INSIDER – TWO MOONS

Chai Wan-based gin distillery Two Moons is bringing local flavour to this popular spirit. Jetsetter meets founders Dimple Yuen and Ivan Chang.

GETTING IN THE HONG KONG SPIRIT

Two Moons has already garnered international recognition since it was established 18 months ago. Your Signature Dry Gin earned a Double Gold Award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021 and is the first Hong Kong gin to win Silver at the World Gin Awards 2020 in the London Dry Gin category. How does that feel?

Two Moons has already garnered international recognition since it was established 18 months ago. Your Signature Dry Gin earned a Double Gold Award at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021 and is the first Hong Kong gin to win Silver at the World Gin Awards 2020 in the London Dry Gin category. How does that feel?

You launched your second product, a calamansi gin, earlier this year. How did you come up with the idea for this flavour?

We’d gone to Yau Ma Tei to get our new gin still and went to a nearby restaurant for laksa. It’s usually served with lime, but here they served with calamansi. It was really powerful, and we started to consider if it would work as a gin. We found out that the calamansi was grown in the New Territories, and it seemed like fate. Hong Kong isn’t famous for agriculture, but there are a lot of farms now. We hope that our calamansi gin will help put great local produce on the map, and we’d like to work with other local farms.

You’ve also utilised local salt in your gin. Tell us about that

Yes, we did a limited edition calamansi gin that included a packet of salt harvested from a salt pan in Sai Kung. In Hong Kong, a lot of people drink salted lime soda, and salted 7UP and when we tried calamansi with tonic, it reminded me of those drinks. We added a pinch of salt, and found it went great. We couldn’t make too much of it, though, as it’s a very small salt farm with limited production. But this project showed us what great things we can do working with local suppliers.

The Two Moons distillery is based in Chai Wan. Tell us about it

There aren’t a lot of options for distillery spaces but from day one, we knew we wanted a space that could accommodate visitors, and that was based on Hong Kong Island. It’s a micro distillery really, as space is such a luxury in Hong Kong, so we have to think how to maximise our space. We’d like to get abigger space eventually, but it would probably be in the next three to five years.

You offer distillery tours. What do they cover?

Yes, we have a private tour that’s around 90 minutes long and you can see what happens behind the scenes – the distillation and the production – and meet Luna, our copper still. Everything is done by hand, including bottling and labelling. We only have six chairs so it’s very cosy and private. We talk guests through our story, introduce them to our different botanicals, then there’s a tasting session with craft tonics.

You currently have two gins. Are there plans to add more?

We’re always on the look-out for new and interesting flavours, but the question you need to ask yourself is, ‘Why are we creating this?’ So we’re never in a rush to create for the sake of it.

What do you like about being based in Hong Kong?

People work really hard here, and if you reach out to people any time of the day, you’re likely to get a reply. There’s this hard-working mentality, which is a really great thing, as it makes doing business so efficient. Importing ingredients is easy, too.

What challenges have you had to overcome so far?

Right after we launched, the pandemic hit, so we had to think on our feet and adapt to the changing environment, as everything we planned wasn’t applicable. This encouraged us to push through and be more resilient.

What are your plans?

There will be some pop-ups with local restaurants, including a gin pairing at Superhooman, a coffee shop in Tin Hau. We’ll continue to do more pop-ups to promote the calamansi launch and do seasonal launches around Mid-Autumn festival and Christmas. We’re aiming to be a leading distillery in Asia and now looking at the export market.

Which markets are you targeting?

Hopefully this year, we’ll be able to export to one or two other markets, maybe Taiwan and Singapore. The cocktail scene is very well developed in Taiwan and people love gin there. In the Philippines, they have their own take on gin, [80-proof Dutch-type gin made from sugarcane alcohol] ginebra and are the biggest consumers of gin in the world, so that’s another market to consider.

Where can you find Two Moons in Hong Kong?

Our two gins are available at bars including Dr Fern’s Gin Parlour and Skye Roofbar while bottles can be purchased at CitySuper and the Bottle Shop among other retailers. twomoonsdistillery.com

HK$320.00

PER YEAR

(including delivery)

Mainland China, Hong Kong & Macao

US$58.00

PER YEAR

(including delivery)

Asia, North America, Africa and Europe

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