Homegrown distillery eyes tropical flavors for global reach

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 29 2018 11:58 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2018 06:23 AM

MANILA - One of the Philippines' top distilleries said Monday it aims to expand its global reach through flavored liquors such as mango and calamansi that appeal to foreigners.

Destileria Limtuaco said that while the export market for its tropical fruit-flavored liquors remains small, it is a growing market.

“People would ask what is unique in the Philippines, what do you have that other countries cannot offer, so I put on my thinking cap and said, you know what do we have, I thought first of mango, we have the best mangoes,” said company president Olivia Limpe-Aw.

Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur and Manille Liqueur de Calamansi are popular abroad, with calamansi liquor a favorite of some American chefs, Limpe-Aw said.

Destileria Limtuaco has been exporting products to Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Ukraine, South Africa, Saipan, Guam, Switzerland, and the U.S.

"We just opened Japan, U.S. also. But in the U.S. we’re trying to get more states involved kasi right now we’re operating in California,” company marketing assistant Aaron Limpe-Aw said.

Aside from mango and calamansi, Destileria’s lineup of unique spirits include Amadeo Coffee Liqueur, which is made from several coffee blends including barako; Manille Liqueur de Dalandan; Very Old Captain Artisan crafted dark rum made from molasses; and the Imeldifique Cooking Wine infused with garlic and onion in sorghum base to give out the “ginisa” flavor when cooking.

Promoting Filipino agriculture

The company said using locally sourced ingredients is necessary in promoting a Filipino brand.

“I’m very nationalistic. I'm happy to export than import. I want our products to be known worldwide,” Olivia Limpe-Aw said.

By exporting its flavored spirits, the company said it also supports locally produced crops used for their alcoholic beverages.

Although faced with expansion pains, Olivia and her family are confident that their flavored liquors will be huge in the near future.

“There’s the challenges like familiarity like calamansi and dalandan di ba not every body is familiar with that, that’s why we work with local agencies like the Department of Agriculture because they promote the produce and through that we can help them promote din with a value-added product,” Aaron Limpe-Aw said.

Founded in 1852, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc is known for its flagship alcoholic beverages Sio Hoc Tong introduced in 1852 and the popular White Castle whiskey.