Second Golden Age Of Cocktails
Forbes India|January 8, 2016

Lam Chi Mun, director, Diageo Bar Academy, Asia Pacific, talks about changing alcohol preferences in Asia and witnessing a second golden age of cocktails

 

Jasodhara Banerjee

Q. How is customer behaviour different in different countries?

Customers in most parts of the Western world have a different preference than what we have in Asia. Most Asians would prefer something with a little bit more sweetness to it, whereas Europeans and Americans prefer something less sweet.

Currently, there is the whiskey craze among Asian customers. If you visit cocktail bars in the West, they are a little more open to a wider range of liquors.

But having said that, a lot of spirits that we are consuming in the East are of Western origin, and therefore more embedded in the Western culture. For instance, vermouth, which is normally associated with Asian drinking, is usually used by Westerners who have it as a digestive, or after dinner.

Q. Are customers in certain regions more open to suggestions about what they should drink?

In Asia, we don’t have a lot of liquors widely available as part of our culture. But people are travelling more, they have more disposable income, and are beginning to recognise that there are a lot of options. They appreciate more diversity in their drinks. I am not saying we are there yet, but in a lot of Asian countries you will see many cocktail bars sprouting, craft bartenders making drinks with twists and new ingredients, and they are getting a very good response.

Q. What do Indian customers prefer?

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