A new alcohol made from the pulp of Seychelles’ exotic coco de mer — the world’s biggest nut — is expected to hit the market this year.
The man behind the product, Wilson Nancy, a local businessman Wilson Nancy, told SNA that at the moment he doesn’t want to reveal the type of alcoholic beverage to be released until the product is launched. But he did says that it will target the general consumer.
In late 2019, Nancy launched La Cocofesse XO brandy, the first alcoholic beverage made from the pulp of the coco de mer by the local company, Willow Ventures. presently selling at about 1,000 euros a bottle, the XO brandy targets the top end of the luxurious beverage market.
“We felt that since not all Seychellois will be able to get the chance to taste the unique XO brandy that was released a few years back, we decided to produce an alcoholic beverage that will be able to compete with beverages that are more mainstream, giving more people choice and accessibility. The drink is expected to contain between 30 to 32 percent alcohol per volume,” said Nancy.
He expects to price the new alcoholic beverage between SCR550 ($45) to SCR850 for a 750ml bottle that will be available in local retail outlets. The alcoholic drink will come in two types – one targeting women and the other men.
The alcoholic beverage will be made from approximately 15 to 25 percent coco de mer extract compared to 50 percent in the XO brandy. With the coco de mer extract being an expensive raw product in itself, the amount placed in any product influences the price.
“The beverage will be something very striking and very Seychellois. The bottle label has been designed by Michel Arnephy and just by looking at it, as a Seychellois, you will be able to relate to it. We hope that people will be driven to keep the bottle as a souvenir,” said Nancy.
Currently, Nancy said that Willow Ventures is choosing between four samples of the drink so as to finalise which version will be most appreciated in Seychelles and thereby the chosen one will go into production.
From there, maybe by May or June next year, we will drop it on the local and international markets.
To note Willow Ventures won the open tender a couple of years ago after the Seychelles’ government approved the exportation of the coco de mer kernel as a value-added product. Willow Ventures was one of the three local companies chosen to process the kernel.
Other than producing alcoholic beverages, Nancy said that his company has plans to release an ice cream also produced from coco de mer pulp.
“The ice cream was an initial project outlined in the project memorandum that we tendered to the Ministry of Environment. There were four main items in our business plan, namely coco de mer buns, ice cream and sorbet, jam and an alcoholic beverage. The formulae and recipe are ready and we have already made the ice cream samples,” he told SNA.
“However, at the moment, we are developing the jam market first and from there we will introduce the ice cream. which we will most probably need to tie up with a local ice cream factory as ice cream is something really delicate as you need to respect its cold chain and HACCP requirements. Failing which, the content and texture, might differ and thus affect the end product adversely,” said Nancy.