Macau, one of the hottest tourist destinations in Asia and a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, attracts tourists from all over the world daily. Its lively atmosphere and rich cultural heritage are always a treat for visitors, who can savor the city’s famous cuisine and various beverages. However, most of the wine and spirits consumed in Macau come from abroad, with few local options available.
Owl Man Distillery, Macau’s first gin producer, was founded by Rebeca McAulay and her husband last October. The idea came during the pandemic shutdown.
“I was born in Brazil and came to Macau to study when I was 17. I fell in love with this city and decided to settle down here after graduation. My husband has been brewing his craft beer for years, and during the pandemic, we decided to take our passion for brewing to the next level by setting up Owl Man Distillery,” said McAulay.
Owl Man Distillery officially launched operations in October 2022, offering three sizes of bottled gin: a 500 ml bottle, a 100 ml bottle and a 50 ml bottle for bars, restaurants and hotel rooms. The gin is made using traditional gin distillation methods combined with a Macau twist. “Owl Man” is named after the Putonghua pronunciation of Macau (Ao Men), emphasizing its local origin.
The SME quickly gained recognition for its locally produced gin. The company’s unique product offering caught the eye of Sands China, which reached out to the brewery earlier this year to collaborate on a limited-edition gin for The Londoner Macao.
It was designed to showcase the best of Macau gin-making traditions while adding a contemporary twist. The gin features ingredients such as traditional Chinese herbs and tropical fruits, infused into a neutral gin base. For the design of the bottle, Owl Man proposed several ideas, with Sands China selecting and further developing one which was based on The Londoner Macao’s unique elements and the Chinese Zodiac Rabbit design. As a collector’s item, the limited-edition bottle and its design pay tribute to Macau’s rich cultural heritage.
As the largest integrated resort operator in Macau, Sands China is always actively seeking local partners to add unique experiences for its guests. This partnership with Owl Man Distillery is an example of their effort to diversify their product offering and showcase the best of Macau.
“We are excited to collaborate with Owl Man Distillery, as their commitment to quality and innovation aligns with our own goals in the integrated resort industry,” said Rachel Zheng, Senior Manager of Procurement & Supply Chain at Sands China.
In recent years, gin has become increasingly popular in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, which has led to a rise in the demand for gin among tourists, and therefore Sands China has been actively introducing unique and felicitous wine products to provide more diversified choices for its guests, according to Zheng.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Sands China, as it allows us to share our craft with a larger audience,” said McAulay.
She recalled that collaborating with Sands China has not only improved the gin’s quality but also provided her company with exposure to new printing techniques and packaging design in meeting Sands China’s procurement and quality standards. McAulay also mentioned that they have learned from the international purchasing process and have been able to participate in events such as Sands China’s Macao Showcase event in Singapore in June, which has helped promote their gin brand.
Currently, Owl Man Distillery has started to solidify its collaboration with Sands China and has been actively exploring opportunities with other hotel operators and large businesses. McAulay added that they are also constantly innovating new products such as cocktails and whisky and plan to expand their production capacity in the future.
Sands China commented that Owl Man Distillery has earned the trust of its customers with its locally produced specialty products and flexible service.
With the recovery in tourist numbers since the opening of the border at the beginning of the year, Sands China expects to work with local suppliers to develop more locally made products with Macau characteristics to meet the needs of tourists, and believes there is room for greater cooperation with Owl Man Distillery in the future. Sands China is committed to promoting the development of local businesses and welcomes new companies and emerging brands to reach out and introduce their services or products to facilitate cooperation.