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The Broady approach to spirits

From a neighbourhood bar to APAC distribution; we catch up with Proof & Company’s CEO Paul ‘Broady’ Broadbent on what’s next for Asia’s leading independent ‘extraordinary spirits’ business.

Proof & company
Proof & Company’s CEO Paul ‘Broady’ Broadbent

Sitting at the bar where it all started – Singapore’s 28 HongKong Street – Paul Broadbent sips on his favourite Negroni and takes a moment to consider the breathtaking rise of Proof & Company.

Almost 12 years ago, three ex-lawyers founded a late-night neighbourhood cocktail bar in Singapore in the mould of some of their favourite New York venues. Serving only the finest craft independent brands, the bar became (and remains) a hit, and created a spirit movement in Singapore, giving rise to a small distribution arm.

Today, Proof & Company distributes over 50 independent spirits brands in nine countries, boasting more than 5,000 retail partners and 10,000 hospitality partners. Its creative division is the consultancy behind award-winning bars such as Atlas in Singapore. Its EcoSPIRITS wing is pioneering the world’s first low-carbon, low-waste spirits-distribution technology.

Paul, you’re leading a burgeoning company in a part of the world that is experiencing rapid growth, in an industry that is constantly evolving. How do you maintain Proof & Company’s ‘North Star’ in terms of direction, and what is it?

Everyone calls me ‘Broady’, I like things to be personal and less formal. We are working every day to champion the second golden age of fine drinking – from our team at Proof Creative, to the team at our ecoPLANTS filling ecoTOTES with premium craft spirits, and everyone in our business units. We are all committed to finding ways to surprise and delight the industry, and bring to Asia the necessary products to keep up with consumer trends both locally and around the world. While we are scaling up globally,

I’d say that the creativity, community and passion of bartenders and their industry remains our ‘North Star’ – it’s where we came from, and will always be our heart.

You mention trends as a driver for development – what are you seeing in terms of trends in spirits and does Proof & Company respond to these, or play a part in influencing them?

We have always had an expansive agave portfolio, and we are continuing to build this out as this category explodes, and bartenders and consumers explore the wonderfully vast flavour profiles it offers. Also, it’s amazing to see the cocktail experience going to all-new highs; the art of presentation is exploding across the globe, and bartenders are bringing this to their guests without compromising on time to serve them – some serious mise en place is happening before the doors open and it’s show time. Our Proof Creative team has helped many of our partners lead in this fast-evolving space.

What’s next for Proof & Company – where are you looking to expand, and how?

There is so much going on, but I can share three keys areas: first, our Proof Creative team will take on global projects, where in the past we have remained solely focused on our markets in Asia.

Also, this year will see increased investment into our China business, as we see significant opportunities for craft spirits in the coming years; we are building the foundations to drive the category in this dynamic market.

Finally, we are looking to welcome two to three new strategic brand partners to complement our current portfolio, and support the changing needs of the consumer in our region. Watch this space…

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