Presented by Gabriel Wildau. Filmed and produced by Tom Griggs.
The bar setting might look familiar, but this drink isn't one you're likely to find anywhere else. Sour plum juice, oolong tea infused rum garnished with a candied smoked plum. It's a cocktail with Chinese characteristics.
Shanghai has a vibrant bar scene that is a beachhead for introducing western liquor into China. The city is full of young, cosmopolitan minded professionals who have studied or worked abroad, and have money to spend on new experiences, like cocktails.
Yeah. For me, because I don't like too much alcohol, but every time when I look at this menu I can't refuse the beautiful names. For example, Casablanca, Godfather, the Angel's Feast it really makes me feel like in Hollywood. It's so romantic.
Just like in every other consumer industry western liquor brands are desperate to grab a piece of the Chinese wallet. But it's an uphill climb, because Chinese people traditionally drink baijiu, or white spirits, which is consumed not in a bar, but in a restaurant over dinner.
Not only that, but baijiu isn't sipped. It's taken in shots. And never alone. Always part of a toast with at least one other person, and usually the entire table.
The Chinese spent over $130 billion on liquor last year. But over 90% of that was on baijiu and other traditional spirits.
The baijiu gives us a wonderful insight into consumer behaviour in the meal occasion. So that we can then take all of those learnings into the development of our international spirits business, particularly scotch whisky.
Persuading more Chinese drinkers to switch to western liquor requires clever branding to associate it with a glamorous, international lifestyle, as well as crafting flavours to suit the Chinese palate.
In China younger generation consumers, they tend to embrace international spirits. And the key strategy is that we do a trial to generate trial in bars, in family KTV or in high energy bars.
If you are a bar tender, if you are a bar owner, you should be become friends of your customer. So people come to the bar to see you.
My typical person will be like 25 years old to 35 years old. It's like younger than the older customers.
Here in the globalised city of Shanghai it looks like big profits for the western liquor brands could be just around the corner. But the situation in second and third tier cities is a lot different, and it could be years or even decades before the typical Chinese drinker gets the taste of a cocktail like this.