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Craft beers and spirits take off at Changi

These whiskys will be showcased as part of the inaugural DFS Craft Festival, held at Changi Airport’s departure and arrival terminals.
These whiskys will be showcased as part of the inaugural DFS Craft Festival, held at Changi Airport’s departure and arrival terminals.PHOTO: DFS

Travellers passing through Changi Airport can now get their hands on small-batch craft spirits and beers at the duty free stores, which carry mostly ubiquitous mass-market brands.

To celebrate the new additions and the rise of the craft spirits movement, travel retail giant DFS is holding the inaugural edition of the DFS Craft Festival from Friday to Oct 31 at the airport’s departure and arrival terminals.

During the six-week-long festival, travellers can get up close with brand ambassadors and even the distillers themselves every weekend, as well as enjoy complimentary tastings of more than 73 gin, whisky and beer brands.

Among them is blended malt whisky Copper Dog, from the Speyside region of Scotland, now available in Asia travel retail exclusively at DFS Changi.

Brand ambassador Jeremy Lee will be on hand to guide travellers through tastings and answer questions about the spirit on Oct 19 and 20.

New-to-market English gin Whitley Neil, along with its distinctly purple- hued rhubarb and ginger gin, will also be introduced at the festival, with brand ambassador Simon Roffe leading tastings on Friday and Saturday.

  • MEET THE BRANDS

  • Enjoy complimentary tastings and meet brand ambassadors of craft gin and whisky.

    Week 1: Whitley Neil (gin)

    Friday and Saturday: 1 to 2.30pm (T4 Departure) and 4 to 5.30pm (T2 Departure)

    Week 2: Botanist (gin)

    Sept 28 and 29: 1 to 2.30pm (T4 Departure) and 6 to 7.30pm (T3 Departure)

    Week 3: Tanglin Gin

    Oct 5 and 6: 1 to 2.30pm (T4 Departure) and 6 to 7.30pm (T3 Departure)

    Week 4: Oxley (gin)

    Oct 12 and 13: 1 to 2.30pm (T4 Departure) and 6 to 7.30pm (T3 Departure)

    Week 5: Copper Dog (whisky)

    Oct 19 and 20: 1 to 2.30pm (T4 Departure) and 6 to 7.30pm (T3 Departure)

    Week 6: Tanqueray (gin)

    Oct 26 and 27: 4 to 5.30pm (T4 Departure) and 6 to 7.30pm (T3 Departure)

The selection of brands is based on those with “innovative brewing processes and unique ingredients”, says Ms Brooke Supernaw, group senior vice-president of spirits, wine, tobacco, food and gifts at DFS.

“We particularly take pride in local flavours, ingredients, merchants and producers, which make these brands authentically Singaporean and, thus, appealing to both visitors and locals,” she says.

Local beers like Archipelago and Brewlander are already being sold at DFS stores. DFS is also the first travel retailer globally to stock the made-in-Singapore Tanglin Gin.

Other than seeing 62 million travellers pass through Changi Airport annually, Singapore’s role as part of the burgeoning craft cocktail movement in Asia is another reason why DFS chose to introduce the Craft Festival here.

“Singapore is a pioneer in the craft cocktail renaissance over the past five years, and there has been an explosion in the global craft cocktail bar scene,” Ms Supernaw says.

“Now consumers are primed to take what they know and love home, so that they themselves can experiment and enjoy with their family and friends.”

The Craft Festival follows other spirits-centric festivals held in Changi Airport in recent years, including 2016’s Cocktail Festival, and the first edition of the Whiskey Festival.

The latter event is now in its third year and was held from May 16 to June 17 this year.

“Every festival introduces 10 to 15 new products, 50 per cent of which are always either Changi-first, Asiafirst or DFS exclusives,” says Ms Supernaw.

“New products are constantly being introduced, but festivals provide the opportunity to showcase a specific category of spirits, in this case, craft spirits.”

All the brands showcased during the festival will be available in-store from Friday.

They will also be sold on iShop-Changi, Changi Airport Group’s ecommerce platform.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 16, 2018, with the headline 'Craft beers and spirits take off at Changi'. Print Edition | Subscribe