Dukang wants to introduce sake alcoholic beverages in China by working with Taiwan's largest alcohol beverage player, Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor (TTL).
Above: Shaoxing wine cellar at TTL's Puli Brewery.

Photos by Ngo Yit Sung

Shaoxing wine tunnel at TTL's Puli Brewery

RECENTLY, I was in Taiwan to check out the brewery facilities that will produce Dukang Distillers' new range of sake products.

Dukang has an agreement with Taiwan's Tobacco and Liquor Corp (TTL) for the latter to produce sake products that will be sold in PRC under the Dukang brand name.

TTL is Taiwan's largest manufacturer and distributor of alcoholic beverages and a former state-owned enterprise.

L-R: Mr Wu Yulong (Dukang's sake sommelier), Mr Jiang (Head of Puli Brewery), Mr Ho (Dukang independent director), Raymond Ho (Dukang CFO)

It has nine established wineries and distilleries engaged in the production, R&D and marketing of various alcoholic beverages, such as different kinds of rice-based alcoholic beverages, whiskey and rum.

The Singapore delegate that flew with me to Puli, Nantou in Taiwan included independent director, Mr Ho Teck Cheong, and CFO, Mr Raymond Ho.

At TTL's brewery, we met Mr. Wu Yulong, a certified kikisaké-shi (Master saké brewer). Mr. Wu was the runner-up in the 2nd World Kikisake-shi Competition and was formerly voted as the top sommelier by the Japanese media.

As Dukang's principal sake brewmaster, he is a key figure behind the successful launch of Dukang Distillers’ saké products.  According to the sommelier, saké is commonly regarded as a Japanese creation when its history actually traces back to the Chinese forefather of all alcoholic beverages – ‘Dukang’.

And Dukang new saké products will be brewed to perfection using top-grade ‘Penglai’ rice and pure spring water from the pristine mountains of Puli in Taiwan.

At TTL's breweries, we saw production underway for the Dukang sake. It typically takes 60 days after orders are placed before TTL's sake shipment arrives at the Dukang headquarters in Henan, PRC.

L-R: Mr Ho (Dukang independent director), Mr Jiang (Head of Puli Brewery), Mr Wu Yulong (Dukang's sake sommelier)

It looks like Dukang may launch Sake Ginjyo, a premium grade of sake for the PRC market as early as the first quarter of next year.

Mr Ho Teck Cheong was upbeat about the new product:

> TTL has impressive automated processes

> In contrast to the highly competitive PRC baijiu market, there is significant growth potential for lower-alcohol content beverages such as saké

> Dukang saké products are in a strong position to capture market share from those made in Japan, especially with radiation concerns after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

TTL has the capability to product a wide range of alcoholic beverages, such as their latest innovation of fruit beer.

Recent story: DUKANG: 1Q2013 Net Profit Surged 75% To Rmb 63.9m

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