Yann Triffe co-founder of Kosapan (Thailand)

Meet Yann Triffe co-founder of Kosapan.

Kosapan Yann Triffe

How did you go about creating Kosapan?

We were three partners, and we chose Thailand because we wanted to use the French art of distillation with Thai ingredients: spices, flowers, fruit and so on. We started with rum because there are large quantities of very good quality cane.

We set out to produce a rum with just one type of sugar cane and it took us almost 4 and a half years to find the right type of cane and develop our own fermentation and distillation process.

That’s probably why our rum is the only Thai white rum to have won the double gold medal in San Francisco in 2018. And it’s thanks to this rum that we’ve been able to diversify. We then developed other spirits: gin, cocoa, Thai mandarin, pandanus leaf, fresh jasmine flower…

And it was in homage to the historic and emblematic ambassador of the Kingdom of Siam to France (who had himself met Louis XIV) called “Kosapan”, that we decided to call ourselves that.

Is it complicated to work in Thailand?

As in all countries, Thailand has its own laws. The alcohol market is a sensitive industry, as it is in many countries. But it also presents a lot of opportunities, and the number of craft spirits has increased a lot in recent years.

The competition is healthy and it also allows us to challenge ourselves and improve. In my opinion, this is still a young country as far as craft spirits are concerned, and I think there are still a lot of great things to be done.

Who can produce alcohol in Thailand?

As long as a person or company obtains a licence to produce spirits, they can do so. They also need a licence to sell spirits. There are several types of licence authorising the production of alcohol in Thailand.

Each licence has its own conditions: in terms of capacity, production, number of employees, the type of al- cool that can be produced, and so on. To obtain a production licence, certain conditions must be met: a certain amount of capital, a location, a total capacity, or a maximum or minimum quantity, etc.

Today there are some excellent distilleries run by locals or foreigners. There are also local establishments that teach the art of distillation.



What type of licence do you have?

We currently have a small licence known as a “fermière” licence, which is designed for small producers of local spirits. This licence doesn’t allow us to call a rum or a gin by its own name, and we can’t make a coloured spirit locally. This is part of the local restrictions. On the other hand, we can export and this will allow us to do barrel ageing abroad.

Is there a buoyant market for rum?

Bangkok is one of the countries in the world where there are the most cocktail bars, and the quality of these establishments has developed considerably. I would venture to say that Bangkok has taken Singapore’s place in Asia and could soon overtake Hong Kong. This explains why there is such a strong demand for quality local spirits.

Today, Kosapan is best known on the local market: 5-star hotels, cocktail bars, Michelin-starred restaurants and so on. Michelin-starred restaurants… but finally, this year we should start to be present in Europe, but also in South-East Asia.

Where does the sugar cane used to produce your pure cane juice rum come from?

Today we only use a type of sugar cane specific to Thailand and South-East Asia. The sugar cane we use comes from small-scale organic farmers, with whom we’ve been working since the beginning of our project.

They are located within a very short radius of our distillery – to limit our carbon footprint. Above all, they share our values of fair trade and respect for the environment. That’s why we’ve been working with them from the start.

It’s a real partnership where we’re all working in the same direction: promoting local know-how. We’re also working with them to plant our own sugar cane.


What about distillation?

It’s done in an Copper pot still, a traditional copper still that comes from Europe, as does all our equipment. We work with small quantities and/or extract the maximum amount of flavour. From the outset, we have preferred quality and aromas to quantity. Today, all our spirits are distilled a minimum of two to three times, and some even more.

We also prefer slow fermentations to maximise the development of our aromas. The yeasts need to be able to work peacefully for several days, or even several weeks (which is why we control the temperatures of our slow fermentations). Then we keep all our alcohols for a minimum of three to six months to bring out their fullness, richness and deliciousness.

It has to be said that the know-how and experience of Jeremy Bricka, one of the founders of Domaine des Hautes Glaces, has helped us enormously. He is now part of the company and the project. We’re gradually putting things in place.

Read more : Kosapan distills Thai flora


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