Specialist beers and wines are favourites for expats in Asia

Published:  23 May at 6 PM
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Whether it’s fish ‘n chips, Weetabix, Marmite or Guinness, British expats as well as their international compatriots crave a taste of home, especially if it’s almost unavailable.

Home country foods and beverages are an occasional must have for expats all over the world, especially if they’re a taste of childhood in a far simpler universe than the present version. This incontrovertible fact of expat life has prompted expat entrepreneurs to start businesses bringing in all-time favourites to hordes of waiting expatriates in countries all across the globe. Locally-brewed specialist beers are top of the must-have listings, a fact which didn’t go unnoticed by an Australian expat in Hong Kong.

A casual conversation in a Hong Kong bar serving Coopers beer turned into a successful import business for two Australian and South African expats who now import not just Coopers’, but also Bickford’s, Pirate Life and Pikes as well as a good selection of famous South African wines. Australian Jock Auld and South African Andrew Carrick told reporters their local customer base is mostly Australian, adding the wine just sells itself as it’s world famous for its quality and taste.

Thousands of miles away in the UK, owner of The Australian Cellar Melanie Brown feels the same about South African wines, especially those from smaller wineries such as Alpha Box, Bird in Hand and Shaw and Smith. Although the store originally stocked just Aussie wines, Brown is confident the SA originals are becoming ever more popular, and is proving it through increased orders.
Another development is the increasing popularity of SA’s gin varieties, from the prize-winning Old Tom Gin through Green Ant Gin, Something Wild and Never Never Gin, all available in Hong Kong to the delight of expat connoisseurs of the hard stuff. Expats living and working in southern China are in for a treat, as Andrew and Jock’s AR Importers company is now selling Pirate Life and Coopers beers in Chengdu and Shenzhen.
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