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Unmissable spirits exhibitors at Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017

In among all the wine exhibitors, Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017 has an improved focus on spirits, with a particular emphasis on speciality local drops. SB previews the event and looks at what exciting developments brands have in store.

All the fun of the fair: SB gives you the lowdown on the highlights of Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017

The 19th edition of Vinexpo Bordeaux will take place from 18-21 June at the city’s Parc des Expositions, featuring the widest range of wines and spirits ever showcased at the trade show.

The leading global event of the wine and spirits trade will welcome 48,500 professional visitors from more than 150 countries – many of whom come from the American and Asian markets.

Buyers, importers, sommeliers, distributors and retailers are all expected to attend the event, which will attract more than 2,350 exhibitors from 42 producing countries. As well as networking, visitors will have the chance to refine their tasting knowledge at the Vinexpo Academy; a programme of conferences, masterclasses and discussions led by experts.

“Spirits makes up about 10%-15% of our exhibitors this year, and Vinexpo is a great platform to see many new brands coming on the market,” says Guillaume Deglise, Vinexpo CEO.

“We would love spirits to become more predominant. It’s always been more seen as a wine show because we are in Bordeaux, but we are doing our best to give more visibility to spirits brands.”

In keeping with the tradition of the biennial show, Spain will be in the limelight as the Country of Honour, with special masterclasses, tastings and product launches dedicated to the diverse wine-producing country. A Taste of Spain will present 100 of the best Spanish bodegas, and a number of leading Spanish restaurants, at a special event held at Bordeaux’s Palais de la Bourse.

There will also be a masterclass dedicated to the “Irish spirits renaissance”, with a tasting that highlights a selection of the country’s latest spirits innovations, including whiskeys, gins, and whiskey cream liqueurs. There will also be a tasting from new Siberian vodka brand Taïga, along with a food pairing.

Japanese beverages will play an important role in this year’s Vinexpo, with a presentation of the production processes of sakés and shochus,  and suggestion of pairings with non-Japanese cuisines. The masterclass will be held by leading representatives of Miyasaka Brewing Co and the Japanese Saké and Shochu producers association.

“There are many new trends to be discovered this year,” adds Deglise. “Lots of conferences, masterclasses and lots of great new exhibitors joining us. We have some interesting saké from Japan, for instance, so a lot of those exhibitors will be coming for the first time, which is exciting, its a growing category everywhere in the world.”

Unmissable party

The Blend, Vinexpo’s unmissable after-work party for all Vinexpo attendees, will return to the show on the evening of 20 June at Palais de la Bourse. Sponsored spirits bars at the show will include Vodka Taïga Shtof, Gin Moon Harbour, and Whisky D’Arche.

Also returning is Les Terrasses, an expansive indoor-outdoor exhibition space showcasing a dozen major wine and spirits brands; and L’Atelier Food & Wine, a series of pairing demonstrations featuring renowned chefs partnered with leading sommeliers.

New for 2017 is a hosted buyers’ programme aimed at “bringing in key players” from the e-commerce, travel retail, mass retail and hospitality sectors to Vinexpo. Two hundred new international buyers will be invited to Bordeaux as representatives of the distribution channels, with the opportunity to join Vinexpo’s One-to-Wine meetings and hold four to six private meetings a day with their target businesses.

In total, Deglise expects about 2,500 meetings to be organised. “It’s a great tool for when you want to meet a potential new distributor or new importer, because you’re not just meeting existing distributors.”

He also believes there’s a demand for the service. “It’s what people expect from an organiser, to facilitate business so they can get new contacts.”

Visitors can also attend a conference session tackling challenges related to Brexit. Panellists include Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association; Jean-Marie Barillère, president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne; Andrew Shaw, group wine buying director, Conviviality PLC; and wine writer Jane Anson, who will moderate the conference.

Five subsequent topics form the agenda: a detailed update on trade agreements; the impact of the UK market on duties, consumer prices, category-management and distribution; the UK and re-exports; travel retail opportunities; and the protection of designation of origin areas.

While there are clearly challenges for the industry related to Brexit, Deglise adds: “In a wider context, among our 48,000 attendees there will be producers and buyers that are currently excluded from the EU favourable tariff zone who see Brexit as an opportunity to penetrate the UK wine and spirits market.”

The Vinexpo team has also announced its plans to extend its reach to the US next year with the launch of Vinexpo New York. “The American market is the leading consumer for wine in the world,” says Deglise. “And it’s one of the leading markets for spirits – it’s the third-largest for spirits after China and India. So it will be really interesting to go to the US because it’s a very strong spirit producer and importer.”

Among the improvements for this year’s show, Vinexpo has moved its five-day schedule to four days, which Deglise believes is a more expected format for trade shows. “We wanted to concentrate the show on four days. The passion in the industry is not to go for larger shows, so we reduced that.”

Reflecting on feedback from previous shows, Deglise says: “Two years ago, people were really glad about the improvements we made with logistics, and with the new tram line that takes visitors from the centre of Bordeaux to the exhibition centre in 20 minutes, and the logistics in the exhibition system itself.

“We improved on service, but this time we definitely wanted to focus on business, and helping the business of our exhibitors.”

The Spirits Business and sister title the drinks business will also host The Drinks & Spirits Business Bar in Hall 1, CD268, showcasing a number of leading brands in an assortment of cocktails.

For the complete list of exhibitors at Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017 and map of the fair, visit

Over the following pages we highlight some of the many spirits brands exhibiting at Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017.

American Beverage Marketers

Stand: Hall 3 – UV329

ABM will be returning to Vinexpo this year, showcasing its on-trade ranges of Reàl Cocktail Ingredients and Finest Call. The company’s retail cocktail mix line, Master of Mixes, will also be at the show. At the main bar, several of the Reàl fruit-infused syrups will be used in the cocktails. Tiki rum expert Daniele Dalla Pola will also be at the stand demonstrating how to make tiki drinks with the range. The company will also be unveiling two new products at the show: Crisp Apple Reàl and Finest Call Elderflower Syrup.

What they say: “We are very pleased to be participating in Vinexpo again this year to showcase our cocktail ingredient products. We come to Vinexpo as we can have meetings with our many current EU distributors and meet new distributors from many parts of the world where we do not currently do business. This big show provides one-stop shopping to the entire distribution world. Also, we get to meet with many brand partners and mixologists to discuss cocktail trends, flavours and serves.”

Angus Dundee Distillers

Stand: Hall 3 – T322

In addition to the Tomintoul and Glencadam product ranges and other assorted whiskies, Angus Dundee will be unveiling Tomintoul Speyside Glenlivet 21 Year Old, Glencadam 13 Year Old and Angus Dundee Blended Grain Scotch Whisky Aged 50 Years. The Tomintoul 21-year-old has been created from specially selected ex-Bourbon casks, all of which have spent 21 years in cool Scottish warehouses. Bottled at 46% abv, the Glencadam commemorates “the reawakening” of the distillery 13 years ago.

What they say: “The event is still valuable to Angus Dundee Distillers, despite strong competition from other European events. The visitor audience is genuinely international, which is consistent with our global reach, and affords us the opportunity to attract new customers visiting Vinexpo, as well as to meet existing customers from the four corners of planet earth in one place. “Additionally, Vinexpo is a useful showcase for us to introduce new products to a broad range of international customers and prospects.”

Crucial Drinks

Stand: Hall 3 – S357

Returning to Vinexpo for the third time, independent spirits company Crucial Drinks will be showcasing its three brands: The Lost Distillery Company, a range of handcrafted whiskies inspired by long-closed distilleries; Six Saints Rum, the only rum distilled in Grenada available internationally; and Rum & Cane Merchants’s “unusual and hard-to-find” sipping rums from around the world. The Ayrshire-based company will also be unveiling Big Mouth, a new blended whisky created to “break normal conventions of whisky”. It is a blend of 50% grain and 50% malt, and is described as “full of flavour”, with a Sherry influence and peat coming through on the palate. After Vinexpo, Big Mouth will enter European markets including France, the UK, Germany and Switzerland.

What they say: “Not only does the show give us an opportunity to fill distribution gaps by meeting with potential partners, it allows us to meet with many of our current distribution partners without leaving the show.” 

Groupe BBS

Stand: Hall 3 – T325

Martinique-based Groupe BBS will be at Vinexpo showcasing its French rum brands, Trois Rivières, Maison La Mauny and Duquesne. In existence for more than three centuries, Trois Rivières is described as being an “integral part of Martinique’s heritage”. The range includes Trois Rivières Cuvée de l’Océan, Trois Rivières VSOP, single cask, and cask strength, among many others. One of the oldest rum brands in Martinique, Duquesne is named after an Admiral who landed on the island in the 18th century.

What they say: “While rum is a booming spirit market, we have noticed that for two years there has been a strong interest in agricole rhums. Today Groupe BBS seeks to develop the French-style rum category internationally, especially in Asia and North America. In this context, Vinexpo Bordeaux is a must. It helps us to build an international reputation for our brands Trois Rivières and Maison La Mauny.”

La Martiniquaise

Stand: Hall 1 – BD296

French spirits group La Martiniquaise-Bardinet will return to Vinexpo Bordeaux with a focus on its key strategic brands. On the La Martiniquaise side, the company will be revealing a more “qualitative and assertive” bottle design for Blended Scotch whisky Label 5’s Gold Heritage, 12 year-old and 18-year-old expressions. Saint James Rum will unveil its new XO, as well as a Vintage 2001 variant. There will also be a dedicated marketing push for Poliakov vodka, with a dedicated virtual-reality headset to showcase the brand’s Ice Quest campaign.

What they say: “What’s important for us is to show the variety of the products of the La Martiniquaise-Bardinet Group. The one-stop-shop approach is key in the group’s strategy.”


Stand: Hall 3 – UV322

Ladoga will showcase its portfolio of premium and super-premium vodka brands at the event, including the Imperial Collection Gold, Czar’s Original, Tsarskoe Selo, Zver and its Imperial Collection in Fabergé egg-shaped cases. The brand expects particular attention to be paid to Imperial Collection Gold, which in 2016 sold one million nine-litre cases. Moreover, the stand will feature products from the European independent factories of the Ladoga Group. Cognac house Roullet will present a range of its Cognacs, expanded over the past year by the introduction of VS and VSOP from Grande Champagne. Additionally, Fruko Schulz – a major Czech producer of bitters, absinthe and liqueurs – and the Spanish winery Bodegas El Cidacos, producing the DOC Rioja wines under the brands Conde Otinano and Marques de Abadia, will also present their products.

What they say: “The main goals are the maintenance of business contacts, the search for new partners and the expansion of existing co-operation. Moreover, participation in such an international large-scale event favourably promotes the image of the company and its products.”


Stand: Hall 1 – CD338

At this year’s show, Spiridom will be showcasing its recently acquired brands from Saint Lucia: Chairman’s Reserve, Bounty, and Admiral Rodney, alongside its portfolio of brands from Martinique: Rhum Clément, Rhum J.M., and Guadeloupe Rhum Damoiseau. The company will also be unveiling new bottle designs for its Chairman’s Reserve range. Meanwhile, Rhum J.M. will present its new vintage 2004, bottled at cask strength, and a new batch of extra-old Rhum J.M, finished in barrels from Cognac Delamain, Calvados Lecompte and Armagnac Chateau du Tariquet.

What they say: “Vinexpo has been an unmissable meeting for us for the past 12 years, and we are coming there again this year with great expectations. This show is also a great window for us to unveil our new products and packaging.”

Walsh Whiskey

Stand: Hall 3 – Stand V345

Walsh Whiskey Distillery will be showcasing both of its Irish whiskey brands – The Irishman and Writers Tears – at Vinexpo. The Irishman portfolio comprises a range of five small-batch whiskeys: The Irishman – Founder’s Reserve; The Irishman – Single Malt; The Irishman – 12 Year old Single Malt; The Irishman – 17 Year Old Single Cask Single Malt; and The Irishman – Cask Strength. The Writers Tears portfolio consists of: Writers Tears – Copper Pot; Writers Tears – Red Head; and Writers Tears – Cask Strength. Demand for The Irishman and Writers Tears brands exceeds available supply in the 45 countries they are distributed to worldwide.

What they say: “Vinexpo has played a vital role in building our export markets for both The Irishman and Writers Tears portfolio. “Exhibiting at the show gives us the opportunity to not only meet our current international partners but also the chance to increase our distribution beyond our existing 45 countries.”

ABK6 Cognac

Stand: Hall 1 – A200

Cognac producer ABK6 will make its return to this year’s trade show with its core range, which includes its honey Cognac liqueur ABK6 Honey. Launched in 2016, ABK6 Honey is made by cellar master Christian Guérin, who blended the Cognac with a specific honey from Charentes woods; the product is described as having “intense and aromatic” flavours. Currently, the brand is seeing sales success in the US, China, Israel, Estonia, Russia, France, South Africa, Vietnam, and Belgium. In travel retail, the brand is available in airports in Cyprus and Sri Lanka and will soon be available in China Duty Free and in some locations in the US.

What they say: “At Vinexpo, we would like to increase our brand exposure to new buyers and new markets, showcase new product launches and keep up and develop new business with our faithful customers.”


Stand: Hall 1 – BD296

French spirits producer Bardinet will be bringing its signature brands to the trade show alongside La Martiniquaise, with a focus on Glen Moray. The single malt Scotch distillery is marking its 120th anniversary in 2017 with the release of Mastery. The release was created by fifth master distiller Graham Coull, using whisky from five vintages matured in a variety of wine casks. The brand will also be focusing on the Glen Moray Experience, a series of videos presenting the brand, the distillery, and its expressions, including the production process. The company will also continue to push Scotch whisky expression Sir Edward’s Smoky, and its Negrita rum range, including the new Añejo Reserve.

What they say: “It remains for us a unique occasion to welcome our key business partners from all over the world to our home town of Bordeaux, and show the strengths of our global brands.”

Heaven Hill Brands

Stand: Hall 3 – U340

Heaven Hill Brands will once again return to Vinexpo with its whiskey brands Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Rittenhouse Rye and Larceny. Produced in the tradition of the classic Pennsylvania or ‘Monongahela’ rye whiskeys, Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond 100 will be showcased at the show. Visitors will also have the opportunity to try 18-year-old and 23-year-old Elijah Craig Single Barrels expressions. Only a handful of the millions of barrels of Bourbon ageing in Kentucky have been allowed to mature this long.

What they say: “The reason we have shown at Vinexpo Bordeaux for so many years, and continue to find the event so valuable, is that it allows us to interact with so many customers from around the world at one single venue. Vinexpo not only gives Heaven Hill Brands a very efficient platform from which to manage our existing international portfolio, but it also creates opportunity for new business relationships in unpenetrated or under-penetrated markets.”


Stand: Hall 3 – UV326

This year mark’s NAUD’s (Noble And Unusual Distillery) debut at Vinexpo Bordeaux, where it will be showcasing its new premium range of spirits. The entire range is composed of four Cognacs (VS, VSOP, XO and Extra), a French pot still vodka, a gin, a 15-year-old Panamanian rum and a spiced rum named Hidden Loot. The bottle design has been inspired by the traditional distillation equipment, with its look representing the column and the alembic still. The five markets the company is targeting are the US, China, Germany, France and the UK. The brand aims to trade with high-end HORECA accounts and specialised distributors.

What they say: “Vinexpo Bordeaux is the perfect occasion to introduce to the spirits world the products which have been crafted with passion in our ancient family distillery.”

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