Unmissable spirits exhibitors at Vinexpo Hong Kong

21st May, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers

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

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.

COUNTRY OF HONOUR

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 www.vinexpohongkong.com.

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

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