Distinct indicators of growth in wines and spirits

May 29, 2023 | 10:00
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Wines and spirits convention Vinexpo Asia successfully made its return to Asia last week after a four-year hiatus, with the Singapore event enjoying the presence of 1,000 producers from 35 countries, and an impressive turnout of almost 10,000 trade visitors representing the region. Rodolphe Lameyse, CEO of Vinexposium, talked exclusively to VIR’s Linh Le about the group’s strong commitment to Asia and the potential this burgeoning market holds.

Why was Singapore chosen for the return of this event?

We always had this willingness to cover the whole Asia market in depth, especially in Southeast Asia.

Distinct indicators of growth in wines and spirits
Rodolphe Lameyse, CEO of Vinexposium

In 2019, we had a new show in Shanghai, but then all events were halted because of the pandemic. After that, it became very obvious that holding more business meetings in Asia and a show in Southeast Asia was important.

Back in 2015, the Southeast Asian market was developing, but it was not that big. However, in the past few years, there has been a shift in the pattern of the wine industry, with numerous wine importers relocating from Hong Kong to Singapore, and the increased traffic of wine and spirits from anywhere to Singapore and vice versa.

Singapore is now one of the gateways into Southeast Asia. Its strategic location makes it a hub of regional and global trade and its business model revolves, among other things, around a very open-minded approach to international trade. Our desire to be a part of this movement and to benefit from this dynamic sales environment is fully understood by our customers.

Are there any new features to this year’s event compared to previous versions?

In terms of participation, what’s interesting this year is the comeback of countries like Australia and the United States. That’s a good signal that they are interested in our offerings and in a new market that we are attempting to cover.

As for new features, what’s significant is the rise of the spirits component in our masterclasses at this event. Spirits have always been an important component of our events in Europe with a whole section dedicated to it, but not yet in Asia.

However, as seen in our masterclasses about the future of mixologists, cocktails and spirits are now booming everywhere, so we decided to bring this new feature to the show.

What is your overall assessment of the efficiency and success of this event in Singapore?

There is one concrete element to assess the success of a trade show, which is the number of people visiting. The second factor is the general buzz – it is pretty much a success if you can hear a lot of buzz and many people talking.

In terms of participation, we always try to make sure that we bring the right people to the floor who can contribute. As a trade-only show, we are very strict about the quality of visitors.

If we did it in the early 2010s, we would have failed. But the Singapore debut so far has been busy with discussion and new business meetings, and an extremely large number of participants.

What are some of the specific trends or consumer behaviours in Vietnam that you have observed throughout recent years?

With a young population and a rising middle class, Vietnamese people are intense in terms of social media trends and willing to try new flavours. There’s also this new expectation from the young generation to drink different things than their parents, which is actually a global trend that you can see in South Korea, in China, and in Europe as well.

In Vietnam, I expect the same thing happens, in which young people are more interested in cocktails than their parents may have been. This is also why the spirit component is becoming increasingly important in our business.

Vietnam’s middle-class population is also experiencing rapid growth, outpacing other countries in Southeast Asia. This expanding segment of the population is increasingly adopting Westernised tastes and preferences, making them more inclined to invest in wine for its prestigious image, even at higher price points.

What are the general sentiments of investors towards the current state of Vietnam’s wine and spirits market, and what are the key advantages that make Vietnam an attractive market?

It’s a market that is highly growing. When you think about the global market trends in terms of growth, European and North America are seeing a slight decrease, but South Korea is increasing in double-digits in terms of consumption compound annual growth rate, and Vietnam is also seeing an increase of about 8 per cent.

So, it’s a steady growth, which is also quite visible in this event through the number of importers coming from Vietnam. It’s an important country for us and a top-four country in terms of participation.

In terms of expectations, I have heard feedback from business partners in the past few days that they were surprised by the number of visitors from Vietnam. This is a clear indicator that the market is growing. The factors that are driving this growth are the young generation attracted by new products, and wine is one of them.

In addition, as there are more and more expats in Vietnam, including people leaving Singapore because it’s too expensive and moving to Vietnam or Thailand, there is a new market influx and demand. These elements are in turn fuelling the demand for wine and spirits.

Are there any specific initiatives or strategies that you are considering to enhance presence and engagement in the Asian market?

From now on, we will be holding a show in Asia every year, alternating between Singapore and Hong Kong. The date for the next Hong Kong show is 28-30 May 2024. Additionally, we offer so many other opportunities globally, so there is enough on the plate for everyone who is keen to do business.

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The Vinexposium group is ramping up its commitment to Asia by turning Vinexpo Asia into a key annual event for the wine and spirits industry across the region.

Vinexpo Asia 2023 makes big impression Vinexpo Asia 2023 makes big impression

Vinexpo Asia, the leading international trade show for the wine and spirits sector in Asia, concluded its event from May 23 to 25 in Singapore.

By Linh Le

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