Around The World: Fernet Hunter
While our roots are firmly Aussie, CAPI is growing internationally everyday. We're so proud of the spirits brands, bars, restaurants, hotels and - above all - the people we get to work with from all over the world.
Meet the Fernet Hunter team! Like their home country Hong Kong which balances city and nature so well, Fernet Hunter is a perfect mix of metropolitan chic and nature-led botanicals.... and it mixes perfectly with a CAPI soda or tonic. Read on to find out exactly how the team make their product and why it's so unique.
Would you mind giving a short introduction of yourself for the folks across Australia?
Fernet Hunter is a fresh take on a classic Italian bitter crafted from a select combination of botanicals handpicked during the hunting season and using recipes dating back to the early 1900’s. It was created by Raphael Holzer and Neville Kotewall – two friends who met in Hong Kong and who share a passion for quality food and drink. Both Raphael and Neville believe in the importance of craftsmanship and artisanal products and their place within food and beverage culture, which have become integral factors to the brands development. Fernet Hunter is made in Austria where Raphael is from and follows techniques passed from his great grandfather who helped relocate Fernet Stock from Trieste, Italy.
Tell us about Fernet Hunter? How is it made, how do you source the materials? What makes you guys a bit different from the rest?
To start with I think it's interesting to know that we refer to Fernet Hunter due to the herbs and spices being grown and dried during the hunting season. That Hunting Season is really built into the eco-system in my region and super important to keep that beautiful balance in the forest region I grew up in. We are super proud of our water and do have our own spring, something that is so crucial for alcohol production, fresh clean and amazing spring water right in the bottle. As far as the herbs go we have a wide variety just outside our door and work here with partners that are in charge of collecting and drying. Our Arnica comes just from across the border, Czech Republic still has wild Arnica montana, which we use for our Fernet Hunter. What surely differentiates us is our batch sizes and production method, that was passed down from my great grandfather, but this rotational infusion method just helps us to get this wonderful floral notes and light bitterness out the back.
What is your goal in what you do or what is the message you hope to get out?
The goal with our Spirits was to make a high quality Fernet style whilst balancing flavours more accustomed to all day consumption and of course able to hold its own in a cocktail. Our result is a versatile, light and fresh variation, perfect to drink whenever and wherever and have you coming back for more. For example, simply grabbing some Fernet Hunter and chilled CAPI Soda sets you up nicely for the whole day, your only risk is running out too quickly!
Another goal was to rebuild the families distillery, and have a space that our friends and partners can come to visit. Our message and focus is on real people and real drinks. Being able to share this is integral to everything we do so having a stage to present this effectively is crucial.
Anything new you guys working on that you can share with us?
We’ve actually been quite busy this year adding a new spirt to our range, Fernet Hunter Granit as well as an RTD of our signature serve, the Hunter Hi. Of course, we’d like to share these all with the rest of the world so we’re all about making that happen as soon as possible and Australia is certainly one of those places. We’ve also got a few more products in the pipeline that we’re hoping to get finalised by the end of the year so watch this space.
Besides ramping up production we’re collaborating with a few other like-minded folks event wise and always looking to tie in a sense of adventure to everything we do.
What do you love about living in HK?
It’s a magnificent balance between metropolis and nature. You can go for mountainous hike to a secluded beach in the morning and see nobody and then be at a happy hour at one of the worlds tallest bars in the afternoon before hitting the melee of Central until the early hours ending up at 7 Eleven for roadies! Its very much a 24 hour style lifestyle that creates a super positive energy.
We’re also very fortunate to have such a diverse centre of cultures, which really makes for an amazing F&B scene. Obviously the major influences coming from Cantonese cuisine and making us lucky to have some of the worlds cheapest Michelin Star meals.
Who are some local heroes or brands in HK or throughout the region that inspire you?
Honestly there are a bunch of heroes doing stupendous stuff here and that the list really could go on and on. Not only do we look at the bar and restaurant industry for inspiration, we have many concept stores, a fun surf and even snowboard scene here, along with all the other outdoor activities. All influences are very encouraging and motivating to be associated with.
To name but a few local heroes from an F&B perspective, COAs Jay Khan, Yardbird’s Matt Abergel, have been flying the flag for Hong Kong on an international level for a while now and have certainly helped us develop as a brand, which we’re extremely privileged and grateful for.
What are some of your favourite bars and restaurants in HK?
Again, this is seriously hard to just stop at a few names without doing justice to the all the fantastic venues in the city. In no particular order Yardbird, COA, Caprice, CHINO, Sake Central, 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana, RONIN, The Diplomat, Darkside, Stockton, The Old Man and Shady Acres
If you had to pick the signature late night had a few cocktails meal what would it be?
I have a speciality dish that Raph pretends to hate but secretly loves, it’s called Macho Nachos™. I always have a stash of homemade Chilli Con Carne in the freezer and avocados ready for guacamole for such an occasion.
If not at home, hitting up Chicken Hof & Soju or Ichiran for Ramen are absolute titans. Both are almost open 24 hours a day and are far superior late night offerings than in other parts of the world. So good in fact that I’ve willingly visited at more sober and sociable hours.
What’s your go to Fernet Hunter and CAPI Cocktail?
Such a tricky question as Fernet Hunter is best pals with Highball style drinks so all of the CAPI range are ideal. Anything from Soda Water to Cola work really well and believe me, we’ve made a good amount of cocktails with them and they’ve always gone down a treat. I think just for simplicity the Hunter Hi is terrific, Fernet Hunter, Soda Water & a Sprig of Mint. However, at the moment I’ve been on a Paloma fix so using the CAPI Grapefruit Soda, Fresh Grapefruit and a little Chilli Salt has been on the cards.
Why do you love working with CAPI?
The CAPI team’s willingness to support and having fantastic products to back it up. All of our previous collaborations have been effortless and hugely successful for all parties involved and those participating. Guests have especially enjoyed themselves and the takeaway feedback is ‘can’t wait for the next event!’.
It goes without saying that we’re always very much looking froward to working together whenever the opportunity arrises and the bonus that our brands as well as liquids complement each other on so many levels is the icing on the cake.
Keen to try Fernet Hunter? While they're not available to purchase in Australia (yet!), you can purchase in the following countries: Austria, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Germany, The Phillipines and Taiwan. We'd love to see them come to Australia, reach out if you think so too!