Connect with us

Business

Chalong means “celebrate’ – Phuket Business

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Chalong means “celebrate’ – Phuket Business | The Thaiger

PHUKET: They started the production just nine months ago but they already have reasons to celebrate – their product achieved international recognition, winning the highest award for a white rum at the International Wine and Spirit Competition in Hong Kong. But what’s even more important, it feels like a part of Phuket’s DNA – natural, local, merging traditions and cultures. The Phuket Gazette’s Maciek Klimowicz talks to the producers of the island’s first locally produced spirit – Chalong Bay rum.

How long was the road from the idea to the first bottle?

Thibault Spithakis:
We both come from families that were in the wine and spirit industry and the idea has been with us for a while but it was three years ago when we came to Thailand to do some market research and a feasibility study.

Marine Lucchini:
In the beginning, it was a real challenge to find people to build and participate in this adventure, but we found people as crazy as us and here we are.

It does sound crazy… Making rum in Thailand?

ML:
We’re a marriage of two traditions – French and Thai. We’re French and France has a long history of rum making, and Thailand is the fourth biggest producer of sugar cane in the world and is the base ingredient in rum. Our idea was to bring the tradition of rum making back to the origins of the produce used to make it. There is also another reason why we came to Thailand to do business.

I’ve been coming here for 12 years with my family for holidays. And I developed a special bond to Thailand during the tsunami. My family and I were in Khao Lak at that time and our hotel got completely destroyed. 75 per cent of the guests died and many people lost everything. Some people would have said: “I’m never coming back here again” but I was so impressed by the way locals reacted to the tragedy, how even people who had suffered so much still helped foreigners, and took care of them.

This was deeply impressive and I thought Thailand was a very special country.

But you surely chose a difficult product?

ML:
Making alcohol presents difficulties in every country, as it’s very highly regulated.

Of course it is also very strict in Thailand, both in terms of communication and production, and we did have a lot challenges to take up on the way. But one of the main rules I live by is that to every problem, no matter how difficult it is, there is a solution, you just have to find it.

TS:
Obstacles in front of entrepreneurs are present in every country. Thailand has its own complications as well as its own advantages. In fact, Thai people also have issues that are very similar to the ones we encounter.

Tell me more about your product.

ML:
There are two kinds of rum in the world – industrial rum which makes up to 90% of the world’s production and natural rum – Chalong Bay is natural. The industrial rum is not made with fresh sugar cane but with the residues of sugar production called molasses. Natural rum is made with fresh sugar cane. Using sugar cane instead of molasses affects the taste in a great way – natural rums have high floral and fruity aromas, whereas industrial rums are much more neutral in flavors, as most sugar cane flavors have been damaged during the production of sugar.

We actually went for sugar cane trips, met many farmers and chose one variety which we considered the best among the 300 varieties available here. Indeed, the variety of sugarcane used will have an impact on the flavor of the rum. Once you try a Mojito with our natural rum, you’ll get addicted to that extra fruity tropical taste. It has more character.

How much rum do you make?

ML:
We adjust to the demand. We started last October and adapted to the market. Currently we make around 30,000 bottles per year, and we have a lot of room for growth. But first we need to create it, we need to educate our customers.

Educate?

ML:
Most people here don’t believe that high quality alcohol can be made in Thailand and they prefer imported products and famous brands. Yet we have an award winning, high quality product made locally. And it attracts certain people, the early adopters who realize the quality and uniqueness. But we have to educate others about our product, how different it is from the Lao Khao which is the name given to all locally made white spirits.

TS:
The culture of spirits and rum is not as wide spread and old here as in Europe for example. Little by little, by sharing our rum tradition and heritage, we bring and contribute to the development of a complementary spirit culture. There is a part of Thai society that moves towards more Western style of consumption and is also interested in the cultural aspect of it. When we look at this trend on the market we see a strong interest in local, and boutique products.

How do you educate people?

TS:
We have different types of events. We partner with bars, hotels and restaurants where we promote the product and educate clients about it. We try to retain very close proximity with the consumers.

ML:
We recently opened the distillery for visitors. Our clients and anyone interested can come here and learn about the product. It’s a unique opportunity for many people from the industry to see a distillery.

We organize food and beverage training, private events, cocktail workshops and so on. The distillery is also open for visits Monday to Saturday, from 4pm to 6pm.

Who is your target group and where can we buy your product?

ML:
Our rum is a nice souvenir for tourists – it’s local, it’s high quality and it’s truly a mix of two heritages, the tradition of Thai sugarcane of Thailand, and the distillation heritage of France at the same time.

But our market is first of all Thailand, both Thais and foreigners. We’re happy to offer something that is a little different, yet goes well with the tropical spirit of the place. Chalong Bay Rum is available at the distillery and in a few outlets around the island, mostly wine shops. In most 5 star resorts and hotels, you can enjoy Chalong Bay cocktails.

What are your prospects for the future?

ML
: The idea we have is to stay traditional. We merge traditions, history and heritage. We fill in the bottles by hands, we cap them by hands, seal them by hands and personally stick the labels on the bottles.

TS:
We want to establish Chalong Bay as one of the main brands of natural rum. On a short run it’s not our goal to end up in supermarkets but in the long run we’ll have to be available wherever other products from the same category are available. It is a long term project and long term strategy of product introduction into the market. We just started nine months ago and we’re looking at a 5 to 10 year perspective. But it’s looking good.. We talk to people who are tasting our product and the feedback is very positive.

Sounds like a lot of work, how do you divide it?

TS:
I take care of the engineering side of things. I grew up in a wine estate with pipes and tanks around me. It’s all liquid management and I know how to do it. But I’m also responsible for distribution, sales, promotion, and marketing. I’m involved in the production too, as it takes a lot of time so we have to divide the responsibilities.

ML:
I’m passionate about biochemistry and spend my time here in the distillery, taking care of production, sourcing, legal aspects, among other things. But we both work on marketing together. We founded Chalong Bay together and we dedicate all of our souls, bodies, love and attention to this idea. It is the passion and faith in the project that keeps us going.

Keep checking the Gazette’s — Maciek Klimowicz

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading

Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

Published

on

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism4 days ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | The Thaiger
Phuket5 days ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism2 weeks ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | The Thaiger
Tourism2 weeks ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending