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Tang launches in Chinese travel retail

Bacardi has launched Tang– a spirit distilled entirely from green tea leaves.  Harnessing the properties of the Chinese ingredient and blending it with spring water from France, Tang is a contemporary spirit with a unique and robust taste profile that delivers a new drinking experience. 

The name is inspired by the mighty Tang dynasty, China’s first Golden Age of antiquity – a period considered to be of great accomplishment marked by a spirit of innovation.

The packaging and bottle of Tang were designed by Fabrice Legros, founder and director of Studio Pi Design, a Paris-based agency dedicated to creating and developing packaging products for luxury brands, particularly flacons for the perfume industry. Some of the brands he has collaborated with include Bvlgari, Chopard, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent. The graphic elements of the bottle were designed by Brand Union, a London-based global brand agency with deep expertise in brand development and design, particularly for the alcohol sector.

The cutting-edge distillation process behind Tang, Bacardi says, marks a breakthrough in the world of spirits.  Due to the composition of tea leaves and the absence of simple sugar, the experts at Bacardi developed a groundbreaking process that successfully releases complex sugars from tea leaves and transforms them into a fermentable form, resulting in a beautifully aromatic compound that forms the essence of the spirit. This is then concentrated and meticulously blended in different fractions by top master blenders who retain only the most pleasant and intense flavours.  The iquid is then combined with the pure water from France.  The result is a complex spirit that embodies and expresses the rich flavours of tea.

Only 2,000 bottles of Tang are produced each time and the first 500 bottles will be individually numbered. Tang will be exclusively available from today at DFS Hong Kong and, starting May 2015, the distribution of Tang will expand into select partner restaurants in China.

“Since the Tang dynasty, China has developed a profound appreciation for tea, a ‘holy herb’ that is held in high esteem throughout this country’s long history. When we succeeded in creating Tang, it made sense to us that China be the first in the world to experience it,” says Guillaume Dock, global R&D director for Bacardi. “With green tea forming the cornerstone of Tang, we believe we have created a truly unique product that tastes entirely new yet inspires a nostalgic familiarity that will intrigue the most discerning Chinese palate.” 

Mike Birch, MD, Bacardi global travel retail comments: “We’re excited to launch this exceptional innovation exclusively in travel retail. It is a perfect example of Bacardi’s strategic commitment to inspiring innovation ideas and a focus on travel retail as a key channel for innovation. Tang is a unique and contemporary development in new drinking experiences. We are confident that its initial launch is in great hands with DFS at Hong Kong International Airport.”

Tang, characterized by its distinctive aroma and robust tea flavour, is a delicious accompaniment to Chinese dishes. At first encounter, it has a bold and fragrant aroma.  When consumed, an extraordinarily smooth and bitter-sweet taste of tea envelops the mouth, and creates a delightfully long, lingering finish that leaves behind a line of heat that extends to the belly. The liquid can cut through grease and enhance the taste of Cantonese and fusion dishes that are light and flavourful. 

At restaurants, Tang will be served on a stunning tray that features a striking centerpiece – a black metallic lantern with intricate cutouts of tealeaf motifs that encloses the illuminated bottle.  It is coupled with heavy crystal cut glassware reminiscent of wine goblets used by imperial emperors. 

Matt Djokovic, innovation director for Bacardi in Asia Pacific, comments: “Today, the types of spirits that can be enjoyed with food are fairly limited. Hence, we hope Tang can represent an additional spirit option to enjoy during Chinese meals.  We believe Tang is poised to deliver a contemporary drink experience that will satisfy our consumers’ appetite for new and refined experiences in dining and other occasions.”  

Produced in Cognac (Commune), Tang has been crafted purely from green tea leaves and French spring water, a fragrant elixir that is completely untainted by any additives, preservatives or sugars.  

The glass bottle has a distinctive trapezoidal twist to encapsulate the genuine fusion of Western innovation and Eastern traditions.  The bottle also features intricate etchings of tealeaf motifs, inspired by the design of traditional Chinese tea caddies, and gold foiling, echoing the hues of green tea, adds sophistication.

Tang is recommended to be consumed neat, at room temperature, without ice.  The complex taste profile is equally delightful when mixed in cocktails.

23 March 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor