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Three days with Giffard in Angers

Last week, Amy Hopkins spent three days with renowned liqueurs and syrups maker Giffard, exploring its new state-of-the-art syrups production site and judging the 10th annual Giffard West Cup cocktail competition.

The trip started with a whistle-stop visit to Paris to check out the Cocktail Spirits trade show at Maison Rouge. Innovation was the name of the game, with a plethora of boundary-breaking bottlings on display. The show also played host to the second P(our) Symposium, where a number of stimulating discussions focused on the topic of gender.

The morning after a welcome dinner in Angers – home to Giffard since its inception in 1885 – guests were taken on a tour of Giffard’s liqueurs factory. In the site’s stylish lobby, colourful posters showed the brand’s history of clever marketing.

Bruno Giffard, CEO of the company, took guests through the production processes of Giffard’s liqueurs, and explained his family’s commitment to quality ingredients. However, the recipe of each individual liqueur remains a closely guarded secret….

No tour would be complete without at tasting. Edith Giffard, co-CEO and marketing manager, showcased Giffard’s extensive liqueurs range and introduced guests to its new Caribbean Pineapple flavour – a mix of fresh pineapples, candied pineapple infusion, seven-year-old Caribbean rum, and spices.

Giffard recently separated its liqueurs and syrups production with the opening of a state-of-the-art syrups factory – a long-term investment in the company’s future in Angers. As demand continues to soar, It will allow Giffard to double capacity of both its liqueurs and syrups production.

Built at a cost of €13 million (US$14.5m), the factory opened two months ago and is managed by Pierre Giffard (left), son of Edith Giffard,

A bright entrance showcases Giffard’s new syrups bottle design.

The syrups facility is based on an area of land that will allow Giffard to expand production even further in the future, and also provides the option to moves liqueurs production to the new site.

Then, bartenders were ferried to Domain de Châtillon for a quintessentially French lunch in a beautiful garden dotted with ice sculptures.

Afterwards, the Giffard West Cup – now in its 10th year – kicked off in style. Eighteen bartenders who were named winners in their regional heats took to the podium in the first round of the competition to present their signature serve to a panel of judges. Ten were taken through to the second round, where they were tasked with showcasing Giffard’s Premium range in a well-balanced and creative cocktail.

Judges deliberated to whittle down the competitors to a final three. They were: Sam Treadway from the US (pictured); David Hans from Malaysia; and Christyne Lee from Singapore. Treadway impressed in the first two rounds with his cocktails: Travelling Banana and Jack of Diamonds.

In the final round, the three competitors were tasked with creating a cocktail they would have liked to enjoy with Giffard founder Emilie Giffard. Treadway’s cocktail – The Ringer – consisted of Ron Abuelo 7 Años, Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Premium Liqueur, Bigallet China-China, and with a vanilla and pineapple garnish.

David Hans, who won a spot in the final with his two cocktails – Jardin Romantique and Dynasty Poem – presented a final serve comprising London dry gin, Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Premium Liqueur, Giffard Menthe-Pastille, Giffard Pink Grapefruit Liqueur, and tonic water, garnished with a mint sprig.

Christyne Lee won praise from the judges for her first two cocktails: Le Prince N°2 and France Journey. Her final serve was a mix of London dry gin, Giffard Caribbean Pineapple Premium Liqueur, Menthe-Pastille, Giffard Pink Grapefruit Liqueur, grapefruit juice, and lemon juice, and garnished with a grapefruit wedge.

David Hans was named overall winner of the 10th annual Giffard West Cup at a gala dinner. He will go on to represent the brand as an ambassador.

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