The Future 50 is a new initiative created by WSET and IWSC to select 50 future influencers of the global drinks industry. Find out more and view the final list here.
Victoria Chow is the founder of Hong Kong cocktail bar and lifestyle brand The Woods, a trailblazer for the artisanal cocktail and spirits scene in the region. She now focuses on consulting, teaching, and producing digital content for her site Sip Straight.
What do you do?
I previously owned a ran a cocktail bar called The Woods. We have since pivoted to specializing in pop-up bar events, consulting for bars, restaurants and hospitality groups on their drinks offering, and teaching workshops on spirits and cocktails.
How was your work affected by the coronavirus outbreak?
A lot of new bar/restaurant openings that I consult on were put on hold, the pop-ups and events had to take a hiatus, and in-person workshops could no longer be conducted.
I consider myself lucky in the sense that I no longer have a physical bar where I have to pay exorbitant rent not only during the time of the virus, but also the social unrest in Hong Kong over the past 8 months.
How did you spend your time during the lockdown?
Developing an online format for my spirits/cocktail workshops where I sent out tasting kits and host my classes on Zoom, writing drink articles for a magazine, and working with drink brands to produce digital content! I have also been working on a delivery canned cocktail initiative to support the bars in Hong Kong heavily impacted by the coronavirus.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Every time someone comes away from one of my classes and thanks me for changing the way they look at and understand spirits.
Have you got any particular ambitions or plans in motion?
I'm working on a book and a syllabus for teaching about spirits. I’m also looking forward to seeing my consulting projects come into fruition after the pandemic blows over (hopefully sooner rather than later).
What excites you in the drinks industry right now?
There is so much room for consumers to grow and to better understand and appreciate the world of spirits. It's exciting that we all have so much to learn still.
What’s been your standout drink of the past year?
Always hard to choose, but 2020 is the year that all the best cocktails are now available for home delivery!
Do you have any advice for people starting out in the drinks industry?
This applies for every industry - but never stop learning and improving yourself! Read, ask questions, and never let your thirst for knowledge go.
Do you have any updates since you won the Future 50 award last year?
Yes - the launch of my new website focusing on digital content and e-commerce at www.sipstraight.com