The first batch arrived in China last December and demand has been outstripping supply ever since. Produced in France’s Cognac region, at 12.9 percent proof it has an alcohol content similar to wine.
Two varieties of the vodka-based drink currently exist: a heady, caramel-sweet white version and an invigorating red iteration made with mixed red fruits. The latter, as Couturier explains, was "inspired by the French patisserie… but which [fruits] we use exactly… that’s a secret."
Both versions include ginseng, ginger and guarana – a Brazilian fruit known for its caffeine content.
As Couturier puts it, "Go On is perfect for the all-night-long experience. Guarana helps to recover energy. Ginseng – already used a lot for medicinal purposes in [China] – leads to a sense of well-being. Ginger has a stimulating effect and the reputation of being an aphrodisiac.”
All of the extracts used are 100 percent natural. The guarana is bought in Brazil, the ginseng and ginger in Asia. Couturier "works with people who are looking for the best plants for the product." Even the French government supports it as a healthy libation.
Go On is targeted at trendy young folk aged 18 to 34. Along with Bacardi, Martini and pre-mixed cans of Jack Daniels and Coke, the company’s main competitor would appear to be champagne, but Couturier believes "the taste is not liked in Asia, as it begs to be old fashioned."
He also believes that champagne is too bitter for people in their 20s and early 30s, an opinion backed by a recent survey that revealed 68 percent of adults in the 18 to 34 age bracket in France don’t like bitter drinks and are looking for an alternative.
A truly unique product, Go On is a market in itself and is looking to establish a presence on the world’s stage. In Guangzhou, bottles of the stuff can be found in a smattering of carefully chosen bars, including Le Saint-Tropez, Sainte Maxime, W Hotel and Happy Monk. Part of their marketing scheme is to make the product appear exclusive, thus limiting availability to certain vendors.
According to Couturier, "Customers want a new, fresh and tasty drink. They don't want to have to mix or wait to go to a pub to have something they like."
"We need to be fully operational at work and also ready to have fun every weekend,” he continues, explaining his philosophy. "We need a high-quality alcohol, with special, natural ingredients that help the body to recover. All in sexy packaging with a nomadic feel" – that is to say, designed for those on the go.
And as to that sexy packaging, bottles come in either 20-centiliter or 75-centiliter sizes and are made of thick aluminum. A particularly special feature is the pull-off bottle cap, which is difficult to have made in France. So difficult, in fact, that the first stock was made in Germany, before operations moved completely to the home of liberte, egalite and fraternite.
Currently distributing in France, Monaco, Italy and Belgium, Couturier has "no doubt," that in five years’ time Go On will be everywhere in China. The right to "happy experiences with a high-quality French cocktail," he believes, "should be available to everybody."
Looking to the future, a blue version is in the pipeline, possibly to be made using Curacao liqueur, though the recipe is still being confirmed. Why blue? "I'll let you guess why we've gone for this color," jokes Couturier. Vive la France?
// For more information about Go On, visit www.trendydrink.com