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Inside Metagroup’s growth mindset

Roger Chan, chairman of Metagroup, a DB award-winning importer and distributor with offices across major Asian cities, reveals his insights into the burgeoning potential of the region’s market.

Inside Metagroup's growth mindset

The Asian market has seen a slower return to normal following the Covid-19 pandemic, but beyond showing courage in the face of adversity, drinks businesses have demonstrated innovation too.

The compound annual growth rate of the Asia Pacific spirits market is predicted to be 5.4%between 2022 and 2027, and global players have recognised the region’s potential, with growth in Asia changing the way companies operate.

“No longer can brands rely solely on global campaigns. There is an absolute need to localise messaging and propositions,” says Roger Chan, chairman of Metagroup, a business at the helm of this growth. Chan saw opportunities where many saw challenges, founding digital marketing agency Hindsight Creative and export management firm Eclipse Beverages in 2020, at the height of the pandemic.

Since then, the multifaceted brand distributor and management business has led by example, and racked up awards.

Chan won this year’s Lifetime Achievement accolade at the DB Asian Awards this year, and Metagroup was crowned Best Drinks Company.

“Being recognised by the drinks business proves the powerful merit in one of our key values: building our business around people,” Chan says. “I would hope my work has just begun.”

The company chairman foresees more of a focus on local products in Asia, with consumers consciously supporting domestic brands. Broadly speaking, Asian consumers are willing and ready to try new products, “but they are certainly not naïve”, he warns. Younger generations, with increased disposable incomes, are driving and diversifying the market.

Japanese whisky demand is outstripping supply, and Taiwanese distilleries are winning top awards. Sake and other low-ABV drinks are particularly popular with young consumers, and Metagroup is investing in ‘World Whisk(e)y’, piquing the interest of
“open-minded discerning drinkers”. Demand for Soju is anticipated to rise at a considerable rate. Sake sales are also increasing globally, with exports from Japan more than doubling in volume from 2012 to 2022. Studies have also revealed that China may surpass the US in alcohol intake per capita by 2030.

Big brands are making the most of this trend, and global spirits players are partnering with local Chinese distilleries to build stronger brand awareness among local consumers. In response, Metagroup is “actively collating rare, niche beverage
brands” to meet demand.

Metagroup is focused on driving value, brand presence and growth in traditional beverage categories, with partners who are “looking at Asia as a long-term plan”.

Metagroup continues to expand, with new offices opening in London and Japan this year to continue “raising the bar of the drinks business in Asia”, by drawing on large and complex markets with high barriers to entry.

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