Mekhong, The Spirit of Thailand, Receives Friendly Welcome in the U.S.



— Mekhong’s Mix-ability Opens Up An Exotic New World of Alluring and
Inviting Cocktails for American Market —

NEW YORK, April 28, 2008 – American consumers are about to discover an exotic spirit that is like no other in Mekhong, a premium golden spirit that International Beverage Holdings Ltd, USA (IBHL USA) is importing from Thailand.

Mekhong is a unique, premium blended and distilled Thai spirit made
mostly from sugar cane and rice and infused with a special blend of
indigenous Thai herbs and spices. The highly secret Mekhong recipe was developed to complement the taste and flavor of Thai food and delivers a distinctively rounder texture, delightful aroma and a smooth and more balanced taste than most golden spirits.

At 35% alcohol by volume, the product’s smooth mixability makes Mekhong an ideal spirit for fascinating and flavorful cocktails. Mekhong is a complex and well balanced blended and distilled spirit with a golden, dark amber and reddish copper appearance. Its flavor and aroma are both spicy and sweet with hints of ginger, honey, toffee, vanilla, floral, herbs and citrus.

Mekhong is poised to take advantage of the resurging “cocktail culture” in America that is looking for fun and interesting new flavored
cocktails. Mekhong is nice and smooth straight but mixes extremely well in a wide variety of cocktails.

IBHL USA hired Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmas and their mixology team at New York’s Employees Only and Cocktail Conceptions, one of Manhattan’s finest team of cocktail artists, to create a menu of signature Mekhong cocktails for the U.S. market that capture the seductive, friendly and welcoming persona for which Thailand is renowned.

Using a variety of ingredients well known in the tropics of Southeast
Asia, such as fresh ginger root, sweet Thai basil, fresh limes, coconut,
lemongrass and pomegranate, to name a few, the Employees Only team created 13 new delicious Mekhong cocktails. Kosmas and Zaric believe that these new Mekhong cocktails are destined to be very popular among consumers looking to explore new cultures, especially the growing interest in everything Thai, and those who enjoy the experimentation of new drinks.

They confess that the Sabai Sabai, the “Thai welcome drink, popular for more than a decade at Thailand’s famed upscale and pristine beach
resorts,” is a strong contender to compete with mojitos and margaritas. Sabai literally translates from Thai as happy, but is actually closer in meaning comfortable and relaxed or the feeling of being well. Sabai Sabai cocktail calls for 1.5 shots of Mekhong, 1.5 shots fresh squeezed lemon juice, .75 shot simple sugar syrup, finger pinch of sweet Thai basil and club soda.

Among other fun and tasty Mekhong cocktails are the Mekhong Long-Tail, which combines Mekhong with lime juice, ginger ale (or ginger beer), Angostura Bitters and sliced lime wheels, the Thai-Foon, Mekhong mixed with coconut puree or cream, white Crème de Cacao and a touch of grated or ground nutmeg, and the Khing Khong, Mekhong and cola, which towers in taste over a traditional rum or bourbon and cola drinks. A full listing of Mekhong recipes and its history is available at the Mekhong Web site:
www.thespiritofthailand.com

IBHL USA President John Lennon is excited about taking advantage of the growing popularity in the U.S. market of vibrant international specialty spirits. He notes a recent quote from Chef John Kinsella, CMC, CCE, AAC, president of the American Culinary Federation, who commented on a recent National Restaurant Association survey and said, "Specialty alcohol is a very hot trend." Lennon likens Mekhong to other national pride spirits in different parts of the world that have become popular specialty alcohol here in the U.S. “ Peru has its Pisco, Mexico its Tequila and Brazil its Cachaca. Mekhong, which has long been the pride of Thailand, will quickly find its place here in the U.S. and enjoyed by the American market,” said Lennon.

The recent surge of interest in the enchanting and exotic country of
Thailand bodes well for Mekhong’s launch in the U.S. Lennon points out a couple of examples in that Thai food is now a top ethnic food in the U.S. and that Thailand was recently named the “sexiest vacation spot on earth” in the recent issue of a popular men’s magazine.

“When it comes to spirits there is nothing more Thai than the iconic
Mekhong. A taste of Mekhong is truly enjoying a taste of Thailand, and
because of its flavor and finish it is the perfect complement to the spicy and sweet and sour flavor combinations of Thai and Asian food.”

Mekhong is distilled, blended and bottled at the Bangyikhan Distillery
on the outskirts of Bangkok. The brand is named after the mighty Mekhong River, which is derived from “Mae Nam”-Khong in Thai meaning “the mother of all waters” and has a long mystical history in Thailand and throughout Southeast Asia. Launched in 1941 as Thailand’s first domestically produced branded spirit, Mekhong quickly became the most popular brand in Thailand and still today is synonymous with Thai pride and patriotism.

Mekhong is made using a unique fermentation and triple distillation
process, but it is the blending process that makes Mekhong a
one-of-a-kind premium golden spirit. The final distilled spirit is mixed
with demineralized water and a decades-old highly secret recipe of
indigeous herbs and spices which are then combined and artfully blended over time in the “blender purse.” This is done in several traditional and symbolic stages related to the five natural elements: earth, water, air/wind, fire and aether (the mythical upper air that encompasses everything), which together gradually creates the unique golden, dark amber and reddish copper color, and mild, mellow taste and aroma of Mekhong.

Mekhong comes in a unique 750 ML international bottle taking its design inspiration from traditional Thai boating on the Mekhong River. A colorful red and gold ribbon is tied around the neck of each bottle. The ribbons are a symbol of good luck and are representative of the ones boaters tie around their vessels to ward off evil spirits as they travel the Mekhong River.

IBHL USA is backing the U.S. launch of Mekhong with a heavy marketing and promotional push for on-premise accounts centered on the 13 new Mekhong cocktail recipes. Colorful Mekhong POS materials are being used and launch events are being scheduled in New York and Los Angeles.

For more information about Mekhong, contact John Lennon, president of IBHL USA, 60 East 42nd Street, Suite 2134, New York, NY 10165, tel. 646-896-3807, and visit the Web site www.thespiritofthailand.com
to learn more about this authentic Thai imported spirit.

Mekhong Tasting Notes:

Description: premium blended and distilled complex and well balanced
Thai spirit

Appearance: golden, dark amber and reddish copper

Aroma: spicy, ginger, sweet, honey, toffee, vanilla, fragrant, floral,
lavender, citrus, lemons, leather, herbal

Flavor: sweet, smooth, full bodied, toffee, ginger, spicy, citrus,
lemons, grapefruit, chocolate, slight vanilla, slight leather

Finish: spicy, ginger, smooth, long lasting

About IBHL USA, Inc.:
IBHL USA is one of five global regional offices of International
Beverage Holdings Ltd., which has been established to be the
international arm of Asia’s leading drinks business, The Thai Beverage
Public Company Ltd (ThaiBev), headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand.
International Beverage Holdings Ltd. is responsible for the group’s
international development including the growth of a strong portfolio of
beverage alcohol brands encompassing spirits, beer and wine and other beverage categories in the international arena. The company exports brands to over 80 countries and operations are managed out of five regional offices located in the Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom and New York City.

ThaiBev was founded in October 2003 and owns 16 distilleries and three breweries. ThaiBev’s brands include Chang, Thailand’s No. 1 beer; Mekhong and Sangsom Rum both top-sellers in Thailand. ThaiBev was listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange in 2006 and has a market capitalization of US $4.6 billion.

Contact Information: USA - please contact John Eccleston, OpenGate
Marketing Communications – 845.353.2685 and john@opengatemarketing.com

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