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Unmissable spirits at ProWein 2019

Spirits will play an even greater role when ProWein returns for its 25th anniversary event this week. We highlight the brands to look out for in Düsseldorf.

Key influencers and stakeholders in the international drinks trade will descend on Düsseldorf, Germany, for the 25th anniversary ProWein event this month. From 17-­19 March, around 7,000 exhibitors will showcase their products to a discerning audience of more than 60,000 industry members and once again, spirits will have a greater focus at the fair.

Spirits will be featured in two dedicated areas: in Hall 12, where guests can explore 400 Cognac, whisky, gin, brandy and vodka brands; and the Same but Different area, which will display around 100 craft products from across the worlds of spirits, beer and cider.

The Same but Different craft concept first launched in 2018. “The premiere was very successful and we are happy to continue this effective concept,” said Marius Berlemann, the outgoing global head of wine and spirits, and director of ProWein at show organiser Messe Düsseldorf. “Craft drinks are a major global trend at fashionable bars and restaurants. Also, the demand from the off­-trade is very high.”

Sustainability will also come under the spotlight in the Fizzz Lounge, situated in the Same but Different area. Leading bartenders will demonstrate how venues can incorporate zero waste and best­-practice recycling without diminishing the flavour of their drinks.

There are plenty of opportunities for attendees to meet

Once the show is completed, ProWein will move to new management. Just last month, Messe Düsseldorf announced that Berlemann would be stepping into the role of general manager of its Shanghai subsidiary. Berlemann will assume project and HR responsibility for the entire Messe Düsseldorf portfolio in China with Messe Düsseldorf Shanghai Co.

He will be succeeded by Bastian Mingers as global head of wine and spirits, and director of ProWein at Messe Düsseldorf in Germany from 1 April 2019. Mingers previously worked as ProWein’s senior project manager from 2011 to 2015. Since 2015, he has headed Energy Storage, the international conference and trade fair for renewable energies.

“I am very much looking forward to the challenges that this new position will involve and am confident that I will be able to continue the strong growth of the ProWein portfolio,” said Mingers, who will report directly to Michael Degen, the executive director and Messe Düsseldorf board member.

Julia Klöckner, Germany’s federal minister of nutrition and agriculture, will open the 2019 trade fair. She will deliver a welcome speech half an hour before the fair opens at 9am on 17 March, at the Mall of the Nord entrance. Thomas Geisel, Düsseldorf’s Lord Mayor and chairman of the supervisory board at Messe Düsseldorf, will also deliver a brief welcome address.

“With our trade-­only approach and the clearly structured hall layout, we have succeeded in offering the best and most comprehensive selection of wine and spirits all in one place, with easy access and straightforward navigation,” said Berlemann.

“For buyers and influencers who want to broaden what they offer their customers, ProWein is the place where they can effectively do it within three days.”

Click through to the following pages to learn about some of the unmissable spirits exhibitors at ProWein 2019.

Amber Beverage Group

Stand: Hall 12, E80

Rapidly growing spirits maker Amber Beverage Group (ABG) will seek to offer an “abundant brand experience” in Düsseldorf.

Among its exhibited brands will be Cross Keys Gin, which is said to “represent the true spirit of the Baltic states”, and sparkling low­-abv beverage Cosmopolitan Diva, which targets “confident fashionistas”.

The stand is sure to draw in the crowds with a Mercedes GT3 supercar, which will make the journey to the show from the legendary Nürburgring track, also called The Green Hell. ABG’s Rooster Rojo Tequila sponsors the J2 Racing team, which is competing at the famous racing complex. During ProWein, the #FindYourRooster competition will give guests the chance to win a VIP visit to the next race.

ABG said: “At ProWein, ABG is looking for new and reliable partners to deepen its distribution and expand its footprint in existing markets.”

The firm has ambitious plans in the pipeline and is aiming to triple its revenue over the next four years to become a €1 billion company.

Burlington Drinks

Stand: Hall 7, C52

UK firm Burlington Drinks will take the opportunity to launch its latest innovation at ProWein: The Bush Rum Company, which includes the Caribbean Original Spiced and Mango Spiced rum-based spirit drinks.

To create the expressions, Burlington blends traditional Caribbean rum with tropical fruits and spices, typical of beverages enjoyed in rum shacks across the Caribbean.

The group will also showcase its Rokeby’s Half Crown Gin portfolio, including the core London Dry Gin, as well as the Rhubarb and Ginger Gin Liqueur and Pink Grapefruit Gin Liqueur, which blend Half Crown London Dry Gin with natural fruit distillates and natural sugar.

Also taking to the stand will be Firean Whisky, a lightly peated blended Highland whisky aged in American oak and ex­Bourbon casks; and Red Griffin Vodka, a five­-times distilled grain vodka, filtered through English oak charcoal.

Fraternity Spirits

Stand: Hall 12, E86

ProWein regular Fraternity Spirits will return to the show to display the breadth of its portfolio, and will seek to build brand awareness and new business relationships.

The team will display the 100% agave Tequila Corralejo family of products, which are produced in the Jalisco hills in Guanajuato, Mexico. The brand stands out with its unique wood programme that includes Canadian and French barrels formerly used by US whiskey producers. Its sales have been steadily rising in 77 export markets.

Fraternity’s Tequila Los Arango, which was revived last year, will also be available for guests to sample. The artisanal Tequila is double-­column distilled using only blue Weber agave and specially formulated yeast. It comes in three expressions: blanco, reposado and añejo, which is aged for 13 months in American oak barrels.

Also on the stand will be Mezcal Perro de San Juan, which is made from espadín agave and is produced in San Dionisio Ocotepec, Oaxaca; and El Ron Prohibido, a blend of rum that uses liquid of different ages.

La Martiniquaise/Bardinet

Stand: Hall 12, A61

French group La Martiniquaise/Bardinet will showcase its recently acquired Cutty Sark blended Scotch brand at ProWein, in addition to its wider whisky portfolio.

La Martiniquaise/Bardinet bought Cutty Sark from Edrington at the end of last year, enabling it to become the world’s fifth largest producer of Scotch whisky. The brand will have its own visual in Düsseldorf and will be accompanied by fellow Scotch whiskies Label 5, Glen Moray and Sir Edward’s.

New products will cover the firm’s stand, including a recently launched 12-­year­-old blend from Sir Edward’s and a new Beehive brandy XO expression. At the same time, La Martiniquaise/Bardinet is expanding availability of its Glen Moray Fired Oak single malt to international markets following its UK debut.

One of the biggest draws to the stand will be the new Saint James Bitters, which has been designed to complement Saint James agricole rum in cocktails. The product is a blend of cane alcohol with herbs such as quinquina, wormwood, angelica and coriander.

Since first attending ProWein in 2015, La Martiniquaise/Bardinet has doubled its footprint at the show.

Cognac Larsen

Stand: Hall 12, C53

Cognac house Larsen will unveil a new look for its Classic Range, consisting of VS, VSOP and XO bottlings, continuing a wider rebranding effort.

No detailed visuals will be released until ProWein, but the company said the new design “communicates the quality, heritage and confidence of the house and its Cognacs”. Bottles in the range will feature a new wide­-shouldered, flask­-shaped look, with a stamped gold­-foil detail label and embossed ship logo.

“When I joined the company in late 2015, it was clear Larsen needed to grow in stature rather than size,” said Jérôme Durand, managing director of Cognac Larsen. “Larsen had a great following in certain markets, iconic products and the ability to tap into reserves of superb eaux-­de-­vie, but there was so much more potential. This is why we began with a new brand identity inspired by the spirit of travel and exploration of our founder, a 24­-year­-old Norwegian, Jens Reidar Larsen, who sailed to France in 1919 and fell in love with Cognac.”

The brand has expanded its distribution in Asia via a partnership between Larsen SAS and Asiaeuro International Beverage.


Stand: Hall 12, G85

Another exhibitor with something new to share at ProWein is Liviko. The Estonian spirits maker will showcase its Vana Tallinn Wild Spices Liqueur, a new spicy version of the well known product that combines Jamaican rum with natural spices such as cinnamon, ginger, star anise, hot pepper and citrus peels for a “zesty” taste profile. Also making its debut will be Vana Tallinn Marzipan Cream, an addition to the brand’s cream liqueurs portfolio.

However, Liviko’s main focus will be its gins, particularly its Crafter’s Aromatic Flower Gin, which made its debut at ProWein last year. The eye-­catching gin is naturally copper­-coloured but turns pink when mixed with tonic. It contains 12 botanicals, including rosehip, rose petals, meadowsweet, chamomile and elderflower.

Liviko said: “ProWein is the most important exhibition for us, where we focus on export clients.”

Maison Ferrand

Stand: Hall 12, A12

Innovative spirits group Maison Ferrand will return to ProWein with its complete portfolio in tow this year. Plantation Rum, Citadelle Gin, Ferrand Cognac and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao will be on display, while particular emphasis will be placed on Maison Ferrand’s newest product: Plantation Xaymaca Special Dry.

The rum is a blend of 100% pot still liquid from the Long Pond and Clarendon distilleries in Jamaica. It is said to revive a style of Jamaican pot still rum from the 19th century that exhibited flavours of black banana and flambéed pineapple, locally called “rum funk”. The expression has been ‘double­aged’, first in Bourbon barrels in Jamaica and then in Cognac Ferrand casks in southwest France.

Matthieu Gouze, Maison Ferrand sales director for Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East, said: “ProWein is really one of the best platforms for wine and spirits producers. It enables us to meet with most of our distributors within the few days of the show. Moreover, it is a great place to integrate with the international market and discover new trends.”

Maison Ferrand will be scouting out prospective partners in Africa and the Middle East during the show.

Famille Naud

Stand: Hall 12, B80

Family­-run spirits producer Famille Naud will bring its entire range to ProWein, showcasing an array of fine products created in Cognac. The range includes Cognacs, pure French wheat vodka, interesting gin and “sophisticated yet accessible” rums.

Jean­-Michel and Pierre Naud have recently returned to Europe after visiting Panama to observe the sugarcane harvest, which will be used to distil Naud rums. Famille Naud works in partnership with a Panamanian distillery to create both of its rums.

Naud Ron Panama is a premium 15-­year-­old rum that is aged in Panama before being finished in Cognac casks in Famille Naud’s Charentais cellars. Naud Hidden Loot is a spiced rum that uses two-­year-old rum as its base, water from Famille Naud’s Charentes estate and natural flavours.

The group said: “ProWein is the best date in the year to reach so many markets in one go. It is an unmissable event to showcase what is new.”

Tovaritch Spirits International

Stand: Hall 7, C54

Russian vodka brand Tovaritch! will use its ProWein debut to show visitors why it has secured more than 100 international awards.

Distilled five times and filtered through a combination of birch charcoal and silver, Tovaritch! is said to be “the world’s most awarded premium vodka”. It is made from spring wheat and rye from the Volga region and uses all­-natural, non-­GMO ingredients.

Eugenio Litta Modignani, CEO of Tovaritch Spirits International, said: “For any single vodka to reap 100 awards is an impressive feat. There are other vodkas in the market that may have as many or more awards but they are spread out over their many varieties. With Tovaritch!, it’s only one variety, and it’s the winner.”

In addition, the group will unveil a new design for its T! Red vodka liqueur, a blend of original Tovaritch! vodka and wild berries.

Last year, Tovaritch! launched on board all cruise ships owned and operated by MSC Cruises. The brand is aiming to become the second best­selling Russian vodka in the UK on­-trade.

Underberg International

Stand: Hall 12, G61

Germany’s Underberg International will use its home turf to showcase the variety in its portfolio. The firm is seeking to gain “more listings, more business, and meet friends”.

Its namesake herbal bitter will feature on the stand. Launched in 1846, the product contains herbs from 43 countries, high­-quality alcohol and water. The leading German brandy, Asbach, will be available for guests to taste. Another historic brand, Asbach has been in production since 1892.

Premium cachaça Pitú will transport ProWein visitors to Brazil, and XUXU will give them a taste of something sweet. Bison grass vodka Grasovka will also be available to sample.

For those on the hunt for new products, Underberg International will unveil its Asbach Aperitif Rosé and Pitú Premium Caipirinha can – further details of which will be announced in due course.

Beveland Distillers

Stand: Hall 12, G60

Spanish drinks producer Beveland celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. To mark the milestone year, the group will bring a number of new products to Düsseldorf.

In addition to a new bottle design for Jodhpur Gin, Beveland will unveil a ‘spicy’ version in the brand’s portfolio. Jodhpur Spicy is said to have an extra kick thanks to its use of chilli.

Another new product set to debut at ProWein is Relicario Peated Finish. The light Dominican rum is finished for six months in a barrels that previously contained peated whisky, giving the product a smoky character.

Beveland said: “[ProWein] gives us the possibility to receive all our clients in one place and in three days – it’s a great opportunity to chat with them, present all our news, and talk about brand development and business.”

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