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Unmissable spirits exhibitors at Vinexpo Hong Kong

This year’s Vinexpo Hong Kong will see a greater number of spirits brands than ever before, reflecting developing drinks trends in Asia.

SB gives you the lowdown on the highlights of Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018

As the Asian market continues to flourish, Vinexpo Hong Kong has long been earmarked as an unmissable trade show for the wine and spirits industry.

The leading event will welcome more than 1,300 exhibitors from 30 countries to the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre from 29­-31 May. This year’s edition marks the 20th anniversary of the show, with a number of surprises and events in store.

With 18,000 visitors expected, the three-­day show will feature masterclasses, new products and networking opportunities for importers, distributors, producers, sommeliers and merchants from around the world.

China continues to be the world’s leading market for spirits, and it has also been predicted to show the strongest import growth for wine from 2016 to 2020, with a 78% uplift forecast, the organisers note.

According to a recent report compiled by Vinexpo and the IWSR, consumption of ‘national spirits’ such as baijiu, soju and Indian whisky is set to grow by 2.1% to 1.48 billion nine-­litre cases between 2016 and 2021, almost half of the global total.

In terms of per capita spirits consumption, South Korea continues to be the largest market according to the latest available data, despite a 1.26% decline in 2016 to 31.54 litres per adult.

“Since Vinexpo began tracking world data so many years ago we have witnessed the remarkable rise of the Asia Pacific region and its massive contribution to the growth of the wine and spirits sectors,” says outgoing Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise. “Being in Hong Kong since 1998 is a winning strategic choice that Vinexpo offers to its clients.”

Highlights of the show include ‘WOW’ – an area dedicated to organic and biodynamic wine and spirits, and Vinexpo’s networking party The Blend on 30 May.

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.

While the show has a predominant wine focus, spirits will also be present. Italian food and wine magazine Gambero Rosso has organised a spirits masterclass on Tuesday 29 May, hosted by Italian bartender and Gambero Rosso spirits ambassador Massimo D’Addezio, who will present a guided tasting of traditional Italian spirits and liqueurs.

There will also be a tour of all the spirits stands on the third day of the exhibition, held by Gambero Rosso.

In addition, The Drinks Business Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Bartenders Association will host The Spirits Bar, a one-stop cocktail shop boasting first-­class training sessions and flairing performances.

The show will be held on two floors, level one and level three, with exhibitors arranged by country. The majority of spirits will be on level three, with all major categories represented at the event, including Cognac, Scotch whisky, American whiskey, vodka and baijiu.

“We have a slight increase in spirits; it makes up about 10% of our offer,” says Deglise. “Around 163 exhibitors will offer spirits, so there will be a major focus on it.”

There will be around 40 masterclasses and tastings dedicated to wine, from Bordeaux to Chile.


In keeping with the tradition of the biennial show, there will be a Country of Honour. Australia will step into in the limelight, in partnership with Wine Australia, with special masterclasses, tastings and product launches dedicated to the wine­producing country.

“Australia is growing a lot, especially in Asia Pacific, so there’s lots of opportunities for Australian producers to increase their business and also for buyers to look more into new producers to represent in their own countries,” says Deglise.

This show will be the last for Deglise, who will depart after the Hong Kong exhibition to focus on new projects.

During his time at Vinexpo, Deglise helped to launch new exhibitions in Tokyo in 2014, New York in 2018 and Paris, which is scheduled for 2020. He also helped to establish Vinexpo Explorer last year, an “intense” programme set up to take industry buyers directly to wine and spirits­producing regions. “I’m not tired of the wine and spirits industry yet, so I definitely want to continue because I think this is what I know best,” he says. “It’s been five great years at Vinexpo but I think it was time to do something different now.”

For the complete list of exhibitors at Vinexpo Hong Kong 2018, visit

Over the following pages we highlight some of the unmissable spirits brands exhibiting at the show.

BBC Wines and Spirits

Stand: U54, Level 3

French drinks producer BBC Wines and Spirits will be showcasing its range of spirits at this year’s show.

The company will highlight its limited­-edition Botafogo range of Caribbean spiced rums and silver Tequila Lokita.

BBC Wines and Spirits will also unveil a new range of Japanese spirits – Fuyu whisky, Etsu gin and Eiko vodka.

Eiko (meaning ‘glory’ in Japanese) is made with water from the Taisetsu Mountains on Hokkaido island. It is filtered through white birch and charcoal. Fuyu (meaning ‘winter’ in Japanese) is a blend of whiskies from distilleries on the Honshu island. It is aged in charred oak and Sherry casks for an average of three years. Etsu, which means ‘pleasure’, is made with botanicals including yuzu, coriander, liquorice and angelica root.

The range was first unveiled at Vinexpo Bordeaux 2017 and is available in 15 markets around the world.

“Vinexpo is an important international event which attracts international high­-end buyers who are our prime target,” says CEO Bogdan Tanasoiu.

Beveland Distillers

Stand: J34, Level 1

Spain-­based Beveland Distillers is looking to push its strategic brands Relicario Rum, Jodhpur Gin, BVLand Liqueurs, Marama Spiced Fijian Rum, Glen Silver’s Scotch whisky and Tequila Tres Sombreros at this year’s Hong Kong show.

Located in northern Spain, Beveland is targeting bartenders, bar owners, importers and distributors.

The company will be presenting its new rum, Ron Jungla by Suau, and new flavours from the BVLand liqueurs range, including Elderflower, Pedro Ximénez and Yuzu. BVLand Elderflower is made from macerated and distilled elderflowers. Different sugars, including maltose, fructose and glucose, are also added to the recipe. The liqueur is said to have an “intensely floral” aroma with a “fresh, lively and young” palate.

Ron Jungla by Suau is made from premium Caribbean rum that has been matured for a second time in Bodegas Suau brandy barrels in Majorca. Bottled at 40% abv, Ron Jungla is said to have an aroma of dried grapes, plum, toasted cocoa and distilled cane sugar molasses, with a “balance of acidity and sweetness” on the palate.

Visitors will also be able to taste cocktail pairings at the stand, with specially­-made cocktails using Jodhpur Gin and Relicario Rum.

Angus Dundee Distillers

Stand: U30, Level 3

Scotch whisky maker Angus Dundee Distillers will use Vinexpo Hong Kong as a platform to showcase its extensive range of products. “We seek to meet with a wide variety of Asian customers, embracing clients who wish to import bottled-­in­Scotland whisky and also bulk whisky for local bottling,” says regional director Duncan Baldwin.

Angus Dundee will be showcasing its Tomintoul Speyside Glenlivet Single Malt 25 Year Old, Tomintoul 16 Year Old and Old Ballantruan Aged 15 Years.

Old Ballantruan Aged 15 Years is the oldest expression in the brand’s portfolio, which also consists of a no­-age­-statement and 10­-year-old whisky. Old Ballantruan is created at Angus Dundee’s Tomintoul Distillery. It is one of the few peated Speyside Scotch whisky brands and has a phenol content of 55ppm.

The 15­-year-­old expression is non-­chill-­filtered and bottled at 50% abv.

The company will launch its latest expression, Old Ballantruan 25 Year Old, at the show.

Angus Dundee Distillers also creates the Glen Parker single malt, as well as the Big Ben and Smokey Joe blends.

Cognac Frapin

Stand: S32, Level 3

Cognac house Frapin will be at Vinexpo Hong Kong this year – the company’s main show appearance in the region. Asia is a big focus for the firm, as it seeks to showcase its high­-end products with a strong XO offering.

At the show, Frapin will be highlighting its new expression, Frapin 1270, targeted at summer serves.

The Cognac is made from grapes grown in Frapin’s 240­hectare single­-estate vineyard in Grande Champagne.

It has been aged in Frapin’s humid cellars – first in new oak barrels for six months before moving to older casks for an extended maturation period. The Cognac does not carry an age classification and will be available from The Spirits Bar during the three-­day show.

Cognac Frapin’s cellar masters will also be at the show to present the new offering.

Bertrand Verduzier, international business director, Cognac Frapin and Champagne Gosset, says: “We aim to strengthen our connections with Chinese markets and, of course, Japan.”

Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits

Stand: UV40, Level 3

Paris­-based drinks group Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits (MBWS) will be focusing on its strategic markets of Greater China and Japan at this year’s show.

During the event, MBWS will be highlighting its core brands, including Gautier Cognac, William Peel Scotch whisky, Marie Brizard liqueurs and flavoured wine brand Fruits and Wine.

Visitors will have the chance to try the company’s new expressions, including William Peel Single Distillation and new Marie Brizard flavours Cumbava Liqueur, Yuzu Syrup, Mango Syrup and Bergamot Liqueur. The Mango Syrup and Bergamot Liqueur will launch in July 2018.

William Peel Single Distillation originates from a single distillery on the Lowland coast and has matured in oak casks. Distilled in a column still, the expression has a “smooth and delicate” taste, and is recommended served in cocktails, neat or over ice. It has a “lovely delicate” nose with biscuit and butter tones and a fine woodiness.

At the show, two MBWS brand ambassadors will be on the stand to guide visitors through the range.

Famille NAUD

Stand: V32, Level 3

Spirits producer Famille Naud is targeting new markets at this year’s show, namely Singapore, Macau, the Philippines, Hong Kong and travel retail. The company will be at Vinexpo to meet its Chinese distributor and customers.

“We consider Vinexpo and Hong Kong as the right doors to enter the Asian market and introduce premium spirits,” says Pierre Naud, sales manager. “It’s a great crossroad of diverse cultures, where bold distillers can introduce their new little gems.”

At the show, Famille Naud will be shining a light on its Cognac range, which consist of VS, VSOP, XO and Extra, and its Distilled Gin brand. The gin is made from 12 botanicals, which are then infused for seven to 10 days before being distilled in a ‘vapour bain-­marie’ in small traditional copper pot stills.

The company wants to build on the demand for Cognac and gin, which is currently being driven by the big players in the market.

“We see that millennials are looking for new spirits and new styles,” adds Naud. “They are very curious and want to drink something different from their parents. It is a great opportunity to present a new brand different from the big players.”

Teeling Whiskey Company

Stand: V36, Level 3

This year marks Teeling Whiskey Company’s debut at Vinexpo Hong Kong, after previously exhibiting at the Bordeaux show. The Irish whiskey producer is looking to meet with distributors in potential markets such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Myanmar and the Pacific Islands.

“Asia is a relatively new territory for Irish whiskey, with minimal sales to date. However, in the past few years we have experienced a very positive response to Teeling from consumers in the region,” says Martin Lynch, commercial manager, Asia Pacific, Teeling Whiskey Company. “We are seeding our brands into Asian markets and have been pleasantly surprised with the reaction, particularly in China where the level of awareness, interest and knowledge around imported whiskeys has increased tremendously over the past five years. Therefore, we feel there is a lot of further opportunity to be realised by giving some increased focus to the continent.”

Visitors will have the opportunity to try the firm’s core range and new products, including Teeling Revival Volume V 12 Year OId Cognac Cask Matured Single Malt, Teeling Silk Road Collection Ningxia Red Wine Cask Finish, and Brabazon Bottling Sherry Cask Matured Single Malt.

Turin Vermouth

Stand: J61, Level 1

Hailing from Piedmont in Italy, Turin Vermouth has become known as an innovator of traditional Piedmontese vermouth, amaro and bitters.

At Vinexpo Hong Kong, the company will be targeting traders in Southeast Asia, in particular China, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.

The company will be highlighting Bitter Tuvè and Vermouth Drapò Gran Riserva at the show. Described as a botanical bitter, Bitter Tuvè is aimed at bartenders to use in cocktails. Vermouth Drapò Gran Riserva, meanwhile, has an “elegant and complex” structure.

Turin Vermouth has placed a greater emphasis on bartender education in 2017 and partnered with revered exponent Simone Caporale last year on a masterclass in Singapore.

“Vinexpo is a really attractive fair because of the effective combination of professionalism, business and quality visitors,” says Laura Amidei, brand manager.

“It’s a perfect meeting point, where you can easily enlarge your network.”

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