A Homage to Jewels: How a Spirits Brand is Bringing the Precious Flavors of the Philippines to the World

Featuring a booth that is an ode to Filipino intricacies at the CEO Awards 2024, discover the story of SULÀ Spirits and how they are capturing the distinct flavors of the Philippines through ethical sourcing and natural ingredients

In a world where spirits and liqueurs often originate from far-flung corners of the globe, Mark Rivera, Vernon Carandang, and Ceazar Certeza came together and sought to create a brand that would pay homage to their Filipino heritage. Their brainchild, SULÀ Spirits (meaning “gem” in Tagalog), is more than just a brand—it’s a showcase of the precious flavors of the Philippines to the world featuring the country’s finest natural ingredients.

In September of 2023, the newly-launched spirits brand unveiled its distinct flavors in Rivera’s home country of Italy. In Venice, they debuted three flagship flavors: Coconut, Dark Chocolate, and Coffee. With a bevy of cocktails made from these naturally-extracted ingredients, SULÀ presented these once more at The Business Manual’s first CEO Awards 2024 held in Shangri-la at the Fort. Surrounded by prominent business leaders and tastemakers, the brand made a resounding statement with its booth’s captivating design and ethos.

At the CEO Awards 2024, business leaders relished SULÀ cocktails or savored their tropical liqueurs on the rocks

“Our concept for the booth is a minimalist take on prominent Filipino symbols and industries,” says SULÀ Spirits Co-Founder Carandang. “It’s a balance of local materials and highlighting the organic feel of our products.” In Bonifacio Hall, Rivera and Carandang’s masterpiece features cascading wood elements at the bar to represent the Banaue Rice Terraces. Its body is enclosed with abaca patterns and bartenders were outfitted in Barong Tagalog. 

Each bottle’s design is also as poetic as their co-founders who made sure that every detail symbolizes their roots: on the side is an embossed line-art map of the Philippines and waves that reach its shore. The colors for the bottles represent each ingredient. Also advocating for sustainability, the tall receptacles are meant to be reused once consumed.

The three flagship liqueur flavors of SULÀ: Chocolate, Coconut, and Coffee

In bringing forth their twists to well-known Filipino flavors to fellow business leaders and startups, Carandang recognizes how their brand can further position itself in the realm of exportation. He shares, “In the past, the Philippines enjoyed being the top country for coconut exports. However, in recent years, other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand, have surpassed us. We are now determined to reclaim our former glory by introducing the exquisite SULÀ Coconut liqueur.”

Unlike many other spirits in the market, SULÀ Spirits stands out by utilizing a unique extraction process rather than distillation. By using the pure extract of coconut, cacao, and coffee, without any added preservatives, they bring out the true essence of what they deem as tropical jewels. With flavors like chocolate from Davao and coffee from Benguet and Batangas, the spirits brand highlights the agricultural diversity that the Philippines has to offer.

To further emphasize SULÀ’s philosophy, Carandang says that their ethos is rooted in the connection between farmer and consumer. “It’s a journey from husk to heart.” For him and Rivera, the brand celebrates the hard work and dedication of Filipino farmers, offering a taste experience that captures the passion of the Filipino people and the natural abundance of their land.

The booth design of SULÀ takes cues from well-known Filipino symbols

For more information, visit SULÀ Spirit’s official website. Follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

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