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Top spirits at TFWA Asia Pacific 2016

An essential exhibition for the travel retail industry, the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference returns to Singapore for its 2016 edition this weekend. Here are the spirits exhibitors you won’t want to miss.

The Asian spirits market is more complex than ever - making this year's TFWA Asia Pacific a must for international spirits brands
The Asian spirits market is more complex than ever – making this year’s TFWA Asia Pacific a must for international spirits brands

This feature was initially published in the May 2016 edition of The Spirits Business.

As a luxury leader with young, dynamic populations, Asia Pacific has been one giant success story for travel retail over the past decade. But while the region remains the largest in value terms, growth is slowing, from +12.1% in 2013 to +9.9% in 2014.

Near double-digit growth remains a cause for celebration, particularly for an industry which posted global declines in the first half of 2015. It’s against this backdrop of tentative optimism that key stakeholders prepare to travel to Singapore for the annual TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference, held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre from 8-12 May.

Around 300 exhibitors will be showcasing their wares, including a strong contingent of spirits suppliers. New brands to the event include Italian drinks group Illva Saronno, while a raft of established names will showcase travel retail exclusives targeted specifically to the region.

Event organiser TFWA is looking to newness and has implemented a tranche of new digital technologies to “enhance the visitor experience” at the show. In an updated format, the TFWA web app is now compatible with any mobile device and provides users with instant access to exhibitor details, stand locations and news updates, as well as essential show information – from shuttle bus timetables to start times of the social events. Visitors can access the app at

Meanwhile, the online Exhibition Directory makes a return in 2016, crammed with exhibitor details such as contact information and product listings. New for this year is a sophisticated browse function which allows visitors to search for, collate and print detailed information at the touch of a button.

“Our suite of digital tools will help to create the ideal environment for doing business, sharing knowledge and of course networking,” said Carla Guiducci, TFWA vice president, marketing. “They will help all who are headed for Singapore this year to make the very most of what we hope will be an action-packed yet highly productive event.”

Conference content

A valuable information exchange for travel retail professionals, the full-day TFWA Asia Pacific Conference will once again update and inspire delegates and exhibitors alike at the beginning of the week. The conference in 2016 returns with a new format, which will see two consecutive plenary sessions followed by three concurrent workshops and additional networking time. The first plenary session will open with a state of the industry address from TFWA president Erik Juul-Mortensen, followed by an update from Jaya Singh, president, Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association (APTRA).

Author and diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, a former ambassador to the UN and now dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, will then share his understanding of the political and economic challenges facing the region. “Futurist” and author Mike Walsh will conclude the session with a review of how the duty free and travel retail industry should respond in the current climate of disruptive change.

The second plenary session will focus on the experience of travel retailers, with Philippe Schaus, DFS Group CEO, Jack MacGowan, Aer Rianta International CEO, and Kevin Chiang, Ever Rich Duty Free general manager, addressing delegates.

Following a business networking lunch, three workshops will take place simultaneously: Workshop A, Off-airport duty free: Asia Pacific’s powerhouse; Workshop B, Tracking the millennial traveller; and Workshop C, Safeguarding our industry’s future.

Workshop A will outline the exciting duty free developments that have taken place away from airports in the region, with a particular focus on downtown duty free. The importance of millennial travellers will be the subject of Workshop B, while Workshop C will examine threats to growth in the fast-changing world. For 2016, the conference and workshops will take place in a new location within Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, on Level 5. A dedicated conference app is in development, which will allow delegates to take part in real-time polls and put questions direct to the speakers.

“The new format of the conference means it offers more breadth and more depth, and even more opportunity to gain first-hand insight from some of the most high-profile figures in the business,” said Thom Rankin, TFWA vice president, conferences and research. “A record number of exhibitors and a healthy number of delegates have already registered to join us in Singapore. This year’s exhibition and conference is definitely shaping up to be an essential diary date for anyone who has an interest in the duty free and travel retail sector within this dynamic and exciting region.”

With such a packed diary – Sunday’s Golf Tournament, Tai Chi, and Opening Cocktail; Tuesday’s Chill-out Party; and Wednesday’s Singapore Swing Party are all crucial networking opportunities – a tight exhibition schedule is essential. So click through the following pages to discover SB’s spirits highlights from across the show floor… 

Crystal Head Vodka

Crystal Head Vodka WEB

Stand: Basement 2, D38

2015 was Crystal Head Vodka’s first year exhibiting at the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference and it turned out to be a “very successful” show, says Brian Meret, Crystal Head Vodka’s vice president Caribbean, Latin America and global travel retail.

“With direct input from the show last year, we have developed two duty free exclusive products that we are excited to present this year.” These developments represent a new one-litre bottle and a 4 x 50ml gift pack – both of which will be available to view on-stand.

Meret describes Crystal Head as “perfect for the current duty free environment”, citing its super-premium tendencies in a sector dominated by “a demographic that is willing to step up”. Millennial customers are perhaps unsurprisingly a key target – as are, more unusually, cross-category activations. “We find that we can acquire sales of Crystal Head Vodka to consumers who enter a duty free store with no intention of buying spirits if the brand is visible or perhaps used as a display piece in another area of the store such as jewellery.”

Head to the Crystal Head Vodka stand for sampling activity during the show.

Deau Cognac


Deau Cognac WEB

Stand: Basement 2, A02

A relatively new brand to the travel retail Cognac scene, Deau is exhibiting for the second time in Singapore as it seeks to continue its Asia Pacific expansion. The region accounts for 40% of the company’s business, and a new commercial office recently opened in Shandong Province, Tsing Tao.

On-stand focuses this year include Privilège cuvée – a “unique” blend of Cognacs slowly matured in cellars – and the revamped Cognac Extra Black expression. “The demand for premium products in the region continues to be strong, so we thought returning to Singapore with a more high-end looking product was important,” explained Olivier Hidier, Deau commercial director.

“The new look cover and gift pack is sure to catch the eye of passers-by. We may be a small brand in comparison to the main Cognac players, but we have a unique offering and one we feel is ideal for this channel. We have seen success in the domestic markets, and we are now looking to replicate this in travel retail; it is a great showcase for further building awareness of our brand, and an excellent platform for which to go to the next level of growth.”

Fraternity Spirits

Horus Fraternity

Stand: Basement 2, 02

Mexico-based drinks group Fraternity Spirits World heads to TFWA Asia Pacific with a strong portfolio of spirits and liqueurs that have been specifically targeted to the region. Asia continues to be a “very important element of the company’s travel retail strategy”, says the brand, due to its “massive potential”.

Three products will take centre stage on the Fraternity stand: Ron Prohibido, an “artisan” rum produced under a 12-year solera system; Ron Mulata, a Cuban rum with “alluring aromas”; and Horus chocolate liqueur, which symbolises the importance of Mexican chocolate.

“TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition is the perfect opportunity for us to showcase the exciting range of brands we have to offer key Asian retailers,” says Raffaele Berardi, CEO Fraternity Spirits World. “Our team works hard to ensure we are offering spirits and liqueurs that meet the Asian consumer’s taste demands, and help us continue to build upon the success we already enjoy in the region.”

Head to the Fraternity Spirits stand for product sampling, cocktails mixed from the portfolio, and an “array of personalised surprises”.

Illva Saronno

Disaronno Reserva WEB

Stand: Basement 2, B8

A first time exhibitor to the show, Italian drinks company Illva Saronno will use TFWA Asia Pacific as an opportunity to highlight Disaronno Reserva, a blend of Disaronno Originale and a Scotch blended malt from Highland, Speyside and Island distilleries.

The company believes the product is “particularly suited” for Asia Pacific buyers looking for “premium products in stunning packaging”.

Also on-stand will be the Roberto Cavalli limited edition Disaronno bottle which carries a design influenced by undersea and safari patterns. The third bottle in the Icon series, the Cavalli edition follows designs from Moschino and Versace bottles – and visitors to the stand in Singapore will get a sneak preview of the 2016/17 project.

“For the past two years Illva Saronno has put a stronger focus on the travel retail market generally,” comments Domenico Toni, Illva Saronno international sales director.

“We exhibited at the TFWA World Exhibition for the first time in 2014. Now we believe it is the right time to focus more attention on the Asia Pacific region.”

La Martiniquaise


La Martiniquaise WEB

Stand: Basement 2, L2

TFWA Asia Pacific is one of five fairs on France-based drinks group’s La Martiniquaise’s calendar, and the company sees it as an important opportunity to catch up with clients and meet new importers.

“Asia is an important area for the group, especially for our Scotch whisky Label 5,” explains Nadège Perrot, brand manager, modern spirits. “In the area, two thirds of La Martiniquaise sales are Label 5.” Premium expression Label 5 Gold Heritage will have a prominent space on the La Martiniquaise stand as it’s an important reference in the area, especially in China, she notes. Premium, high quality yet affordable price, Graham Coull, the brand’s master blender, describes the liquid as a “personal achievement” and a “wonderfully balanced blend”.

While La Martiniquaise travel activity in Asia is still small, “it’s our objective to strengthen our position in the channel,” Perrot continues, adding that millennials are important to the strategy, especially for brands such as Poliakov Vodka. The brand is active in the digital sphere and is available in numerous formats to cater to all consumption occasions.

Patrón Spirits International

Patron TR exclusive

Stand: Basement 2, L5

International Tequila brand Patrón describes the Asia Pacific region as a “key” market and the TFWA Asia Pacific event as an “important opportunity for us to reinforce relationships with our duty free and domestic partners in the region, and introduce new offerings,” details Art Hyndman, duty free manager Asia Pacific, at Patrón Spirits International.

Patrón’s entire portfolio will be available on-stand, including the liqueurs selection, with the core line presented in the recently introduced travel retail exclusive one litre formats.

Hyndman continues: “This exclusive collectors’ edition bottle is adorned with an intricate design of the iconic Patrón Tequila bee, rendered in pure pewter and hand applied. The bottle is then finished with a unique glass stopper.” Patrón Extra Añejo 5 Años duty free exclusive and the Patrón en Lalique: Serie 1 extra añejo Tequila (a collaboration between Patrón and French crystal designer Lalique) will also be available to view on-stand. In addition, visitors can take a virtual tour of Patrón’s Jalisco distillery.

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