Beijing Single Malt Club holds Laphroiag dating night

Jan. × ’10

One for all the eligible batchelors and batchelorettes in Beijing, the Single Malt Club in Wangjing is holding it’s first ‘Thursday Dating’ event of 2010 on the 7th of January. The event will focus on four vintages from the Laphroaig distillery.

The Single Malt Club has been running a wholesale and retail business for International Beverage’s whiskies for over a year, and opened their lounge bar to welcome their customers to sample whiskies on site towards the end of 2009. Maltinchina paid a visit to the last Thursday Dating event, hosted by Old Pulteney’s brand ambassador Iain Baxter, and had a great time. Well worth a visit!

Event Details:

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Og-Mhadainn/h’ og maidne (or Happy New Year!)

Jan. × ’10

So, the start of a new decade and maltinchina is contemplating what the next ten years will bring for the whisky industry in China. Let’s take a quick look back….

2000 – Spirits tariffs are 100%

2001 – Scotch whisky sales in China are $2 million. China joins the WTO and import duty on spirits drops from 65%. Pernod Ricard launches Chivas Regal in China.

2003 -Tariffs on spirits drop from 56% to 37.5%. Erdrington / Macallan opens a representative office in Shanghai.

2004 – over 137% increase in volume and 122% in sales over 2003 (GBP25 million in sales). Chinese translation of Robert Burns’ poetry publishded

2005 – 85% increase in whisky sales, China’s mainland is now world’s 11th largest scotch whisky market – 20 million bottles / GBP46 million. Whisky import tariff dropped to 10%.

2006 – Imported spirits still only make up 1% of China’s spirits market, indicating there is still plenty of room for growth. Some reports put Scotch whisky sales at $1.1 billion.

2009 – Whisky sales reach GBP80million in sales in China’s mainland. The first dedicated whisky auction is held by Bonhams in Hong Kong, with 100% of the lots sold.

So the whisky market has really gone through the roof in the past ten years, and new distilleries are being built across Scotland in order to meet demand…. so what are maltinchina’s predictions for the next ten years?

  • Hong Kong to drop import tariff on whisky from 100%, providing support for the collector’s market in Asia
  • Single malt sales to gradually increase in proportion to blended whisky sales
  • Global prices for whisky to drop towards the end of the decade as new supply reaches maturity and comes onto the market
  • Good quality whisky is produced locally in China for the Chinese market

In any case, wish you all much happiness and success in 2010! Slainte!

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Single Malt tasting at the Bookworm

Dec. × ’09

The Bookworm has gradually been building it’s collection of single malts, and with the help of the ever knowledgeable Kelvin Tam of the Interbev Group, has started hosting monthly ‘Whisky Wednesdays’.

December’s was an introduction to three Japanese single malts*, and the history of whisky in Japan. Instead of focusing on the three whiskies available for tasting, Kelvin told us the story of how whisky came to be distilled in Japan. In 1918 Masataka Taketsuru, the young son of a sake brewer, was sent to Glasgow to study and ended up picking a bonnie Scottish lass and a penchant for single malt while working at the Hazelburn distillery in Campbeltown. Jessie Roberta Cowan, later Rita Taketsuru, followed Masataka back to Japan and remained there for the rest of her life.

On returning to Japan he first worked at the Kotobukiya company and set up the Yamazaki distillery in 1924. Some years later, in 1934, he set up the Nikka distillery in Hokkaido which he believed had the climate that was closest to that in Scotland.

Whisky Wednesday’s are on the first Wednesday of every month at the Beijing Bookworm. 100RMB to taste three whiskies.

The story of Rita & Masataka Takesturu is recounted in the book “Japanese Whisky, Scotch Blend”.

* I must remember to take notes as I can not for the life of me remember what they were… a Yamazaki, Yoichi and Hakushu I believe. Very nice, mellow flavoured malts.

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Hilton Food & Wine Experience 2009

Nov. × ’09

The Beijing Hilton’s annual Food & Wine Experience took place last Saturday. Unfortunately it was far more a Wine event than a Food event and apart from some very tasty chocolate, a few cubes of beef and lamb, and an overpriced mini-burger – nothing solid passed my lips all day until retiring for a tasty western chinese meal at 兰花花美食村 (a local shanxi restaurant) with the owner of Potocki Vodka and some friends from Xinhua.

Aside from the problem with the food (or the lack of it), what really surprised me was the total absence of whiskies at the fair, single malt or otherwise. Given that the whisky scene in Beijing has rapidly expanded over the last 18 months (look at the new Glen, Single Malt Club, Itchikura’s expansion and the Bookworm’s regular whisky tastings) it was surprising that not a single company was promoting whiskies at the fair.

Following dinner I paid a visit to the newly opened Apothecary in the Nali Patio. Opened by Leon Lee (formerly of the great O.T. Lounge), the Apothecary explores classic cocktails, film specials (Vesper Martini – gin, vodka, kina lillet) and cajun food (once the kitchen’s gas supple has been connected). The decor is brighter than your average cocktail bar, and has a nice atmosphere. Worth a visit, especially as the food and drinks menu expands.

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