Seizing a world of opportunities

Photo THE CHUAN, China’s first locally distilled malt whisky distillery

THE CHUAN is China’s first locally distilled malt whisky distillery from an international spirits and wine group. Responding to consumer demands for local products and an exploding Chinese market for whisky, the distillery aims to bring malt whisky from China to the world. THE CHUAN’s Master Distiller Tao Yang; Tracy Kwan, President and CEO of Pernod Ricard Japan, Ina ugural VP for THE CHUAN; and Louis Cheng, VP of Marketing, Pernod Ricard Asia, have the details on one of China’s first whisky distilleries.

When we think of China, we don’t immediately think of whisky. What inspired the creation of this distillery?

Louis Cheng: China is one of the largest markets for premium spirits in the world, and the country’s growing middle class and young urbanites have shown a burgeoning passion for whisky in recent years. Both whisky and malt categories enjoy double-digit compound annual growth rates (CAGR) in China, a trend we expect will continue well into the next decade. We aim to harness this growth and put China on the world map of whisky with THE CHUAN, leveraging our expertise in creating and operating some of the world’s most prestigious whisky distilleries.

How does the distillery blend local Chinese craftsmanship with authentic Scottish and Irish tradition?

Tao Yang: For every aspect of the process, from the distillery operations to product design, THE CHUAN is consulting with experts and master distillers from across Scotland, Ireland and China. We are embracing the heritage, traditions and craftsmanship of malt whisky but also influencing them with local characteristics - for example we will use oak casks and malt made in China. The distillery’s location, Emeishan, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is internationally renowned for the exceptional quality of its baijiu - a local spirit that has been produced in China for hundreds of years. The area has a climate well-suited for malt whisky production and has excellent natural terroir, including pristine natural streams that flow down from Mount Emei that we will harness responsibly. Our product will combine the best of both worlds.

How has the Group’s S&R strategy been integrated into 叠川 THE CHUAN?

Tracy Kwan: The distillery’s building and operations were designed to align with the Group’s Good Times from a Good Place S&R roadmap. We nurture the local terroir and participate in the circular economy by using 100% renewable energy, minimising the use of natural gas, offsetting our emissions and sending 100% of wastewater through a treatment plant on site.

Louis Cheng: We are also contributing to the sustainable growth of the local economy; hundreds of local jobs have already been created, and tourists will bring additional growth opportunities to the region when the visitor centre opens in 2023.

What’s the strategic importance of THE CHUAN for the Group?

Tracy Kwan: Creating a new category for Chinese malt whisky aligns perfectly with the Group’s strategic mission to expand beyond our core business and pioneer new terrains of value creation.  THE CHUAN also capitalises on the delocalised terroir trend, where traditional processes are transplanted to new geographies, creating exciting, multi-heritage products. This fusion will intrigue whisky connoisseurs while inspiring a new generation of whisky-lovers, providing long-term sustainable growth.

  • $150M will be invested in  THE CHUAN by Pernod Ricard over the next decade
  • 51% CAGR for single malt whisky in China(1)
  1. IWSR VALUE CAGR growth 19-21.