Confirel salutes local heritage with bubbly palm wine

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Confirel commercial director Loic Martin. Photo supplied

Often regarded the poor man’s drink, Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine is set to raise the standing of palm wine as a quality tipple embodying Cambodian culture.

Confirel Co Ltd is aspiring to elevate the image and perception of palm wine culture with the introduction of Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine.

Long regarded the poor man’s alcoholic drink, palm wine has an effervescent and deep-rooted culture.

With pan-tropical appeal, palm wine is consumed by more than 10 million people in West Africa alone, and it has long been enjoyed across Asia, South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

“Introduced in early 2020, our Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine is an innovative alcoholic beverage meticulously created in Cambodia using the methode champenoise and the Kingdom’s very first sparkling wine made from palm sap.

“Although we have been involved in the manufacturing of palm spirits for more than 17 years – through our Jaya and Kirel brands offering three very distinctive flavours – Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine represents a concentrated effort by Confirel to further refine the process of traditional palm wine making into a fine art,” said Confirel’s commercial director Loic Martin.

Backed by a robust network of 200 farms certified organic in the cultivation of sugar palm trees and sap collection, Martin is confident Confirel has the capability to meet both domestic and international demand for its flagship alcoholic brand.

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Confirel’s 3,500sqm facility in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district. Photo supplied

Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine is made over a three-month period in our 3,500sqm factory located in Phnom Penh’s Por Sen Chey district.

“During the harvesting of palm sap from December to March – which coincides with the wine-making process – we are able to produce 4,000 bottles in each 750ml and 375ml variant.

“We export our Jaya and Kirel brands to traditional palm wine consumption markets such as Thailand, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries, as well as France and Germany, among others.

“We are looking to export Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine, and with the demand for sparkling palm wine expected to rise in the coming years, there are plans to expand our operations to double production next year,” Martin said.

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Deum thnot – the sugar palm tree in Khmer – is an important symbol of Cambodia’s national identity and heritage.

Sugar palm trees have been celebrated throughout the Kingdom’s history, dating back to the 9th century and the Khmer Empire and Angkorian civilisation.

Confirel was founded in 2001 to boost rural development and improve the of lives farmers through Cambodia’s main natural resources, in particular the sugar palm tree.

The idea of turning one of the nation’s symbols into products that embody the cultural identity of the people is deep rooted in the company’s philosophy.

And Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine is a perfect example of Confirel’s commitment to continuously bringing Cambodia’s rich culture and gifts of nature to the world.

In a country where alcohol consumption and GDP rise hand in hand, Thnot Sparking Mekong Wine offers local wine connoisseurs a unique taste with which to refresh their palates.

“All our products are made with quality and safety in mind, and Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine is no exception as all our sugar palm trees cultivated for sap production are certified organic and free from chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

“We also work closely with farmers to constantly improve the quality of the sap harvests, while at the same time identifying other locally grown crops such as mango and pineapple to be utilised for the future production of signature fruit wines,” said Martin.

So with Confirel at the forefront of propelling the culture of palm wine drinking in sparkling fashion – while highlighting the Kingdom’s rich heritage and improving farmers’ livelihoods – the age old perception of it as a poor man’s drink is being reinvented.

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Products are made with quality and safety in mind. Photo supplied

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Thnot Sparkling Mekong Wine is made over a three-month period. Photo supplied