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China market entry: Interview with Bob Louison

Bob Louison started his career as a bartender in Paris, but gained fame in London. Working in the best night clubs in Paris and Ibiza, he became one of the most famous modern mixologists and bartenders because of his great cocktail recipes and his talents in the art of “flaring”.
In 2008, Bob opened “Spirit It,” a company that specializes in bar consulting, events, and brand building. He worked with people from many cities in China (Beijing-Tianjin-Qingdao-Shanghai-Guanzhou), Hong-Kong, Taiwan (Taichung-Taipei) , South-Korea (Seoul), Japan (Nagoya-Osaka-Tokyo), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Indonesia (Bali), Russia (Moscow), France (Paris). His classes are given in both English and Chinese.

What brought you to China?

My dream was to come to Asia since I was kid. I chose to come to China in 2008 because of the Olympics.

What’s your story before China?

You can find my resume on my website

You are working in the field of cocktails and bars, what was the biggest surprise when arriving in China?

That the market was so raw and open as not many bars knew how to make proper cocktails at that time, but now it has developed so much!

What would you suggest for someone who wants to open a bar in China? In Beijing? In Shanghai?

Unless you are Chinese, don’t open a bar in China. It is too much of a headache, there is a hassle with paper policy, you need a Chinese partner, and you need a Chinese person who knows the politics of the country otherwise the police will give you so many problems and close down your bar. My honest opinion. Just open o favor? Mojito classic, and anything with sweet flavor. Forget about sour tastes. Most Chinese people hate it.

Which cocktails do Chinese people not like?

Like I said sour cocktails are really the worst appreciated.

When are you in China to give some classes ?

I will be in China from February 27 till March 17 or 24. I will teach many students for private classes and do a cocktail class on March 8.

Which services can you offer for hotels? For companies ? Individuals ?

Bar consulting, training of the bar staff, creation of a cocktail list and bar set up.

For companies, organizing cocktail events for them or a cocktail class for employee networking.

Individuals in China? Bartending training for beginner to very advanced levels whether it’s for fun or to get very high level knowledge and skills.

What’s your view on the market of alcohol in China?

It’s very limited in terms of choices and availability. I wish that there were more products available on the market because it’s too limited for bartenders.


Interviewed by Matthieu David from Daxue Consulting China and from Zhongguo-Wine; Daxue Consulting China Market Entry

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