Meet Yatbui, Hong Kong’s Answer to Making Wine Fun Again
August 29, 2022
When was the last time you enjoyed a Malbec and didn’t feel judged about what year you were drinking? Scared of picking a glass of Chardonnay at a restaurant filled with 10 different identical options, and with the waiter gleaning your careful decision? Or alienated by the cost of a simple glass of Zinfandel for a lunch meal?
New youthful wine company Yatbui is here to shake up an industry known of its ostentation, inaccessibility, and correspondence with fine dining in Asia’s wine capital, and plainly: make drinking wine fun again.
Co-founded by former Yardbird beverage director, Elliot Faber, and wine guru and sommelier, Brett Gross, Yatbui aims to capture a left-of-field market for the wine drinkers formerly dismissed in Hong Kong’s fancy wine world: a space for the thoughtful curation of fun, cheeky, historic, and accessible wines, and a hub for content, events, and parties.
“I've been passionate about removing the pretentiousness and inaccessibility to the wide world of wine; I have fought to show people a world outside the Grand Crus of Bordeaux and Burgundy,” Elliot said to The Beat Asia. “With that in mind, the team at Sunday's Distribution and I thought it was about time to do something different. It's time to celebrate the makers and regions who champion modern winemaking in a fun, relevant, and sometimes cheeky, way!"
“Hong Kong is a thriving hub of culture and excitement, and arguably the wine capital of Asia, but for some reason, wine culture seems restricted to private clubs and Michelin-starred restaurants. We are not interested in bowties or white tablecloths, but in interesting, delicious wines served up with a dose of fun,” Brett said.
Named from the Cantonese of “one cup,” 一杯 (yat1 bui1), one drink is never enough of wine, as Elliot and Brett say.
With the collection of insatiable, hard-to-put-down, more-than-one-cup wines, Elliot and Brett worked to challenge the market and feed a youthful F&B market with an online space curating a selection of boutique wine producers dotted all over the world.
“We have been importing a wide variety of unique, small-batch wine and spirits from across the world to supply to bars & restaurants, but never before have these products been available directly to the consumer. We have curated a list of products that suits every palate - from classic, fine wine, to the most weird and wonderful drinks you can imagine.”
Yatbui sells a range of independent vineyard wines from HK$140 and up: Australia Shiraz, French brut, American Syrah, Italian Etna Rosso, and beyond. The Yatbui philosophy is such that diversity is presented through different products, styles, and locations, not bound by one place, philosophy, or direction.
“We look for products that are making waves overseas and do whatever we can to get them in Hong Kong. Our products are mostly what other retailers would consider "too hard to sell" - meaning - not-big-name producers, eclectic varieties and under-the-radar spirits. We bring it all together to create a booze collection for people wanting something different.”
What is Yatbui’s hope in driving wine in a friendlier direction in Hong Kong’s everchanging F&B scene? Brett answered: “We want to be the first-place people think of when they want to drink interesting. We plan to do that by getting in people's faces, hosting parties, events, collabs - anything we can do to keep wine culture fun, relaxed and relevant.”
To drive up support for their eclectic collection, Yatbui has launched the “Yatbui Bottle Club,” a one-up or monthly subscription to receive three or six packs of a constantly changing selection of fine wines to sip at the moment. The three-pack (HK$800) contains one each of red, white, and sparkling wine, whilst the six-pack holds two whites, two reds, a sparkling wine, and one surprise. Tasting notes are included, with information on each wine, dispatched each month on or around the 15th.
“Drinking is meant to be convivial, fun, social and engaging. Discover top-shelf booze [with Yatbui] amongst good food, friends and music. Buy, learn, party, drink - bottle after bottle, glass after glass,” Elliot said.
To celebrate the launch of Yatbui and all things of fun wine, Yatbui partnered up with The Beat Asia to give readers a 10% discount on all wine purchases (except the Yatbui Bottle Club) on their website using the code THEBEAT10.
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