A Scots firm is to open the first-ever dedicated gin bar in Beijing.
A brand-new venue to the popular Chaoyang District of Beijing, the Pickering’s Gin and Seafood Bar will showcase Pickering’s gins alongside fresh Scottish seafood in the cosmopolitan Sanlitun area of the Chinese Capital, on Saturday July 21.
Following months of collaborative planning with PandaBrew, known to be chief innovators in the fledgling Chinese craft beer scene, the purpose-built Pickering’s Gin cocktail bar and seafood restaurant is located close to the British Embassy.
The bar is part of a long-term export strategy for the award-winning Edinburgh distillery with plans to open Pickering’s Gin and Seafood Bars in many of the major cities in China.
Marcus Pickering, co-founder and head of export, sees the bar as a stepping stone for both Pickering’s Gin and Scottish produce to take hold in China.
He said: ‘Our water is world famous – whether it is the fish that swim in it, the alcohol we distil with it, or the ice we make from it, our bar is a celebration of the best to come from Scotland’s exceptional waters. From gin to salmon, whisky to beer – we’ll be flying the flag for quality Scottish produce in China.’
Hot on the heels of the new direct flights to Beijing from Edinburgh by Hainan Airlines – part of a wider Edinburgh #Chinaready initiative that sees businesses from around the city embracing Chinese visitors to the city – the distillery will bring even more Scottish flavour to the East.
Growing from the success of their two-story brewpub mecca for craft beer fans, PandaBrew opened the Scottish Whisky bar, Charles’ Whisky Bar, in central Beijing in 2017. With gin tipped to be the next big thing, the innovators were keen to collaborate with Pickering’s Gin to deliver a quality gin experience which celebrates Scottish provenance with a complementary seafood offering.
Matt Gammell, head distiller and co-founder added: ‘The opportunity was brought to us by PandaBrew’s representative in Scotland, David Moore of Filshill International.
‘It’s a pretty daunting market to try and get a foothold in, but David is an Asian drinks trade specialist and we have an experienced partner with PandaBrew. We’re sure that the quality of the products will shine through and become an instant hit with Beijing foodies and expats alike.’
From an empty shell Pickering’s and PandaBrew have built a 270 square meter venue comprised of a 120-cover restaurant, three bars and a live music stage. Ex-London Gin Club Manager and now Pickering’s UK Brand Ambassador Stevie Watson has collaborated with the bar’s award-winning Head bartender Zak Wu to create a bespoke cocktail menu designed to best introduce gin to the people of Beijing.
Kurt Xia, director of PandaBrew, said: ‘Gin is a very new category for mainland China but is generating much excitement, particularly from the younger generation. There’s a desire in China for lighter, fresher drinks and gin’s versatility really taps into this. The PandaBrew team looks forward to embracing, leading and driving this trend with our partners Pickering’s Gin.
‘In relative terms, not many people in China have tried Scottish products yet. However, because of Scotland’s unique history, natural environment, provenance and the quality of the produce, it will certainly attract the Chinese consumer. The new trade agreements between the Chinese and British governments mean that I am very positive about the future of Scottish products over here.’
The Four-year old Summerhall Distillery recently upgraded their bottling line in order to prepare for increased export demand from both China and the USA. They also extended improvements to their visitor experience, expecting increased tourism from the brand awareness built abroad.
The Pickering’s Gin Distillery Tour was recently named Best Visitor Attraction in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife at Visit Scotland’s Thistle Awards.