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Chinese brandy Koya launches in the UK

High-end Chinese brandy Koya, produced by China’s oldest wine and spirits maker, Changyu, is launching in the UK this month through drinks distributor Bibendum.

Koya brand ambassador Frank Kämmer MS cradles the XO expression

Sales and marketing of the VSOP and XO expressions will be overseen by Changyu’s chief winemaker, Lenz Moser, and Koya brand ambassador Frank Kämmer MS.

Koya was founded in Yantai, Shandong province, in 1892, making it China’s oldest brandy producer.

In 1915 Changyu was awarded a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific World Expo in San Francisco for its eau-de-vie, and soon after enjoyed international recognition for its brandy. The spirit has been served at numerous state banquets, and is a popular gift in diplomatic circles.

The Koya range is produced at a state- of-the-art château bearing its name – a €26 million (£23.5m) project Changyu embarked upon in 2012. The property is located on the Shandong peninsula, and is surrounded by the East China Sea.

Its moderate maritime climate and calcium-rich soils provide favourable conditions for growing the Ugni Blanc grapes that are used in the production of the brandies.

In charge of maintaining the Koya house style is master distiller Zhang Baochun, who is respected in China for the brandy expertise she has amassed over 30 years.

According to Kämmer, Koya VSOP, which is aged for six years, is floral and fruity in style, and offers notes of candied apricot, quince, white nougat, raisins, fresh vanilla, orange zest and tropical fruit.

The XO, meanwhile, which is aged for a decade, is sweet and smooth, offering aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, roast almonds, caramelised figs and dried yellow plums.

In the UK the brandies will be aimed at the high-end on-trade and independent merchants with the VSOP priced at £60 a bottle.

“Koya has been making its own expressions of Brandy since 1892, playing in the premier league of eau de vie worldwide, and now we are excited to be making our way to international markets in 2021,” Kämmer said.

“Across the brandies in the range Koya offers a unique profile and provides an excellent opportunity for Cognac fans to branch out and try something different without having to comprise on quality,” he added.

Koya is a market leader in China, accounting for 96% of Chinese brandy sales in the country.

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