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Top spirits exhibitors at TFWA Cannes 2019

As the world’s travel retail professionals prepare to head to the south of France for the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference this weekend, we highlight the unmissable events and brands to connect with at the event.

This year’s TFWA show in Cannes will take place between 29 September and 4 October

For anyone with a strong interest in travel retail there’s only one place you’ll want to be between 29 September and 4 October – the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes, France. A truly unmissable event in the duty-free calendar, this year’s show will return under fresh leadership after Alain Maingreaud succeeded Erik Juul-Mortensen as TFWA president.

Juul-Mortensen had been involved with the TFWA for 34 years – 19 as president. When he joined in 1985, the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference boasted 449 brand-owning companies, covered 6,000sq m of space, and attracted almost 3,000 guests. Last year, visitor numbers surpassed 7,000 for the first time and the exhibition space had expanded to more than 22,500 sq m. But Maingreaud is also experienced with the TFWA and the duty free channel.

“This will be my 24th year with TFWA, so while I will be attending Cannes in a new role, this will not be so different from my previous visits,” Maingreaud says. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the latest developments in our industry, as well as meeting up with colleagues and making new contacts on the exhibition floor and at the many social events taking place during the week.”

Kicking off the week’s proceedings will be former UK prime minister Tony Blair, this year’s keynote speaker. Blair – who led the country from 1997 to 2007 – will address delegates at the annual opening conference on Monday 30 September. As UK prime minister, he witnessed notable changes to the domestic and international political landscape. He will speak about his political experience and share his views on Brexit, foreign policy and other geopolitical matters.

Maingreaud says: “As always at the TFWA World Conference, our aim is to engage speakers who can help us better understand the times in which we live and do business. Our keynote speaker this year is someone with unrivalled experience of regional and global politics, who is able to address the often complex issues that are shaping the world economy. We are delighted to welcome Mr Blair to Cannes, and look forward to hearing his thoughts on a wide range of issues.”

But as well as traditional slots, such as the opening conference, there are many new perks to be discovered at the 2019 show. For the first time, guests will have the chance to explore the TFWA Innovation Lab, built on the success of last year’s TFWA Digital Village, which welcomed 32 exhibitors and 1,349 visitors in 2018. Open from 1-4 October, the TFWA Innovation Lab will be split into four categories: digital solutions and mobile technology; sustainability and CSR; services to retailers; and in-store design and research. The area will host around 30 exhibitors, including “tech-forward brands and airports, which will showcase ideas and products from a range of areas, including digital technology, customer engagement, in-store design, brand activations and sustainability”.

TFWA provides a huge opportunity to network with the great and good in travel retail

A closer look

“Our new Innovation in Action Workshop will also offer visitors a closer look at the importance of innovation in the duty free and travel retail market,” says Maingreaud. “The TFWA Innovation Lab will be located at an exclusive tented area opposite the Majestic Beach, beside the main exhibition at the Palais des Festivals.”

Be aware that there is a new registration area this year, too, which will now be located at the Gare Maritime. And when you head to Beach Village, you’ll be greeted with a larger exhibition space, as well. “Our three main social events – the Opening Cocktail, Le Premium Evening and our night spot, The Scene – will also have a new home within the stunning surroundings of Port Canto, offering more space for guests to relax and network,” says Maingreaud.

Adding to new highlights at this year’s event is a range of new wine and spirits exhibitors, including Lanson International Diffusion, Viña Concha y Toro, and Douglas Laing & Co.

For those new to the event, Maingreaud has some words of wisdom to share: “My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time in your diary to explore the exhibition halls – you will be sure to find something that surprises and inspires. We have a number of on-site services and marketing tools that will help delegates navigate their way around the Palais des Festivals, including our TFWA app. Our dedicated one-to-one meeting service will also help delegates organise those all-important meetings with business colleagues and key decision makers.”

But if there’s one part of the show Maingreaud recommends you make time for, it’s the Innovation Lab. “As our industry continues to grow, it is vital that we evolve and innovate in order to stay ahead of the curve. The TFWA Innovation Lab will offer new insight into how our business can adapt to new customer and market trends in the coming years.”

On the following pages, we highlight some of the events and spirits exhibitors worth looking out for at this year’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference.


Stand: H52, Green Village

There’s plenty to see at Danzka’s stand, which will also be showcasing products from the Family Brands Alliance, including Bache-Gabrielsen Cognac, Pallini Limoncello and G’Vine gin. Cognac fans will want to take note to request a taste of the Bache-Gabrielsen American Oak release.

For Danzka, the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference presents an opportunity to become reacquainted with its contacts. “We are delighted to meet our worldwide duty free customers and discuss with them new business opportunities at the show,” enthuses Philippe Biais, export director, Waldemar Behn, owner of Danzka vodka.

Waldemar Behn and Pallini Limoncello established the Family Brands Alliance at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes in 2017, to create synergies and optimise logistics, marketing and services among numerous “medium-sized” family-owned companies with a presence in travel retail. The partnership welcomed Bache-Gabrielsen Cognac to the fold in April last year, before expanding further to add super-premium gin brand G’Vine into the alliance in October.

Waldemar Behn has, in the past, said that members of the alliance are already enjoying benefits from working together.

Fraternity Spirits

Stand: G3, Blue Village

Tequila is hot commodity, with celebrities such as George Clooney, Chris Noth and Justin Timberlake claiming a stake in the blooming category. Bringing its portfolio of agave-based spirits to Cannes for this year’s event is Fraternity Spirits.

Guests will be able to explore the company’s Corralejo Tequila range – including Corralejo 1821, an extra añejo expression. Created from 100% blue weber agave and double-distilled in copper pot stills, the Tequila is aged in small American oak barrels for around 36 months.

The firm’s Tequila Los Arango range will also be on display. This series is also made solely from blue Weber agave, which takes a minimum of eight years to grow. The name was inspired by a Mexican revolutionary leader, Doroteo Arango, who was also known as Pancho Villa. Tequila’s Mexican cousin, mezcal, will also feature on the stand in the shape of Mezcal Perro de San Juan.

La Martiniquaise-Bardinet

Stand: G54, Yellow Village

Visitors can expect to uncover a raft of new and exciting releases at the La Martiniquaise-Bardinet stand. First up, one for the blended Scotch whisky fans, who will be able to peruse Label 5’s new limited edition street art-inspired bottle. The project began in 2018 when the brand commissioned five street artists from five cities to create a graffiti design based around the number ‘five’.

The artists worked with Label 5 to produce a bespoke piece of art for each city, including David Shillinglaw, who created a colourful mural in Brick Lane, London. The initiative was unveiled globally across the brand’s digital platforms, inspiring international partners to create their own graffiti events or sponsorships.

Label 5 then turned to its online community for help in deciding which design should grace its label. With more than two-thirds of the vote, it was Rami Mouallem’s graffiti from Lebanon that was deemed the most popular and worthy of being wrapped around the iconic bottle.

Furthermore, the French drinks group will also be revealing its new Glen Turner Rum Cask, which has been finished in agricole rhum casks from Martinique.

Nadège Perrot, international marketing manager – whiskies, La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, said: “TFWA Cannes is the occasion for our group to display its newly acquired brands: Cutty Sark and Lejay Lagoute.”


Stand: G1, Blue Village

Vodka is on a mission to prove it is anything but bland – and that it can create flavours in clever, authentic ways. At this year’s show, Ukrainian brand Nemiroff will be waving the flag for flavoursome, sophisticated vodka with its Nemiroff Barrel Crafted Vodka. Aged in oak barrels, the final product is said to be “a spirit that is spicy, astringent, with rich aromas of oak”.

Irina Zhygunova, global chief marketing officer, Nemiroff Vodka Co, said: “The show for us primarily means meeting new partners to whom we keep delivering updated premiumised brand values and, of course, share recent innovative products. It’s also important to build new partnerships, as we are focusing on expanding our global distribution.”

Other expressions in the Nemiroff portfolio include Nemiroff De Luxe Vodka and Nemiroff De Luxe Honey Pepper Vodka. The latter expression is made with “natural honey”, chilli pepper and steppe herbs, and goes through 11 stages of filtration. The combination is said to result in a vodka with a “rich deep flavour”. Earlier this year, Nemiroff reported its sales grew by 5.5% in 2018.

Atom Brands

Stand: Meme yacht, Harbour Village

If you’re familiar with Atom Brands, you’ll know how diverse the company’s spirits portfolio is. If not, then pay the team a visit in the Harbour Village to learn more about its vast assortment. The firm prides itself on its ability to “create, and curate, the most intriguing, captivating and damn right tasty brands from the world of spirits to help travellers experience the best of craft”.

At this year’s TFWA show, Atom Brands will launch its bespoke programme of City Gins from independent bottler That Boutique-y Gin Company, which looks to explore the “best flavours from all corners of the globe”. The range will include award-winning bottlings Sydney Garden Gin and Gold Coast Gin, which will launch at the show.

Guests can also sample spirits from the Ableforth’s Explorers range, Finnish distillery Kyrö and New York Distilling Company.

Claire Keene, head of sales – GTR for Atom Brands, said: “Our unique portfolio unites award-winning gins, whiskies, Tequilas and rums that allow spirits lovers to discover the undiscovered from the world of craft spirits. We’ve travelled the world to bring these brands together, creating an impressive line-up of craft spirits with quality credentials. We’re excited to showcase this portfolio together at Cannes.”


Stand: A11, Blue Village

Returning to what it describes as the “most prestigious duty free and travel retail show” this year is Bottega, which will be unveiling two offerings.

First is Bottega Pomegranate. The liqueur is described as an aromatic sweet drink and has been created in response to recent consumer trends for ‘super food’ products. To create Bottega Pomegranate, the fruit is juiced and blended with alcohol, grappa and sugar to create a “highly balanced product”.

Bottled at 20% ABV, it is recommended served at the end of a meal due to its “fruity bouquet” and “fresh taste with a pleasing tartness”. Second, following the success of its Italian brand Bacûr Gin, Bottega will be unveiling new bottle formats at the TFWA show. Consumers will now be able to buy the gin in a 50ml miniature and one-litre bottle. The expression is also available as a 100ml spray, or in 500ml and 700ml bottles. Bacûr Gin boasts botanicals including juniper, sage and lemon zest, and is made with pure water from the Alps.

Travel retail is a key part of the Bottega business and the firm has “constantly invested” in the channel over the past 25 years. Its products can be found on more than 50 airlines.

Zamora Company

Stand: M67, Green Village

After a busy year of portfolio expansion, there’s much to discover at Zamora Company’s stand – and the group is excited to showcase these new products to the travel retail industry for the first time.

First up, hailing from Houston, Texes, is Yellow Rose Premium American whiskey, Yellow Rose Rye Whiskey and Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon. Gin lovers can also sample Martin Miller’s 14 Moons barrel-aged gin, which is only available in travel retail. Zamora will also be showcasing its premium lemon liqueur – Villa Massa Basilico from Sorrento in Italy.

More than 10% of Zamora Company’s business stems from travel retail, making it a vitally important channel for the firm.

Julian Fernandez, marketing director for spirits at Zamora, said: “Each country is defined by culture, its traditions, its gastronomy and its drinks. These local drinks have always been well represented with the liqueur category becoming, often, the most genuine spirit product in certain societies. This is one of the reasons that liqueurs in travel retail are so successful, including Licor 43.”

William Grant & Sons

Stand: GO2, Golden Village

Scotch whisky fans can discover a new single malt offering at the William Grant & Sons stand – Glenfiddich Grand Cru. The 23-year-old was first matured in American and European oak casks, and is the only Glenfiddich whisky that has been matured in French cuvée casks that once held sparkling wines.

Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich malt master, said: “Breaking category conventions once more, this unusual collaboration presented an exciting opportunity to create a spirit that further elevated our unique Glenfiddich style. The further influence from the oak of the French cuvée casks added an extra layer of complexity thanks to the liquid they once held.”

Glenfiddich Grand Cru was released exclusively at Singapore Changi Airport for one month on 5 September, supported by interactive activations to attract consumer engagement. It is set to be rolled out to additional airports from October. To offer further exclusivity to travellers, a 750ml bottle, carrying an ABV of 43%, has been created for DFS stores, while a 700ml bottle, also with a 43% ABV, will be available through other “valued” GTR partners of William Grant & Sons.

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