across France. The grading of Cognac uses English terminology, which reflects the long British association with its production, and is set by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac, or BNIC: V.S. or Very Superior: the youngest eau-de-vie will have spent at least two years aged in oak, although the average age will be longer. Also known as ✯✯✯ or Three Stars. V.S.O.P or Very Superior Old Pale: . the youngest eau-de-vie will have spent at least four years aged in oak, although the average age will be longer. Napoléon (after the Emperor), X.O. (Extra Old), Extra, Hors d’âge (literally beyond or outside age): the youngest eau-de-vie will have spent at least six years aged in oak, although the average age will be longer and each Cognac house will have its own standard for what the final average age of the blend is, with some of the prestige blends containing Cognacs of a very old age. As of 2018, these grades will have the minimum age requirement moved up to ten years. The Hors d’âge has been set by the BNIC as the highest grade possible and encourages Cognac houses to use only their oldest and finest eaux-devie for this grade. Vieux (old): a grade sometimes used by Cognac houses for a grade between a V.S.O.P and an X.O., . and they may also use Très Vieille Réserve (Very Old Reserve), Vieille Réserve (Old Reserve), or Réserve de la Famille (Family Reserve) which are grades superior to an X.O., so similar to an Hors d’âge. Some of these grade Cognacs can contain eau-de-vie of 60 years age or more and reserve eau-de-vie stored in carboys from old and ancient vintages are often blended into these grades to give added flavour, aroma, power, elegance and complexity to the final blend. You may come across some older bottles of Cognac which carry the V.O. or Very Old grading, which is now no longer used, and has a minimum age of four years. Other terms you may come encounter are: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bon Bois, and Bois Ordinaire: the names of the six cru of Cognac. These all have their own individual character and flavour and capture the sense of place that makes Cognac so unique. Some Cognacs are made from eau-de-vie from one cru only, some, such as Fine Champagne, are a blend of two different cru. Single cru Cognac can also be bottled as vintage Cognac, so the product of eaux-de-vie from a specific locality in a specific year. Fine Champagne: a Cognac that’s a blend of Grande and Petite Champagne eaux-de-vie, with at least a minimum of half of which must come from Grande Champagne. Varietal: Cognac made using only one grape variety. Vintage: these are Cognacs made from eaux-de-vie from a single year or vintage. These can be some of the finest expressions of Cognac, reflecting the character of the year that the grapes were grown, just like with wine, and many Cognac houses hold vintages dating back to the 1800’s and even older. Some of these single vintage Cognacs can come from single cru, so they are ultimate expression of place and time. 20 y.o., 30 y.o (Year Old) etc.: these are Cognacs where the youngest eau-de-vie will have spent at least 20 or 30 years aged in oak. The production of Cognac is now split amongst thousands of producers, many of whom make eaux-de-vie for the two hundred or so Cognac houses, although the four largest houses, Courvoisier, Rémy Martin, Hennessy and Martell now own the majority of these houses, whilst allowing them to continue to produce Cognac in the original house name and style. Other famous houses are Camus, Otard, Moyet and Frapin. The French have always been successful in establishing the reputation of their regional drinks and foodstuffs, be it the wines of Chablis and Bordeaux or the cheeses of Roquefort and Camembert. The source of this success is the story behind the names and the labels, the quality-factor, the true ‘origin’ of the product, which includes the soils from which it sprang, the climate it enjoyed, as well as the tradition, knowledge, skill and craftsmanship that goes into it. The story of Cognac really is one of the great beverage stories of France. For almost 500 years the aroma, flavour, quality and name of Cognac has entranced princes and paupers alike, and as it expands out of its traditional market in Europe and conquers America and Asia alike, one question remains: Will there be enough to go around? DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 17
° MEET ° Maurice-Richard Hennessy The eighth generation of Hennessy family 18 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA
B orn in Paris on 11th April 1950, Maurice-Richard Hennessy spent his childhood years in Cognac. A direct descendant of the founder of the Hennessy Company, he belongs to the eighth generation of the prestigious family that came to France from Ireland in 1765. The cognac gene is firmly established in his dna, along with his love for the charente countryside, vine-growing and fine gastronomy. His father was a scientist who often worked with the European Council for nuclear research. Maurice-Richard did not follow in his footsteps but chose rather to train as an agronomical engineer at the Institute for Technical and Practical Agriculture. After several years spent doing voluntary development work in Africa, he returned to Cognac in 1975 and joined the family firm. There he was given an in-depth training in all the Hennessy professions, from distillation to bottling, as well as commercial and marketing activities. From that moment on, the role he plays within the Hennessy firm developed. He began by travelling for Hennessy and then in 1979 settled in London for five years to work on the promotion of the brand in England and Ireland. At that time he also travelled regularly to the United States and Canada. So it is natural that Maurice-Richard Hennessy, with his famous name, became the incarnation of the brand in the markets. He assumes this role remarkably, being as familiar with the history of the company as he is with Cognac. He owns vineyards himself, distilling and selling his eaux-de-vie to the Hennessy firm, so he is able to answer any question at all about making cognac. Greatly appreciated in every market for his ease of contact and his extreme courtesy, MauriceRichard Hennessy is married with three daughters. He sometimes takes part in prestigious events on behalf of the brand and does so with pride and a rare elegance. Tell us about your very first experiences with Cognac MH: I do not remember some exact date! But I know that I had it first as a long drink with soda water in my late teens. How would you describe the region Cognac to someone that has never been there? MH: Cognac is a town of 19500 inhabitants surrounded by vineyard. These vineyards are the source of the white wine which is distilled to make cognac. The countryside is hilly, with many small villages and isolated farms, many of these being several centuries old. The vicinity of the sea bring wonderful seafood, and some moderation in the climate. The light of the region has often been compared to that of Tuscany. Come and visit this still rather well hidden part of France. How has the perception of Cognac changed over the years? MH: It has not changed. The knowledgeable consumer knows how to enjoy Hennessy like it has always been done. Great long drinks, imaginative cocktails, and of course neat. But we still need to convince more people! What sort of variations/cocktails have you seen emerge with Cognac that has surprised or intrigued you? MH: Let say that there are so many talented mixologists as they are called now. I once had some X O in liquid nitrogen. That was a surprise!!! How is Hennessy playing a part in the changing face of Cognac consumption, specifically in regards to the Asian market? MH: Hennessy has been in Asia, especially in China for about 150 years. The Asian drinkers appreciate the brand and already know how they like their Hennessy. What are some of the key factors when it comes to the success of Hennessy in the Cognac market? MH: Quality, quality, quality. What does Cognac mark or represent for the greater Asian community? MH: Like most people, the Asians respect the name Hennessy Cognac as it is considered as a rare, prestigious, high quality drink. Where do you expect new Cognac consumers to come from and how do you believe they will find their way to drinking Cognac? MH: Since its creation Hennessy has convinced and seduced customers and its success story in export is founded on the company’s dynamism and pioneering spirit. The breadth and depth of its product range give Hennessy a foundation from which to build and grow its international presence. In the US Hennessy maintains a historic market leadership through its premium range (V.S and V.S.O.P) of Cognacs, which has long been a favorite of the African-American and Latino-American communities. In Asia, the Chinese market is particularly dynamic due to the vitality of its most prestigious product range: Hennessy X.O, Paradis Imperial and Richard Hennessy. In other Asian markets such as Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, one can note very strong growth. South Africa and Nigeria are promising markets in Africa. As more products begin to infiltrate these markets and drinking trends diversify, how do you see the next five years panning out for Cognac and subsequently Hennessy? MH: Market demand evolves according to each country’s characteristics. In Asia, demand follows the aspirations of consumers who have become very demanding. Consumers in Asia and Russia now focus on prestige cognacs such as X.O, Paradis Imperial or Richard Hennessy. Hennessy responds to this wish by offering ever more refined and innovative Cognacs. What will the team at Hennessy be doing to stay at the forefront of customers’ minds? MH: Hennessy V.S.O.P is driving the concept of “Hennessy Artistry” through spectacular and sophisticated experiences staged across the world’s major cosmopolitan cities. It has brought together the most exciting music across the globe, blending a variety of musical styles and genres, like an expert Cognac maker who combines more than 60 ‘eauxde-vie’ to create premium spirit Hennessy V.S.O.P . For Hennessy XO, Our APPRECIATION GROWS campaign is designed to inspire and enlighten within both personal and professional spheres of life. This year as we continue to bring our consumers a series of exclusive events with a reinforcement of the savoire-faire, originality, innovation and modernity of Hennessy X.O. Each is meticulously designed, offering consumers the ultimate experience to appreciate the charisma of originality and to know how to live life well. DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 19
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The evolution of luxury in Hong Kong WORDS ° Brittany Lee Waller B ernard Peillon speaks luxury. This is not to be confused with French, though I’m sure you’ll agree the two are somewhat inextricably tied. Whichever you align it to; given Bernard is the CEO and Chairman of Hennessy, a company that sells more than 40 percent of the world’s cognac, about 50 million bottles a year worldwide, coming in at around 95 bottles of Hennessy a minute, it is a voice that most certainly should be heard, for both value and insight. Even Bernard himself confesses that if you are involved in finance then you should pay attention to the movements of a brand like Hennessy, a brand that can act as a barometer for economic growth. “We are a very good economic sensor and through my experience, we are clearly associated to the well being of the economy, even on a global scale. So, if Hong Kong is doing well, Hennessy will do well. If Hong Kong is expanding, Hennessy will expand and so on, he confirms. ” But, Hennessy is much more than an economic indicator and, specifically to those that belong to this historic brand, its worth is something that lives outside the realms of measurement. With already a strong link in China, Drinks World Asia wanted to find out how this iconic cognac company, one with such strong loyalties to brand identity and culture, is faring in the rapidly evolving Hong Kong drinks market. Brittany Lee Waller: What gives Hennessy its unique positioning in the greater Asian Market? Bernard Peillon: It’s been in existence for almost 250 years with a restaurant presence in Asia Pacific for a century and a half. So, it’s not like we are a newcomer, but I think we show modernity in the way that we express the brands, so that it’s not a frozen icon. If you look at Hennessy V.S.O.P with its artistry as a platform or if you look at it in terms of innovation with Hennessy Paradis Imperial and many other initiatives like the limited editions, the XO Mathusalem, I think it’s a brand that speaks in today’s terms. Being authentic and at the same time staying relevant to today’s environment are the two pillars for Asia. Then the global approach by Hennessy would be similar to the one of a luxury brand; it’s brand stature, price positioning, the way that it pays attention to detail, the sense of aesthetics and sense of beauty are intimately linked to the world of luxury. It’s a very singular attitude in the way that we manage Hennessy in Asia Pacific and the rest of the world. BLW: What opportunities do you see for luxury brands in the Hong Kong market? BP: The opportunities are clearly linked to the Hong Kong economy. We are, in a sense, a barometer of how well the economy is doing. One accelerating factor is clearly the Chinese influence because we are a very strong brand in China. And I would say depending on the proximity of the Hong Kong economy and the influence of the Chinese consumers into Hong Kong, including Macau next to it, explains the current dynamism of Hennessy. So, the potential is very significant. It is also extremely important in terms of the ‘shop window’. I think Hong Kong is clearly perceived, not necessarily by the Hong Kongese themselves, but by mainland Chinese as a luxury shop window with the international brands. I think you need to have a strong presence in Hong Kong so that it participates to the brand building. People need to see Hennessy doing well in Hong Kong. So, Hong Kong has a specific importance in the way that Hennessy establishes its presence in the region. It would be a mistake on our part to just DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 21
° MEET ° look at Hong Kong for what it means in terms of its market size. It is symbolically important because of the image it projects for those consumers. BLW: And what are the challenges? BP: I think any luxury brand needs to be extremely careful in remaining true to their DNA. Sometimes luxury brands may make the mistake in trying to service immediate consumer needs by trying to craft product that is solely dedicated to say example the Chinese community. When you have such a booming environment, the temptation is great for brands to ride the wave of opportunity and try to get so close to consumers by offering brands that are less dedicated or create products that are only dedicated to those consumers. A brand should speak appropriately to the community but not come down from its pedestal. BLW: How has the voice of your brand been received in Hong Kong in comparison to other parts of the world? BP: Well, we have a strong presence in a lot of continents, including Africa which people don’t think too much about, but we are an international brand. From the very beginning, the Hennessy family has adapted to the local environment while staying true to its cognac expertise. The portfolio has a great focus here on the premium, super premium and prestige range compared to say the US. In the US it’s much more towards Hennessy VS and V.S.O.P because the market is totally different. But once you’ve said that, the unique ability of Hennessy has been to connect with the consumers. For example, in the US a very significant percentage of our customers are African Americans and are emerging Hispanics, so we absolutely need to understand those consumers so that we can speak to them in the relevant fashion. Here we need to express Hennessy in a way that people can understand and connect to the brand emotionally. BLW: How are you meeting demand when your supply of eaux de vie is over 100 years old? BP: We need shareholders to accept that today I’m buying at a level of eaux de vies which is way above what I’m currently selling, because I need to lay down those eaux de 22 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA vies to age and prepare for the future. The core idea in managing Hennessy is to have a fairly reasonable approach. My position means that I’m looking at the world to try to decipher how it is moving and how I allocate Hennessy across the globe. For example, I have the largest inventory of eaux de vies ageing than any body on the planet by far. So it means that I have hundreds of millions worth of eaux de vies, sitting and ageing because we absolutely need to prepare for the future. If I was just worried about a short-term perspective, or in capitalistic terms just obsessed with short-term performance – I could be selling more. But, ultimately I would be jeopardising my ability to grow in the future. Sometimes I may decide to re-allocate some volume from one region to another region because either there is some opportunity or because I am trying to balance our activity so that we can still be around for the next hundred years. Before the interview DWA asked our online audience whether they had a question for Bernard. Bernard took great delight in the opportunity of responding to a question from a consumer. Cindy Wan asks: What is something you most enjoy about the culture of Hong Kong? BP: The food. I think very few country’s cuisine provides such a wealth of taste profiles but some do and I think here in Asia Pacific, that is clearly the fact. I would say almost every meal is different because it reflects the regional culture. So, there’s this endless experience with food, and we are obsessed with food in France, but beyond that it’s the acknowledgement of the tremendous versatility of the cuisine, of the experiences that I’ve had. And I also feel that Hennessy is a very natural fit with Asian cuisine, and experts will support that. The flavours, no matter if they are delicate or if they are more spicy, or whatever they are, I think Hennessy accompanies them very naturally. This is probably one of the reasons why Hennessy is so successful in Asia for so long. So, it’s that and it’s the architectural nature of this region. I am fascinated by the freedom of creativity here.
° VISIT ° new york’s What’s hot & happening in BAR SCENE Drinks World Asia takes a look at one of the world’s best bar scenes I n this ongoing series, I’ll highlight the very best of what’s happening in the Big Apple. Expect a snapshot of the top places to drink right now, of which bartenders you should keep an eye out for and of some of the very best libations every visitor should seek out. Enjoy! WORDS ° Naren Young There are an increasing number of great drinking cities around the globe and while some are well-publicised beacons for visitors looking for a world-class beverage, others fly a little more under the radar. I’ve been to most, if not all, of these places and i still believe New York is the winner when it comes to delivering the best service as well as the greatest cocktail design, variety and, of course, quality. Bar openings (and closings) are never a shortage in New York City. Many of the world’s cocktail buzz words: bottled cocktails, barrel aged cocktails, cocktails on tap – gained traction in Gotham City, even if they weren’t ‘invented’ here. Check out this little window into what is happening in the world’s cocktail epicenter right now, from the best new bars, the great old bars, to the bartenders that people will soon be watching. BARTENDERS ON FIRE: JOAQUIN SIMO – POURING RIBBONS When people talk of the ‘nice guys’ in the industry, compliments fly thick and fast for Joaquin Simo. Like many others, he originally began bartending at a student bar in his native Massachusetts. But it’s in New York City that he’s made his name and done so with a modest, humble and unassuming approach. He hasn’t worked at a lot of venues across Gotham – a rarity these days – manning the bar at the highly lauded Death & Co. for over six years. It was at this tiny neo-speakeasy in the East Village that he developed a loyal following and national recognition, which culminated in him being crowned American Bartender of the Year at the annual Tales of the Cocktail Awards in 2012. While at D&C, he developed a friendship and a business relationship with one of New York’s most recognised bar identities: Toby Maloney. They partnered with a few others in Alchemy Consulting and went onto open Pouring Ribbons in Alphabet City. Simo remains a consistent figure behind his own bar, making perfect drinks with the jovial demeanor and encyclopedic knowledge that have garnered him the utmost respect from the highest echelons of the industry. 225 Avenue B (near 14th St), New York, 10009. Ph: +1 917 656 6788 www.pouringribbons.com MAXIME BELFAND – SAXON + PAROLE A French native, Maxime spent a few years working at some of London’s top bars including Ronnie Scott’s and Novokov before moving to New York in 2011. Since then, he has worked at the highly acclaimed The Daily bar and has been an integral part of the team that took home the DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 23
° VISIT ° award for ‘World’s Best Restaurant Bar’ at the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail Awards. “I will always remember the day I arrived at Saxon + Parole to do my training as it was my first time working in New York City after coming from London. The vibe from the place and the people working there was both amazing and overwhelming, I’m only 27 year old but I have been working and traveling in few places in the world, but I had never seen anything like this before. The attention to detail and the level of focus behind that bar was beyond anything I had experienced in my career. I knew that day it was a place and a team that I wanted to be part of. It’s been almost two years now that I’ve been working for the company but only feels like a few days. I always come to work JOAQUIN SIMO Photo by Eric Medsker 24 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA with a smile because I know how lucky I have been to get an opportunity to work in Manhattan in this very special place. ” 316 Bowery (cnr. Bleecker St). Ph: +1 212 254 0350 www.saxonandparole.com SO HOT RIGHT NOW: BOTTLED COCKTAILS Bottled cocktails are one of the biggest trends doing the rounds across America right now. They’re being made in dozens of venues and while everyone seems to think they’re onto a new concept, bottled cocktails actually have a long and storied history. When saloons were closed on Sundays, people would buy bottled cocktails to serve at home. Sadly, almost all of today’s commercial examples
masquerading as bottled cocktails are awful. But there are several bartenders who have been leading a renaissance, such as Portland’s Jeffrey Morgenthaler who has had a carbonated and bottled Americano cocktail on his menu for several years now. At Manhattan’s Saxon + Parole, the Champagne Negroni (also served by the bucket) is one of the biggest selling drinks on the menu, especially when the mercury starts climbing and people realise that sitting on the bustling Bowery provides some of the best people watching in the city. 316 Bowery (cnr. Bleecker St). Ph: +1 212 254 0350 www.saxonandparole.com WHAT’S HOT: BENTON’S OLD FASHIONED AT PDT To the unadventurous drinker, the idea of imbibing a spirit that has been fat washed might be a little too left field - especially in today’s increasingly health-conscious world, where ‘fat’ has become a dirty word. Despite this, the technique is now being employed in bars all over the world and while it was brought to the fore by veteran New York bartender Eben Freeman, it is at the award winning PDT bar that fat washing has gained serious traction. The technique is all about adding a rich, buttery texture to the drink without actually adding any of the fat content. In this remarkable drink, bacon (from the famous DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 25
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Benton’s farm in Tennessee) is fried in a pan with the leftover juices poured into a container with several bottles of bourbon. This is stored in the fridge overnight and the fat solidifies on the surface. The fat is then scraped away and discarded and what remains is a spirit with just the slightest suggestion of swine and an unctuous texture. This is then stirred into an Old Fashioned with bitters and maple syrup in what is one of the most complex, original and sublime cocktails in all of New York. 113 St Mark’s Place (near Ave A), New York, 10009. Ph: +1 212 614 0386 www.pdtnyc.com COCKTAILS ON TAP – EMPELLON TAQUERIA During my time at the award winning Saxon + Parole restaurant on The Bowery, we were one of the first bars in Amereica to offer a cocktail on tap. The idea piqued my curiosity when I noticed that a lot of bars and restaurants were beginning to offer wines by the glass, poured from a beer tap. It seemed like a revelation and had me thinking that this was not just a cool idea, but one that could actually translate to greater profits. Why couldn’t this be applied to pouring cocktails in this way? Turns out it was, and is, very easy to do. We began serving a Manhattan Cocktail (of course) and it remains the biggest selling cocktail to this day. Since we began serving this in 2011, I’ve since seen Negronis and Americanos served on draught, as well as Fernet Branca, vermouth, gin & tonics and dozens of other options. Several bars now even have up to a dozen cocktails on tap. At Empellon Taqueria – my new digs in the West Village – we have a Negroni Pequeño (meaning ‘little Negroni) on tap, served in a cute little half portion, hence the name. Expect to see this new wave of draught cocktails pop up in all corners of the globe in the years ahead. 105 1st Avenue (at 6th St), New York, 10003. Ph: +1 212 780 0999 www.empellon.com BARS TO WATCH: THE DEAD RABBIT Named after a notorious gang of 1850’s New York, this bar in the New York’s financial district is the most hyped venue we’ve seen for a long time. Perhaps this is because its opening date was put back for what ended up being almost two years. Yes, you read that correctly. DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 27
° VISIT ° The Dead Rabbit is the brainchild of Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, two natives of Northern Ireland who made a big name for themselves at Belfast’s The Merchant Hotel for discreet, well-informed service and an outstanding cocktail menu. At their new digs in Manhattan – a split level tavern with a rustic public house downstairs and a parlour with reserved seating upstairs – the cocktail list is more impressive than anything this scribe has seen. It’s a surprisingly diminutive venue where one can enjoy a pint of Guinness, a cup of punch or a dram from the city’s biggest selection of Irish whiskey in a 28 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA downstairs saloon they’re calling the ‘Grog & Grocery’. Here, you can also buy a plethora of small goods to take home. McGarry heads up the parlour bar and watching him work is a lesson in grace and dexterity. He’s one of the finest young bartenders in the world today and his obscenely large 72-odd cocktail menu is the result of some exhaustive research, as he’s ensured each one is as historically correct as possible. 30 Water St (near Broad St), New York, 10004. Ph: +1 646 422 7906 www.deadrabbitnyc.com BUTTERFLY Eben Freeman is one of the most high profile names in the bartending world today. Having carved out a name for himself at the molecular-focused WD-50 restaurant on the Lower East Side, he is now the group beverage director for the Altamarea Group, helmed by the celebrated chef Michael White. The latest bar in their growing empire takes its name from The Butterfly Club in Wisconsin, where the chef grew up. Some of the drinks are favorites of that state – such as the Wisconsin Old Fashioned – where brandy stands in for the typical whiskey base – while others are some of Freeman’s greatest hits, such as his often imitated bourbon and smoked coca cola, which he created at the now-shuttered Tailor. Each drink is accompanied by its own illustration and an insight into some of the modernist techniques they’re employing in their execution. There’s definitely a focus on kitsch on the menu as can be seen in such drinks as the Grasshopper, although here it’s made with a clarified milk punch and a new, artisanal and delicious versions of crème de menthe and crème de cacao. There’s also a mezcal-spiked Rusty Nail variation, a Mai Tai made
without any superfluous ingredients, a textbook Whiskey Sour and a very cool Martini using a vodka infused with slate. Located in the hip and affluent downtown neighborhood of Tribeca, the area continues to attract a growing number of high profile bar owners and restaurareurs, looking to capitalize on a huge cross section of clientele – from wandering tourists to young families and moneyed Wall St types. The room itself is not so warm or exciting, but what Freeman is putting out across the bar always keeps people’s curiosity alive. 225 West Broadway, New York, 10013. Ph: +1 646 692 4943 www.thebutterflynyc.com CLASSIC BAR OLD TOWN BAR There are few better cities in the world to drink in solitude than in New York, especially in the winter. In Gotham, there is literally a bar for everyone, no matter what you’re into. I enjoy a finely made cocktail at one of the city’s myriad neo-speakeasies as much as the next guy. But I also love what New York does best, and that’s classic. Whether you’re sidled up at one of the opulent hotel bars in Midtown or a saloon from the turn of the century Downtown, you will be drinking in a piece of local history. The drinks are secondary to the atmosphere and it is the characters you meet that you’ll most remember, long after you’ve savored those last drops from your dirty pint glass. For me, one of those venerable joints is the Old Town Bar; a moniker that could not be any more appropriate. For a start it was built in 1892 and traded right through the dark days of Prohibition. I like to come here during the late afternoon – just after the lunch rush and just before the happy hour crowd and tourists swarm the place. The back bar is littered with a kaleidoscope of colorful bottles that most human beings shouldn’t be forced to ingest (Smirnoff Cinnamon, anyone?). Order a cocktail at your peril. Rather, pull up a rickety stool at the behemoth 60 feet bar, wave down a bartender for a pint of Guiiness and a shot of Old Grandad, pull out a good book and revel in the fact that nobody might bother you for hours. 45 East 18th St (at Broadway), New York, 10003. Ph: +1 212 529 6732 www.oldtownbar.com DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 29
° PROFILE ° Martell / Zhang Yu O nly a few years shy of celebrating its 300th anniversary, world-renowned cognac house Martell has a long history of collaborating with artists. Established in 1715 and acclaimed as the largest estate in the Cognac region of France, the brand’s uncompromising pursuit of fine arts has led to several innovative and unique creations over the years. This year was no exception. Martell’s latest collaboration with Chinese contemporary artist, Zhang Yu, whose 2013.10.3 Fingerprint – Blue and White Porcelain and Martell was unveiled at Hong Kong’ s Fine Art Asia fair in October, is a perfect example of the cognac house’s avantgarde, creative philosophy. Considered a master of contemporary ink art, Zhang Yu’s celebrated series of works, entitled “Fingerprints” have taken traditional Chinese art to a new level since their first appearance in the 1990s. With thirty years experience engaging in experimental ink exploration, Zhang 30 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA Yu is constantly trying to re-define this tradition, through new forms, different mediums, and diverse expressions. This latest piece is the artist’s first attempt with the colour blue, drawing him away from his customary palette of red, grey, black, and white. “As an artist, I believe it is no coincidence that ‘Blue and White Porcelain’ and Martell share the same kind of blue; I would rather believe it is the validation of our shared pursuit towards an advanced quality of our classics, “ comments Zhang Yu on his collaboration of the project. Also enthusiastic about the collaboration is Martell brand ambassador, Jeremy Oakes, who believes the association of Zhang Yu and Martell will further enrich and elevate the culture of cognac and ink art. “It is truly our honour to work with Mr Zhang Yu on this collaboration, joining together to create such a magnificent project. The fingerprint represents charisma, quality, character, individuality and identity. By symbolising both individuality and identity, they signify the most recognized core value of both Martell and Zhang Yu, says Oakes. ” In addition to his collaboration with the
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esteemed cognac house at the art fair, Zhang Yu was also invited to stage a traditional “ink ceremony” at the historic Chateau de Chanteloup, the residence of company founder, Jean Martell. Zhang Yu presented two phases of the ceremony, one in the chateau, and one in the Martell cellar. As part of the first phase, hundreds of delicate cognac glasses were placed on the floor in a precise pattern – a remarkable sight, set against the backdrop of the chateau’s stunning, vintage interiors. Then, instead of cognac, Zhang Yu gently filled the glasses with Chinese ink, symbolising the exchange, and unification of French cognac with Chinese ink culture. Normally closed to visitors, the Martell cellar took the stage to host the second phase of Yu’s installation. Here, the glasses were replaced with porcelain bowls, and filled with Martell cognac rather than Chinese ink. Zhang Yu mixed cognac with water, in order to resemble the making of the ink, then poured this liquid into the bowls, leaving it to eventually vaporise. On the shared origin between ink and cognac, 32 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA Zhang Yu comments, “This is a collaboration with an in-depth exploration and presentation that we never reached in terms of the meaning of cross culture; it is a dialogue between the spirits of Chinese ink and Martell cognac. This time I go even further beyond the traditional edge in terms of the use of medium. Water being the soul of ink and the source of wine is literally the origin of all kinds. It pulls a string between ink and cognac, of East and West. It forges the core of their culture. ” While the pervading atmosphere of the chateau, and the aromas of cognac added to the event’s rare ambiance, it was undoubtedly the tradition-breaking collaboration and shared attitude of Martell and Zhang Yu that made the occasion unique. Although Martell’s long established connection with the arts spans over three centuries, this collaboration was significant, as it was the first between the revered cognac house and a Chinese artist. Hopefully, it represents the beginning of a long future of many, unique collaborations between east and west and for art and culture.
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° MEET ° Gaurav Sabharval & his journey to the Lion City G aurav Sabharwal is the Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Singapore. His journey to the Lion City began when he joined IDV as a sales manager in India. 16 years on and he’s heading one of the world’s most dynamic and forward thinking drinks companies in a city that is the shopwindow for the world. Welcome to Singapore Mr Sabharwal. Drinks World Asia caught up with Sabharwal four months into his tenure to discuss his personal journey and the current challenges facing the local liquor market. 34 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA
Drinks World Asia: Welcome to Singapore. You’ve been here four months now, can you tell us a little bit about how you came to be the managing director of Pernod Singapore? Gaurav Sabharwal: Well, it’s taken 16 years. I started with a four year stint in the drinks industry with a company called IDV (International Distillers & Vintners later merged with UD to form Diageo), mostly getting sales experience. I left the company to form a jewelry retailing business. It was completely different, a 360 degree change for me and a fantastic three year journey, after which I rejoined the drinks industry with Diageo. I then stayed with Diageo for almost three and a half years. About seven years ago, I happened to meet the then CEO of Pernod Ricard India, who mentioned that they were looking to set up the International Brands business in South Asia. Pernod Ricard India is a big business with significant local brands alongside the international brands such as Chivas and Absolut. It seemed to be an exciting opportunity to do something new and different which involved the setting up of a new business.When we started, the market share for Chivas and Johnnie Walker, which was really the mainstay in that part of the world [India], was less than 20 percent. Now we are almost at 45 percent! Today, India is also among the top markets for The Glenlivet (starting from scratch) and a strong growth driver for Absolut in the region In July 2013, I moved to Pernod Ricard Singapore. DWA: Was it an easy decision to make the move to Singapore? GS: Singapore as a city was a pretty easy decision. Businesswise, Singapore is a mature market and that, of course, is really good. But the question was more: is this the right place to be in because things are already set? After four months I can see that the consumer and the consumption are both extremely dynamic. Currently, I believe Singapore is going through a lot of change when it comes to consumption, which I believe is a little more inclined towards traditional drinking, but this is changing. The exciting part now is taking it to the next level. DWA: What do you see are the main drivers for Pernod Ricard in Singapore? GS: I think it’s a very exciting chapter. Given our portfolio of brands, we certainly know that there are opportunities for us to look at and that is what’s going to drive us forward. Today the consumers are demanding better products and are willing to pay when they perceive the value; and Pernod Ricard is in a very good position to focus on that. We can see that with brands today like Chivas 18 Year Old, or The Glenlivet, even Martell Cordon Bleu; they have been ahead of the market for the last couple of years and I see that trend increasing. I believe that companies like us will bring in not just new brands, but also new drinking results, new drinking occasions, and associations. In the modern bars, the cocktail bars, brands like Absolut have been at the forefront. So there’s this big spirit portfolio push that we are pursuing here. Finally, there is this whole aspect of luxury wherein we suddenly see champagne, for example, as a very exciting category with G.H.Mumm and Perrier-Jouët. We see people being extremely discerning, looking at brands like Royal Salute or Martell Chanteloup Perspective. I believe that discernment is what makes it more exciting and more sustainable in the long-term because the people here will be more loyal. DWA: How do you see the cognac market in Singapore developing? GS: Cognac is indisputably very big in Asia, and Singapore, for that matter, is not behind. As a DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 35
° MEET ° category by volume consumption, it’s the second biggest, not far behind whisky. Cognac is probably the category which has been around the longest and it’s been driven by traditional businesses and entrepreneurs, and of course it has become part of the culture. There is a section which sees cognac as traditional, and you see some other categories now emerging strongly in Singapore. On the other hand, it’s very interesting, as I see it, that cognac is almost part of the culture for Singaporeans, which is quite mindboggling. At every occasion there has to be cognac and there’s no other category, which leads me to believe that there is a very strong inherent sense of affinity to the category. The interesting part is that now we have started to see a shift in the consumer profile. There was a period last year where cognac growth was probably the lowest among the categories and it was sliding towards stagnation. But at the same time, what I’m seeing in Singapore right now is the emergence of new types of entertainment places. I’m not talking about discotheques, I’m talking about very high energy bars, which in a way could be unique 36 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA to Singapore. That’s what we are seeing now, the consumer profile shifting. There are now a greater number of young adult drinkers in their 20s who have also started enjoying Martell, and dare I say that Martell really signifies cognac in Singapore. It’s not just the market leader – it’s an integral part of Singapore’s drinking culture; I have never seen such brand strength in any market with that kind of fascination. Going ahead, I see this as extremely exciting because now there are these younger set of consumers who are obviously not shying away from cognac. All that needs to be done is to give them the right triggers. It is up to brands like Martell to rejuvenate the category slightly. We already have these new sets of consumers coming, just give them the right triggers, and I think it would be there for the next five to ten years. DWA: What triggers are Pernod Ricard creating for these consumers? GS: Martell has just recently launched Martell VSOP Elegantology, which is about associating with contemporary elegance in today’s music, fashion, and drinks. It’s actually bringing about the three tiers that appeal to young adult drinkers. It’s in its early stages now; it started off in markets including Malaysia and Singapore. For the cognac consumer who may want to move beyond VSOP there is , Martell Cordon Bleu as the next discerning choice. It’s probably the most loved XO here in Asia, a very strong brand leader; and it’s within Cordon Bleu that we are now looking at bringing the next level of the cognac experience to our consumers. For example in Singapore, we have been associated, for four years now, with the visual arts, in particular with photography. We present the Icon de Martell Cordon Bleu as an annual national award, which is today highly recognized.
Gastronomy is another aspect that Martell Cordon Bleu is strongly associated with, taking consumers to even greater heights of discernment, Because of its smooth finish, Cordon Bleu pairs excellently with various cuisines and the natural flavours of the ingredients accentuate the tasting notes of Cordon Bleu. To encourage the art of pairing Martell cognacs and food, Martell has launced a special gastronomy signature called Pure Gourmet. Pure Gourmet is a gastronomy approach that is inspired by Martell’s creation of its cognacs, thus focusing on the freshest and purest of ingredients as the basis of cuisine that is paired perfectly with each cognac from the Martell range. Of course, Martell is also about the business community and the entrepreneurs which the brand has been working closely with. I would say that the business community here has greatly helped to build Martell into the brand it is today in Singapore. Our Martell XO marque thus fits really well in terms of the future trends and how Martell is placed in terms of taking it forward. I believe the future of cognac is extremely positive in Singapore. DWA: What is the message you want told about Pernod Ricard for the readers of Drinks World? GS: I’m going to share with you a conversation I had with one of our customers who runs one of the leading modern bars in Singapore. He says, ‘You know what? I’m not very happy. I think this place can do much better.’ His point was that he wants to upsell and he wants people to have the next level of drinks now. I believe this is a challenge that a lot of customers will face and will continue to face. I said to him, ‘You know, this is a great stage to be in. If you are ready to experiment, in Pernod Ricard you have not just a company but you have a group of people who would come along with you, not just to support you, but also to work along with you and create programs, bring in products, and see what we can do together.’ What it implies is it’s not just about getting the best DJ in the world to play at your place; it’s about how we can help you get people who usually spend 50 dollars to spend 75 and go back happy. It’s not about just pricing, it’s about getting your products, it’s about getting the drinks experience. We would like to bring that about in your place. We have the ability and we are already doing this with a few other partners. DWA: It’s a good way to increase turnover. GS: Exactly. Another aspect is the staff. It’s not just about bar training, the bartender is not there to just sell bottles. It’s about the experience, it’s about the product, it’s about the knowledge. I guess it’s that next level of education and skill set that Pernod Ricard will certainly help its customer with. The best thing is that these are not just statements, beacause I certainly believe that Pernod Ricard in Singapore is the market leader. It’s not just about Martell, it’s about Chivas, it’s about Absolut, it’s about The Glenlivet. And not to forget Champagne. That’s the sort of portfolio we have today which gives us, and gives me, the confidence to talk. DWA: Are you executing the Maison training programs through here? GS: That’s exactly the program that we intend to kick off in Singapore. What I’m saying is that at the end of the day, we are the market leaders, and it stems more from a perspective of saying that ‘What have we done right? Can we do it better?’ And we believe the answer for us is yes. Training, getting the staff to look at products from a slightly different light, and talking to the consumers not about price deals but about saying, ‘This is the new thing that I bought, this is the better thing that I bought. You may want to taste it.’ And that’s what I believe Pernod Ricard is going to do in the near future. That’s what the Maison program delivers. When I look back at the experience in India, I realize it’s really a phenomenon that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s about consumers really getting exposed to it. We respect that the bartenders know how to create drinks; we’re just showing them the new trends. We’re not going to teach them how to make drinks. With these bartenders, what these guys want to know is, ‘What are we going to do after 3, 4, 5 years?’ What are their expectations and aspirations? Some of them want to own their own bars. This program is also about imparting soft skills such as how to talk to a consumer, how to open up a conversation and finally to ensure an experiential evening for the consumer. DRINKS WORLD ASIA ° 37
° FEATURE ° Dilettantes & Connoisseurs W hether you are a dilettante or a connoisseur, there is a joy in exploring the mystery of why a particular blend of aromas and sensations speaks to you more than another. Martell’s creations tell the story of its style through the years – particularly recognisable, it speaks to all those who call for excellence, like Jean Martell, the founder of the House. 38 ° DRINKS WORLD ASIA
The elegance, complexity and balance of the Martell style are the result of specific decisions and precise strategies. Martell Cognacs contain eaux-de-vie from the Borderies, the most exclusive terroir in the region. During the ageing process, these elegant eaux-devie develop a wonderful aromatic harmony, with candied fruit and sweet spicy notes. These eaux-devie from the Borderies form Martell’s signature style. Drawing on its extensive expertise and experience, Martell has developed its own unique distillation method. This includes the distillation of clear wines only, without the lees, to achieve elegant eaux-devie. Martell ages its eaux-de-vie in finegrain oak barrels, to release subtle woody aromas from the soft, delicate tannins. The choice of wood helps to create the typical elegant style of Martell Cognacs. These practices comprise the basic method, but they are just the tip of the iceberg; for the Martell style has evolved over three centuries of experience and passion. Martell’s men and women have worked tirelessly to further their knowledge and refine their methods in pursuit of ever-higher ideals of quality. It is these people who hand down the know-how, the experience and the memory of flavour: the spirit of Martell. Three terms encapsulate the sensations of a Martell tasting; elegance, complexity and balance. ELEGANCE Martell Cognacs are exquisite. Their subtle aromas and silky sensations flatter the palate. COMPLEXITY Martell Cognacs reveal a multitude of aromatic notes, on the nose and in the mouth including; floral, fruity, spicy, woody, toasted and vanilla. If you pay close attention, you will discover new nuances on every tasting. This diversity is the mark of great Cognacs, which always have something new to offer. BALANCE Martell Cognacs are well structured yet round, powerful yet light. Their subtle aromas mingle exquisitely to create a rich, harmonious bouquet, with no dissonant notes. F
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