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Scottish gin distillery opens Beijing’s first gin bar

Scottish gin is set to make its mark in China, following the official opening of Beijing’s first ever dedicated gin bar.

The red carpet opening of the Pickering’s Gin and Seafood Bar saw 100 local dignitaries, celebrities and influencers from China’s capital gather to enjoy a combination of Scotland’s finest craft gin alongside some of the best seafood – including Scottish oysters served with a delicate Pickering’s Original Recipe 1947 gin and celery foam.

Located in the Sanlitun area of Chaoyang District, one of Beijing’s liveliest hotspots for wining and dining, the brand new purpose-built venue is part of a long-term export strategy for the award-winning distillery. Current plans include opening as many as 19 more Pickering’s Gin and Seafood Bars in key cities across China.

Developed in conjunction with PandaBrew, trailblazers in the fledgling Chinese craft beer scene, the 270 square metre venue comprises a 120-cover restaurant, three bars and a live music stage, including a dedicated ‘Peacock Nest’ for an immersive Pickering’s brand experience.

Ex-London Gin Club Manager, and now Pickering's UK Brand Ambassador, Stevie Watson has collaborated with the bar's award-winning Head Mixologist, John Hung to create a bespoke cocktail menu designed to best introduce gin to the people of Beijing.

Customers can sample the ‘Ultimate Gin and Tonic Experience’ with Pickering’s gin sous-vide with butterfly peas, lemongrass and even washed with olive oil. These new contemporary expressions are then paired with a flower suspended in cleverly engineered crystal clear ice blocks. Bespoke cocktail offerings include a Distilled Negroni infusing Pickering’s Navy Strength Gin with Sichuan pepper and the Peacock Egg which is served like a yolk in an egg shell.

The new bar stocks the full Pickering’s Gin range aims to take advantage of a growing thirst for spirits among China’s affluent consumers. Currently one of the world’s biggest spirits consumers, China imported around 52.81 million litres of spirits from overseas in the first nine months of 2017, in a market worth roughly $807m (£608m) (source: Global Data).

Marcus Pickering, co-founder and head of export, heralds the bar as an important milestone for Pickering’s Gin, Scotland and the UK in China as he said, “We are bringing a unique offering to the Chinese market with our range of gins distilled in the heart of Scotland’s capital. This is about showcasing the best Scotland, and indeed what Britain has to offer to the East.

“In the next six months we will work towards having the seafood on the menu sourced exclusively from Scotland including lobster, oysters and mussels. We are working with the Department of International Trade and Scottish Development International to make this a truly Scottish destination in Beijing.

“We have been overwhelmed with our Chinese welcome to the market here and we’re confident this is just the first of many Pickering’s Gin bars in China.”

Matt Gammell, head distiller and co-founder commented: “This is a big step for us and we are grateful to have such an experienced partner in PandaBrew.

“We’re sure that the quality of our gin, combined with the provenance of the food on offer, will shine through and become an instant hit with Beijing foodies and expats alike”.

At only four-years old, the Summerhall Distillery has gone from strength to strength, most recently upgrading their bottling line in order to prepare for increased export demand from both China and the USA. The award-winning gin supremo has also recently extended improvements to the visitor experience, in anticipation of increased tourism from their growing brand visibility an availability overseas.