Philippine products such as muscovado sugar and coconut sugar nectar are figuring prominently in a New Zealand winery, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
In a news release, the DFA said the Waiwera Organic Winery production facility will produce rum using Philippine Muscovado sugar and beer.
The facility will also make chocolate liqueur using Philippine coconut sugar nectar, it added
"(It) will make rum in 200-liter batches and has already signed an agreement with a Philippine company to import 20 tons of muscovado sugar monthly to be used in rum production. Philippine coconut sugar nectar will be used as a sweetener for beer, chocolate liqueur, and chocolates containing chocolate liqueur," the DFA said.
Philippine Ambassador Virginia Benavidez, Minister Marcos Punsalang, New Zealand-Philippine Business Council (NZPBC) Directors Paolo Garcia and Rene Pascual and Council of Auckland Pilipino Organizations (CAPO) President Virginia Russel visited the facility last Nov. 8 upon the invitation of its director Alex Kirichuk in Silverdale, Auckland.
Kirichuk had presented a bottle of rum and a bottle of wine to President Benigno Aquino III at a business forum during Aquino's state visit to New Zealand last Oct. 22 and 23.
This time, Kirichuk showed Benavidez and the group the mixing and fermentation vats and other technology used to make rum and vodka.
Also, Kirichuk expressed interest to further explore business opportunities in the Philippines.
The DFA said the products he would like to import include activated carbon made from Philippine coconut shells, Philippine coffee, and cocoa.
Kirichuk was particularly interested in the activated carbon made from Philippine coconut shells, which he claims is one of the finest in the world for filtering gin.
For her part, Benavidez reiterated her appreciation for Kirichuk’s interest in using Philippijne products and promised to assist in connecting him with the right Philippine suppliers.
“The networking with Waiwera Organic Winery and the opportunities and prospects for using recognized Philippine ingredients to make fine rum and high end wines for selected markets will definitely open doors for greater partnership and lead to mutually beneficial business ties,” Benavidez said. — ELR, GMA News