The man with the iron will

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Following Monday’s powerful and emphatic ‘Force India’ speech at the TFWA World Exhibition Conference, one could have easily forgiven UB Group Chairman Dr Vijay Mallya for taking the evening off.

The Indian entrepreneur, owner of Kingfisher Airlines, Kingfisher beer and drinks company Whyte & Mackay, had other ideas however – instead hosting an exclusive luxury party at his newly acquired home on Île Sainte-Marguerite, one of the Lérins Islands off the Cannes coastline.

The more historically astute readers of the Moodie Blog will instantly recognise the island as the one of the locations where the infamous ‘L’Homme au Masque de Fer’ (The Man in the Iron Mask) was imprisoned. The mysterious individual, who, according to popular myth was the twin brother of Louis XIV, spent 11 years on the tiny, forested island.

Guests of Dr Mallya, however, were treated to an altogether different experience of life on the island.

An evening that event organisers Whyte & Mackay promised would “entice, excite and awaken your senses” certainly didn’t disappoint.

Following a short boat ride under the cover of darkness to Île Sainte-Marguerite, guests were received on the candlelit poolside terrace to savour a range of cocktails created using Whyte & Mackay premium spirits. Sword-brandishing Sommeliers kept the Champagne flowing throughout the night in true Le Sabrage style, highlighting perfectly the sense of theatre that surrounded the evening.

Before the party began in earnest, Dr Mallya sat with journalists for a short Q&A session where he emphasised UB Group’s commitment to the channel and conveyed his aspirations for the group and for the Whyte & Mackay brand.

Having spent an evening in the company of this intensely patriotic Indian tour de Force, what becomes evident is the clarity of vision Mallya has – not only for the UB Group – but for each of its individual brands.

His determined approach to building brands will undoubtedly take Whyte & Mackay to a whole new level. If yesterday evening’s event was anything to go by, it will be done with style and more than a touch of showmanship.

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