Soderbergh petitions US govt to recognise SinganiBy Amy Hopkins
Film director Steven Soderbergh and his Singani 63 team are lobbying the US government to recognise the appellation of the Bolivian spirit.
The Oceans Eleven filmmaker launched his own brand of Singani – known as ‘Bolivia’s national spirit’ – four years ago after tasting the spirit while filming Che in Bolivia.
Singani 63 is produced by the Casa Real distillery and is named after Soderbergh’s birth year.
According to its appellation of origin, Singani must be distilled from Muscat of Alexandria grapes. The grapes must be grown and distilled in particular areas of the Bolivian Andes and at certain altitudes.
Jonathan Brathwaite, chief operating officer at Singani 63, said: “The quality to be Singani is more finite than any other spirit category in the world.
“Steven is the one fighting for the recognition of this spirit.”
The team behind Singani 63 has hired the same lobbyists as Leblon Cachaça to petition the US government to officially recognise Singani as a spirit from Bolivia.
The US agreed to recognise cachaça as a product from Brazil in 2013.
“Right now we are doubling down and throwing everything at this,” said Brathwaite. “We have worked with the secretary of the Organization of American States to collectively argue for fair trade, and this is a perfect example of this.”
After launching in the US and gaining favour among the country’s influential bartenders – such as Leyenda owner Ivy Mix – Singani 63 now has its sights set on international expansion.
“We are going for global domination [and] London is important to the narrative of Singani,” said Brathwaite.
“We are facing a bigger challenge as it’s about building a spirit category and not just a spirit brand. So I think it’s about education.”
While Singani 63 “would consider partnering with a drinks company for distribution, Steven will always by involved – he is connected to it”.
“We are inundated with celebrity associations,” said Brathwaite. “[Steven] is someone who fell in love with something and invested his own money. He is the only investor [and wants] to bring this to the world. He said he found the perfect expression of himself in this spirit.”