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Top spirits at TFWA World Exhibition 2017

In the year that the travel retail industry celebrates its 70th anniversary, the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes will seek to demonstrate how new technologies can help to reinvent the sector.

Against a global backdrop of escalating political, social and economic turmoil, it has never been more important for stakeholders in the travel retail industry to engage, discuss and share with each other – giving events such as the Tax Free World Association (TFWA) World Exhibition & Conference an ‘unmissable’ status.

One might expect the mood at this year’s event, taking place on 1­6 October at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, to be a little brighter than last year since recent data released by the IWSR shows that international TR spirits sales increased by 3.2% in 2016 to reach 22.5 million cases. In 2015, total spirits sales in the global travel retail channel slid 3.3% in volume and 4.2% in value.

However, the rebound presents a complicated picture of growth, and serious challenges remain for the sector. “The economic and political environment in which we operate is no more certain now than it was this time last year,” says Erik Juul-­Mortensen, president of the TFWA.

“Uncertainty in Korea, natural disasters and no reduction in the number of terrorist incidents have all played a role in increasing anxiety and limiting people’s ability and willingness to travel. This, in turn, has continued to provide challenges for our business.

“But at the same time, we have many reasons to be optimistic and as travel as a leisure pursuit or a business necessity continues to grow, we face a future that is full of possibilities.”

It is with this cautiously optimistic attitude that TR stakeholders will travel to Cannes for the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference, where a record 515 companies will exhibit – an increase of 4.7% on last year. Thousands of brands will be showcased on 491 stands to the world’s largest TR and duty free audience. The 2017 edition also marks the 70th anniversary of the travel retail industry, which was founded at Shannon Airport in Ireland.

“We’ve marked this milestone with a great advertising and social media campaign that has generated quite a buzz around the event,” says Juul­-Mortensen.

Furthermore, this year’s show stands out with its highly anticipated Digital Village, which will focus on “building essential links between the technology sector and the duty free and travel retail industry”. Thirty exhibitors from the digital retail sector will occupy a space at Gare Maritime from 4 October to 6 October to demonstrate how new technologies can be used in TR.

A digital theme also runs through TFWA’s broader workshop­and­ conference programme. The workshops will kick off on Tuesday 3 October with a session called Digital Focus, which will explore the latest developments in digital and online marketing to travellers, as well as the solutions being launched by airports, retailers and brands.

On Wednesday 4 October, an Inflight Focus workshop will explore the issues and challenges facing the airline retail market. The TFWA Research Workshop will take place on the same day to present key findings of the association’s most recent research studies.

Former United Nations secretary general Ban Ki­Moon will lead the show’s stellar speaker line­up, which also includes former Ireland president Mary Robinson and Wired UK editor­at­large David Rowan. Juul­Mortensen will open the conference with his annual state­of­the­ industry address.

Ban Ki­-Moon will discuss the need for leadership in a new global landscape and examine obstacles to lasting peace and prosperity. Robinson, a former UN high commissioner for human rights, will speak from her perspective as an advocate for peace at home and abroad. Rowan, an expert on the influence of tech on business and everyday life, will then look at the DF and TR industry from the viewpoint of a technology start­up. The conference will again be moderated by journalist Stephen Sackur, who presents BBC World current affairs programme Hard Talk.

To offset what promises to be a packed programme of networking, meetings and educational workshops, TFWA WE is once again offering a plethora of social and leisure activities. A particular highlight will be The Spirits Business’s very own Beach Party, where medallists from The Vodka Masters and The Travel Retail Masters will be recognised for their achievements. Guests will also be able to meet industry leaders while enjoying cocktails and canapés.

“TFWA World Exhibition & Conference is the biggest event in the duty free and travel retail calendar, showcasing innovations from some of the most exciting newcomers as well as the established market leading brands across the spirits sector,” Juul­-Mortensen says.

“The event provides ideal opportunities for the exhibiting brand companies to meet with their customers from the duty free and travel retail industry, just as the main conference and workshop programmes give exhibitors and visitors the chance to hear about the latest thinking from the wider duty free and travel retail industry. And of course, the week offers unrivalled opportunities for networking at some truly spectacular events.”

Click through the following pages for a taster of which leading spirits brands will be exhibiting at the show.

La Martiniquaise/Bardinet

Stand: G54, Yellow Village
The star of the La Martiniquaise/Bardinet stand will undoubtedly be Scotch whisky brand Glen Moray, which this year celebrates its 120th anniversary.

Master distiller Graham Coull selected five casks reflecting the five master distillers throughout Glen Moray’s history to create the recently unveiled limited­-edition single malt, Mastery, which will be on display in Cannes.

Three of the five vintages used were laid down by Coull’s predecessors, Robert Brown (distillery manager from 1959­1987) and Edwin Dodson (distillery manager from 1987­2005).

Two of Coull’s vintages also feature, while in the final line­up there is “evidence of techniques” first employed by James Haddow (distillery manager from 1913­1927) and his son, Alexander Haddow (distillery manager from 1927­1959).

The five casks in the final liquid are: a 1978 Bourbon cask, 1994 Madeira cask, 1999 second­fill Sherry cask, 1988 Port cask and 2001 Madeira cask.

La Martiniquaise/Bardinet will also showcase its Sir Edward’s blended Scotch, Bardinet brandy and Negrita rum brands.

Ladoga Group

Stand: H3, Blue Village
Russian spirits producer Ladoga will showcase its newest brand, Barrister Gin, at this year’s show. Produced at the Ladoga distillery in St Petersburg, Barrister Gin is said to be the first Russian gin available in travel retail.

Ladoga will also display its portfolio of premium­ and super­ premium vodka brands, including Czar’s Original, Czar’s Village, Zver, and the famous Imperial Collection, which is packaged in Fabergé egg­shaped cases. The Imperial Gold/Tsarskaya brand will also take to the stand after reaching sales of more than one million cases in 2016.

Meanwhile, Cognac brand Roullet will display its recently expanded range of products, which now includes a VS and VSOP.

“Our main objective is to show our products to potential clients and to find partners who would be able to take up distribution and develop the brands in their part of the world,” says Ruslan Grigoryev, export director at Ladoga.

Grigoryev also says Ladoga’s sales in Russia’s duty free market grew by 20% in the first half of 2017 following an increase in passengers at Russian airports, including Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo, and Pulkovo.

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits

Stand: D12, Blue Village
This year, French drinks group Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) will highlight the relaunch of its Sobieski Vodka brand and educate visitors on its diverse selection of other products, including: the Marie Brizard liqueurs range; William Peel Blended Scotch Whisky; Gautier Cognac; Moncigale wines; Marqués del Puerto Rioja; and its newest portfolio addition, Shotka.

Unveiled in 2015, Shotka is said to taste of cannabis, without its narcotic effects. The premium cannabis­ flavoured vodka targets “rebellious night­clubbing fans”.

“The TFWA World Exhibition is extremely important for our travel retail business as it gives us the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the developments of our brands and their relevance to travel retail customers,” says Kevin Baker, global travel retail director for MBWS.

He says of the current conditions for spirits in TR: “We have started to make progress against the continuing back drop of a tough trading environment.

“We have succeeded in gaining a number of new listings, most notable Lagardère with William Peel Blended Scotch Whisky and Marie Brizard L’Originale Anisette, and are encouraged by their progress.”

Walsh Whiskey Distillery

Stand: Bay 19, Bay Village
County Carlow-­based Walsh Whiskey Distillery is gearing up for when it has greater supplies of its Irish whiskey brands – The Irishman and Writers’ Tears – “from 2019 onwards” by stepping up its TR activity and expanding its international TR footprint.

“TFWA is perfectly timed for us to start getting that message across personally to the TR sector,” says Bernard Walsh, chairman and chief executive of Walsh Whiskey Distillery.

The group will exhibit three expressions at the show: The Irishman Founder’s Reserve; The Irishman Single Malt; and Writers’ Tears Copper Pot. It will also unveil its new The Irishman Cask Strength 2017 bottling. Travel retail will be one of Walsh Whiskey Distillery’s “priority channels going forward”.
Last year, Walsh Whiskey Distillery opened its €25 million (US$30m) site in Royal Oak, County Carlow, becoming the only independent Irish whiskey producer to make malt, pot still and grain liquid. The distillery can produce 650,000 cases annually.

Beam Suntory

Yacht Jade, Harbour Village
Beam Suntory will showcase a number of innovations, including new packaging for Jim Beam Black and two new travel retail­ exclusives from Scotch brand Laphroaig.

“Beam Suntory pioneers category growth and innovation in GTR, and we’re committed to continuing this in 2018 with a portfolio of NPDs across our brands and have exciting plans for in­-store activation,” says David Wilson, managing director of Beam Suntory Global Travel Retail.

According to Beam Suntory, the new­look signature Bourbon Jim Beam Black “continues to perform well”. Maker’s Mark will also feature at the TFWA show, where the brand’s soon-­to-­be­ released gift box will be highlighted.

Bowmore’s new travel retail range, which marks a return to age statements for the Scotch brand in GTR, will be available for visitors to peruse, as will Laphroaig’s two new TR SKUs: Laphroaig Four Oak and The 1815 Legacy Edition.

From Courvoisier, Beam Suntory will showcase the VSOP Lantern, as well as Courvoisier Sherry Cask Finish. The firm will reveal plans to launch a “bold new look” for its Japanese whisky portfolio, comprising Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and The Chita, in early 2018.

The new Roku Japanese gin is also set to excite visitors, as will an exclusive travel retail edition of the Sipsmith brand.


Stand: M74, Green Village
Family­-run business Borco will use the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference as a platform for its higher­-end brands, namely Sierra Milenario Tequila and Ron Vacilón rum.

Under the 100%­-agave Tequila label, Sierra Milenario Tequila, Borco will exhibit Sierra Milenario Tequila Blanco, Sierra Milenario Tequila Reposado, Sierra Milenario Tequila Añejo, Sierra Milenario Tequila Extra Añejo, Sierra Milenario Café, and Sierra Milenario Tequila Fumado.

Following the global unveiling of the range in Cannes last year, Sierra Milenario Tequila has distribution in 23 markets.

Borco expanded its portfolio by taking over the global distribution of Cuba­made Ron Vacilón rum in March. At TFWA WE 2017, Borco will reveal three new expressions under the brand: Ron Vacilón 15 Años; Ron Vacilón 18 Años; and Ron Vacilón 25 Años.

“As a family business, we believe in the strength of personal meetings and we are also keen to enlarge our network,” says Tina Ingwersen­-Matthiesen, member of the Borco board and part of the Borco family.

According to Ingwersen­-Matthiesen, “premiumisation and diversification” continue to be central themes across all categories in TR, while consumers demand “innovative marketing strategies” from brands.


Stand: M64, Green Village
South African drinks group Distell looks forward to highlighting both its established brands and newest developments at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference 2017.

“[TFWA] is the premier event in the travel retail channel each year, and offers a wonderful and productive business and social environment to meet with friends, customers and travel retail partners,” says a company spokesperson.

Taking centre stand will be single malt Bunnahabhain, which earlier this year unveiled new packaging for its GTR line to enhance the whisky’s “individuality”. At the same time, the brand added An Cladach – meaning ‘The Shore’ in Scots Gaelic – to its TR­-exclusive range.

Distell will also display its Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky brand, which has been given a “sleek and sophisticated” new label, as well as a one­-litre bottle format.

“In addition to highlighting the new developments for our brands, we will be putting great emphasis on our impressive travel retail exclusives,” the spokesperson adds.

“We are proud of these products, and have every confidence they will continue to help drive the momentum that Distell wines, spirits and liqueurs have been enjoying.”


Stand: AA5, Blue Village
Cognac house Frapin will display its full range at this year’s event, comprising: VS; VSOP; VIP XO; Fontpinot XO; Cigar Blend; Extra, Millésime 1988; Plume; and 1888.

“The TFWA Exhibition is a key event, gathering all the global players in Cannes,” says Nicolas Cauchois, area export manager for Cognac Frapin. “It’s certainly the easiest way to be seen by the world’s biggest audience of duty free and travel retail professionals.”

Frapin will also reveal some new products, including a gift box for its Extra expression, a VSOP decanter and VSOP gift box with two accompanying glasses, and a VIP XO decanter. According to Frapin, TR is a “fast­moving” and “resilient” channel that offers unique prospects for growth.

“Still, there are several threats to the travel retail spirits sector,” the Frapin spokesperson adds. “One of the top reasons for passengers remaining non­buyers is that they are bored, feeling that they always see the same products. Cognac Frapin has lots to offer to the travellers looking for exclusivity and ultra-­premium quality Cognacs.”

Frapin is the largest single estate in the Grande Champagne region of Cognac, with 300 hectares of vineyards.

Loch Lomond Group

Villa Marina, third floor, 3 Square Mérimée
While Loch Lomond Group is an official member of the TFWA, the company will display its products at Villa Marina rather than take a stand at the main exhibition centre.

The independent Scotch whisky maker is sure to generate excitement by offering visitors a preview of the oldest Loch Lomond single malt Scotch ever released – more details coming soon.

The GTR exclusive collections from the Highlands­based Loch Lomond Distillery and Campbeltown­-based Glen Scotia Distillery, both released last year, will also be available for visitors to sample, as will new products Loch Lomond Inchmoan and Glen Scotia 25 Year Old.

Glen Scotia 25 Year Old was launched this year to mark the 2017 Campbeltown Whisky Festival. The “maritime-­influenced” single malt is said to reflect the history of Campbeltown.

Iain McAlister, distillery manager of Glen Scotia, says: “While our 25­-year-­old maintains the unique character associated with Glen Scotia single malts, its gentle maturation in American oak and then finished in first­-fill Bourbon casks delivers an intense depth and a nose that will have drinkers almost feeling the Atlantic breeze blowing in over the Campbeltown coast.”


Stand: J57, Green Village
Italy’s Molinari will head to Cannes to unveil new packaging for its core product, Molinari Extra Sambuca, and also to showcase the Limoncello di Capri brand, which it recently acquired in full.
The new bottle design has been created in collaboration with Milan studio Robilant & Associati. It features a more slender shape to present an elegant appearance, and a smaller ornate label with enhanced characteristics. A new ‘SM’ logo, which is joined to the signature of founder Angelo Molinari, has been imprinted onto the bottle.

The label is printed on special paper to resist low freezer temperatures and contact with water, while the cap features a built-in spout to aid pouring in temperatures of ­20°C.

Founded in 1945, Molinari has expanded its portfolio after buying 100% of Limoncello di Capri – a move to consolidate Molinari’s position in both the Italian and international markets. Molinari has been the majority shareholder in the brand since 1999.

“TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes gives us the chance to meet duty free operators with whom we collaborate and all our international partners,” says Ana Maria Tarrús de Vehí, office coordinator, international division, Molinari Italy.


Stand: J35, Green Village
Ultra­-premium Tequila brand Patrón will unveil the second edition of its Lalique­-bottled expression for the first time in Cannes.

Patrón en Lalique: Serie 2 is a blend of extra añejo Tequilas that have been aged for an average of seven years. In keeping with Patrón en Lalique: Serie 1, the new expression features a crystal decanter inspired by Lalique’s signature Art Deco design.

Brand representatives will also take the opportunity to showcase Patrón x Guillermo del Toro, a bottling created in collaboration with Oscar­-nominated Mexican­American film director Guillermo del Toro. The Tequila is a blend of liquid aged for an average of more than five years in a combination of different new and used oak barrels.

Patrón will also display the reposado and añejo Tequilas across its core, Roca and Barrel Select lines, as well as Burdeos and Piedra in the Gran Patrón family, and the travel retail exclusive Patrón Cask Collection Sherry Añejo Tequila.

“TFWA World Exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to meet all of our key global travel retail customers and to showcase the entire Patrón Spirits portfolio,” says John Kilmartin, VP, global travel retail at Patrón Spirits International.


Stand: M70, Green Village
Underberg will highlight a new gift pack for its namesake bitters brand, and show how the product can be paired with beer.

The tin, titled Underberg and Beer, illustrates scenarios in which beer could be enjoyed with Underberg. Also on­-stand will be Underberg’s five­bottle travel pack and 25­bottle carry­home box. Underberg is made from herbs from 43 countries, which are blended with 44% abv alcohol.

Furthermore, Underberg will unveil a comprehensive relaunch and new umbrella strategy for the Riemerschmid bar­ and fruit-syrups range.

The move has been prompted by “current market trends, new legal requirements for foods within the framework of labelling laws, in­-depth market research studies and optimised formulas”.

The company says: “The new packaging will raise brand awareness and orientation significantly. [As well as] the various flavours, vegan syrups will in future be immediately recognisable without consumers having to examine the label.”

Underberg will also showcase brands such as the Asbach portfolio of brandies.

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