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Old 14th January 2011, 03:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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More clubbers splurge on premium drinks

More clubbers splurge on premium drinks



by Germaine Lim, The New Paper
14 January 2011


The next time you're at a club, take a look around. You'll probably notice that super-premium alcohol labels are becoming a common sight at party tables.

Those that fall under this niche category include champagne Dom Perignon and Grey Goose vodka.

Never mind that these can cost twice as much as their more affordable cousins.

Mr Alfred Goh, brand manager of alcohol distributor Pernod Ricard Singapore, told The New Paper, "People are definitely drinking more of the better stuff."

Zouk club has seen a close to a 50 per cent increase in the purchase of such labels between 2008 and last year, according to director of operations Benny Heng.

At Zouk, a 750ml bottle of Dom Perignon costs $370, while a 750ml bottle of Grey Goose is $230.

And in the realm of cognac and whisky, local punters are favouring the mature and exquisite - read: pricey - types.

Over at St James Power Station, chief operating officer Andrew Ing said he's seeing "a lot more people" drink Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which is a rare whisky.

A 750ml bottle will set one back $445++ at St James.

Mr Ing said: "People are more sophisticated and well travelled. Our palates have changed. We're more exposed to different types of alcohol.

"We know what a quality drink is. When you try something which isn't what you normally drink but that is meant to be of better quality, you can definitely tell the difference."

Comparing figures between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, Pernod Ricard Singapore's Mr Goh said that Martell Cordon Bleu cognac and Chivas Regal 18 Year Old whisky - both are distributed by Pernod Ricard Singapore - have grown 10 per cent and 78 per cent respectively.

Martell Cordon Bleu averages $400 for a 700ml bottle, while Chivas Regal 18 Year Old can command $300 a 750ml bottle.

At Zouk, the demand for single-malt scotch whisky Macallan 18, which costs $420 a 750ml bottle, has grown 20 per cent over the last two years, Mr Heng said.

That partygoers are willing to splurge on more expensive alcohol is a sure sign that they are no longer pinching the penny now that the economy is improving, said Mr Bernard Lim, chief executive officer of LifeBrandz, which owns clubs such as Zirca Mega Club, Rebel and Lunar Asian Fusion Bar.

As recently as six to nine months ago, there has been an increasing demand for Cristal champagne, he added.

Mind you, a 750ml bottle of Cristal costs a whopping $788.

He said: "I'm sure there are those who really appreciate a good drink. But alcohol is alcohol.

"I think it's about perception and how drinking and having these at one's table at a club contribute to a feel-good factor."

Sale figures

The New Paper understands that Zirca has seen a 40 per cent increase in super-premium alcohol sale figures in the last 12 months.

The cost of satisfying a supposedly more sophisticated palate is certainly high.

But some clubbers like Mr Caleb Li remain undaunted.

Mr Li's preferred tipple is Macallan 18 because it has a "more refined and intense taste".

The 34-year-old finance manager declined to reveal what he used to drink, but added that it was a cheaper whisky.

He said: "I switched to Macallan 18 after a friend introduced it to me three years ago.

"It's more costly, but I don't drink it every day. And I'd rather pay for a better drink which I enjoy and can savour."

With the opening of the two integrated resorts last year and more upmarket watering holes like Ku De Ta and the upcoming Pangaea at Marina Bay Sands, the only way sale figures is likely to go is upwards, said optimistic club operators St James and LifeBrandz.

While LifeBrandz's Mr Lim declined to give figures, St James' Mr Ing said that the operator is expecting sale figures to rise at least 20 per cent.

Pernod Ricard Singapore projects an increase of at least 15 per cent in the demand for such premium liquor for 2010/2011.

Source: http://www.plushasia.com/article/12145

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