That’s Spirits Shanghai closes its doors on 2014

Hotelex Shanghai Fine Food Expo 2014 welcomed thousands of visitors from around China last week to the latest incarnation of its drinks exhibition, That’s Spirits.

The March 31 to April 3 tradeshow centred around the three-day China Master Bartender Competition, wine and spirits tastings and climaxed with a Bacardi-hosted rum festival.

Among the exhibitors and competition sponsors were DISCUS with a range of American whiskeys, Grand Marnier, Ron Barceló, Janneau, Tequila Dividido, Perrier, Bols, Bacardi, Primet and Stolichnaya.

Drinks International, which was media partner for the event, spoke to exhibitors about their experiences of the Southeast China show.

Marin Delchev, advocacy manager of Bacardi China, told DI: “This show is not about education, it’s about networking and contacts.  It has a lot of people looking for a distributor.”

“It’s difficult for Bacardi in China because buyers are looking for brown spirits and champagne in a group’s portfolio. We are working with Martini sparkling [to change perceptions]. But they are still looking for image over quality. Slowly slowly this is changing. Advertising works very well here. Our new campaign is going to work very well with the Chinese.”

Magnus, founder of Primet liqueurs, which is produced in Germany for the Chinese market, said: “We have done business at the show. We will come back next year.  This exposition is good for smaller brands like us. We have the space to showcase our range.

Alberto Medina-Almazan, commercial manager of Tequila Davidido said: “We get exposure here. The tequila market is not big in China but we are really dedicated to it. It will eventually pay off. We are trying to take a long term view - be persistent. We are building a brand from the start.

“In Shanghai there is a lack of knowledge about Mexican culture, in Beijing they know more.”