LIFESTYLE People

漫談雞尾酒裡的東方風味Finding the Oriental Flavor in Cocktails | WAT創辦人趙欣榮Royal Chao

這是一場橫跨時空的對話,而他是從工匠眼裡看世界的人,身處於上海的WAT創辦人趙欣榮Royal,娓娓講述起2019年底創辦WAT品牌的初心。從平價中追求高端奢華,尋找雞尾酒裡的東方風味,他的野心很明顯,著手將WAT品牌推上國際視野,引領雞尾酒食尚。

TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang

This is a conversation across time and space with someone who sees the world through the eyes of an artisan. He is Royal Chao, the founder of WAT Cocktail. Through our virtual interview, he unravels the story of his brand that was established in 2019. Seeking high-end luxury through normal goods and finding the oriental flavors in cocktails, Royal’s motive is clear: to introduce WAT to the global market and establish the leading fashion of cocktails.

調酒藝術 職人精神

飲酒年齡超過20年,從威士忌到雞尾酒,創辦WAT的初衷很簡單,喜歡飲酒也懂酒,他開始思考如何將雞尾酒市場大眾化?

今年四十不惑的他,學生時期就讀商科,畢業後做過創投、經營過公司、投資金融商務等等,分水嶺是三年前把上一個公司賣掉之後,他整合了資源與人脈,結合獨到的商業頭腦,提供舞台讓調酒職人發揮所長,他自喻每個工匠都是畢卡索,而他只不過提供一個畫室,讓其工匠們盡情地自由創作。

講起連結人與酒的社交場域「酒吧」,WAT致力於打破框架讓空間體驗不再是單一面向,將潮流與酒結合,引領消費者口味,讓消費者客製化屬於自己的酒,之於Royal眼中回到門店裡,透過與不同調酒職人對話,讓他擁有不一樣的創新與啟發,最終將其整合帶給消費者快樂的泉源,是他工作的使命與原動力,也是他保持年少感的浪漫法則。

打破框架 自由無限

都說創業是0到1的突破,很難想像蘇東波這一句「醉飽高眠真事業,此生有味在三餘」著名的詩詞,竟是從一口流利的ABC講出來的,也是他將興趣延伸成事業最佳的詮釋。初聽WAT品牌宣言,很多人會覺得這酒真文藝,仔細一品瓶裝雞尾酒開始,你會發現兩年時間裡,WAT迅速走入大眾視野,其品牌標榜的新世代精神「So WAT,Be Yourself 不再需要墨守成規,你可以做自己」,它販賣更多是一種飲酒體驗與個性化自我,年輕不再是數字,而是一種生活態度。

將在地生活中的食材帶入到雞尾酒里,不久前台中勤美剛開幕的新店,WAT品牌創意長邱文駿Jun以辣椒醬入酒,推出台中限定口味「辣芒果雞尾酒」;如今剛插旗在上海,擁有旋轉吧檯新門店,其中「杭菊烏梅雞尾酒」裡更以貴州茅台酒為基酒,正推動著雞尾酒亞洲化的Royal淡淡地說起,WAT品牌複製性是高的,在不同城市玩出在地風味,根據當地環境進行設計,門店體驗才有其價值。

扎根台灣 放眼亞洲

關於理想生活,他坦言近幾年最開心的一件事情,是打造了WAT品牌的潮流飲酒文化。「我的人生一直以來都在一個循規蹈矩的規劃中,很慶幸地從對話自我中找到為何與突破。」而工作與生活,他還在找尋一個平衡,身為創辦人無時不刻在想著工作,當然朋友、家人、運動、規律的生活,他一個也沒有落下。

「創業沒有半吊子,只有ALL IN。」或許時間的沈澱,他期許自己能夠持續在對的道路上,突破挑戰,帶領WAT雞尾酒引領亞洲新食尚,立足台灣,佈局全亞洲。如今台北南西店即將營業,台灣地區品牌代言人持修正式官宣,將茶酒新口味推陳出新,打造一種生活方式的嚮往,做最好玩好喝時尚的酒品牌,採訪之中你會不斷聽到他反覆低喃著「大人的飲料店,喝酒的遊樂園」仿若他創立WAT品牌的初心。

持修不按牌理出牌、不自我設限等人格特質,與WAT的品牌精神不謀而合。

Art of Bartending
Going from whiskey to cocktails through his 20 years of drinking, Royal’s inspiration to start WAT is simple. Since he likes to drink and understands the art of cocktails, how can he popularize the cocktail market? Arriving at the age of 40 this year, he studied business back in college and did venture capital and financial investments after graduation. The turning point was three years ago when he sold his company and gathered his resources and network in combination with a business model that offered a platform for bartenders to use their talents. Royal saw each artisan as Picasso, while he simply provided a studio for them to create freely. Speaking of “bar” as being the social connection between people and alcohol, he aspires for WAT to break convention and create a venue that is multifunctional. It is a place that mixes trends with drinks, satisfies every customer’s needs and allows them to customize their own go-to drinks. Through conversations with different professional bartenders, Royal is able to be innovative and creative. In the end, by bringing all the aspects together, he sees his customer’s happiness as his motivation and the key to maintaining a youthful mindset.

Breaking Conventions
Some say entrepreneurship is about taking that small step to go from zero to one. Chinese poet Su Dongpo once wrote a poem about turning life’s fun and indulgences into a business. While it was surprising that Royal quoted from a classic Song poem, considering that he spent most of his time abroad, the poem perfectly describes how he turned his own interests into a business. A lot of people’s first impression of WAT is that it’s a brand with distinctive aesthetic. As you look closely at these bottled cocktails, you’ll realize WAT had quickly entered the public’s eye in just two years. With the motto “So WAT, Be Yourself,” the brand sells a drinking experience that is personalized. Youth is no longer just about the numbers, but a lifestyle. Recently opened a new location at Parklane in Taichung, WAT’s creative director Jun decides to incorporate local ingredients into the cocktail and introduces a Taichung-exclusive, chili-based Chili Mango Cocktail. Meanwhile, at another new location, the Shanghai store not only has a rotating bar, but also serves the Maotai-based Chrysanthemum Smoked Plum Cocktail. Actively promoting Asian flavored cocktails, Royal understands WAT is a brand that seems easily duplicable. However, it is special because it comes up with new flavors according to the location. By designing the store and the drinks geographically, the physical experience becomes invaluable.

A Global Vision
When asked about his ideal life, Royal admits that one of the best things that happened in the past few years is establishing this new drinking culture of WAT. “My life had always been well-planned, so I’m glad I was able to break the routine in this process of self-reflection.” He is still trying to find the balance between work and life. As the founder of the brand, he finds himself constantly thinking about his career. At the same time, he delegates his time for his family, friends and workouts to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “You don’t do entrepreneurship half-heartedly. You have to go all-in.” Given the time to think about the future, Royal aspires to continue on this journey in order to make WAT the brand that defines Asian culinary trend and really expand it to a global scale. With another new location opening—the Nanjing West Road one—WAT will soon be announcing its brand ambassador for the Taiwan area at the end of July and introduce new flavors for its tea cocktails. An establishment of the ideal lifestyle, WAT is becoming a brand that is tasteful, fun and fashionable. Just like how Royal reiterates throughout the interview— “It is a beverage store for adults, a carnival for drinking”—perhaps this is the perfect manifestation of the story of WAT.

發表迴響

%d 位部落客按了讚: