November 24, 2022 | 12:00am
Usually, when a world-class spirits company holds an event to celebrate modern-day “mavericks,” it turns out to be tied in with influencers, DJs or fashionistas.
Not so with Glenfiddich, the legacy whisky brand that is holding an Asia-wide search for people, young and old, who make a difference to their local environments, and possibly the world.
The whisky maker, which happens to be “the World’s Most Awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky,” rolled out its “Where Next?” campaign in the Philippines at a fitting venue: the castle-like environs of 8 Century Events & Catering, with its Spanish stone courtyard and vaulted chambers more than passing for a Scottish distillery.
There, Regional Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich in SEA Brett Bayly and Issa Litton led a spirited Q&A (over excellent whisky cocktails, of course) with four “mavericks” with big ideas: Gil Bien, a production designer, artist and innovator who created Cuboid, a budget-friendly, easy-constructed, typhoon-resilient house design for Filipinos; Ma. Leonelle De Leon-Sandoval, founder of the startup EveGrocer which reinforces sustainability in daily consumption habits to cut down on plastic; Reginald Phelps Laguna, whose Cleenvent offers an energy-based technology for cleaner air regulation with starter household kits; and Bernadette De Los Santos, an artist, environmentalist and farmer whose Bidibidi Enterprises takes organic waste (grass) and transforms it into woven products that benefit women artisans in communities.
Each of the four Mavericks represent a Filipino value — respectively, bayanihan, diskarte, aruga, and likha at katha.
Through this local leg of the campaign, Glenfiddich hopes to ignite the Filipino “Maverick” spirit, inspiring breakthroughs that could help the planet.
The whisky’s “Where Next?” campaign, rather than focusing on style, champions substance: “Those who embody the changemaker spirit, everyday people who are courageous enough to challenge themselves to forge their own paths, creating change even if the odds are against them,” says Bayly.
Production designer Bien integrated “Curvilinear forms” intro his housing design, a secure form that allows for rigidity, durability, wind dispersal and load distribution. The Cuboid looks expensive, but he says “it’s categorized as affordable housing.” Starting around P1 million for a house, it’s also an investment in typhoon-proof housing.
Leon-Sandoval’s Evegrocer is a zero-waste initiative where customers buy eco-friendly products and farm-to-table meals in reusable containers that are then returned for the next delivery. She’s looking to “expand the service to different regions, and we are inviting Greentech sustainable fashion” to partner with them.
Phelps hopes Cleenvent’s Solar Powered Exhaust innovation will help solve Filipinos’ air-ventilation problems in small dwellings with few windows, cutting down on allergies and airborne diseases from air pollution build-up. “It’s really DIY,’’ he says, “very easy to install as long as you have a space, whether a wall or ceiling or attic.’’
De Los Santos’ hometown of Baao in the Bicol region was once the capital of embroidery; she wants to bring it back by recycling different types of grass — instead of burning or composting — and she’s since partnered with Kultura and the Department of Trade and Industry to expand the practive and give livelihood to many women. “We’re researching vetiver grass next, which is bushy and grows fast, and can be made into fabric-woven materials.’’
The Glenfiddich initiative will wrap up with a final event, recognizing the top Maverick whose idea is most sustainable, valuable, and groundbreaking to break into the world. It’s well worth raising a toast.
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Follow Glenfiddich on Instagram (@glenfiddichsea).
It’s how you say ‘Tequila’
From 60 hands to your hands, Patrón Tequila is a very special product, from its original source of the blue agave, the “corazon” of fine tequila, cultivated in Mexico for six to eight years, cooked in traditional clay pots, milled and crushed (between non-volcanic rocks) to extract the essential flavors, then fermented through a double-distillation process. Next is aging, up to three years, before it’s bottled and reaches your hands. And that’s a very spirited journey, indeed. They recently celebrated Dia De Muertos (Day of the Dead) on Nov. 2 at La Vie En Rose here in Manila, showing off the beautifully labeled, hand-corked bottles — and I celebrated with a bottle of my own. Also try Patrón Reposado (aged in French oak) and Patrón Anejo (sweeter, also aged in French oak).