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Young communicator of the year announced

10 November, 2015 (Hong Kong): Following a flurry of wine and spirits activity in Hong Kong last week with the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, Elliot Faber has been announced as the wine and spirits industry’s “Young Communicator of the Year” by the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition (HKIWSC).

Presented by Master of Wine Debra Meiburg at the Fair and Competition’s signature cocktail awards ceremony and gala dinner, Faber accepted the award in front of hundreds of media, trade buyers, award-winning winemakers and gathered dignitaries.

Originally hailing from Toronto, Canada, Faber is beverage director at Yardbird, Ronin, and Sunday's Grocery restaurants in Hong Kong, having moved to the city around five years ago to assist with the opening of Yardbird. Now firmly calling the city home, Faber was initially drawn to the high-potential of Hong Kong’s fast growing wine market with zero tax environment and stress-free import system, but has become firmly entrenched in the spread of sake culture within his restaurants’ diverse and daring beverage menus. He also recently published a book dedicated to sake.

The “Young Communicator of the Year” award was created in 2013 to recognise and reward an Asian-based individual who has made a marked impact in the communication of wines and/or spirits in their country during the preceding 12 months.

Faber said after the award ceremony, “I am elated to receive this recognition from the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition and am further motivated to continue my work in sharing my love for sake and all Japanese food and beverage culture with the world.”

A video interview with Faber, filmed during judging for the Cathay Pacific HKIWSC in October can be found at:

Master of Wine Debra Meiburg, founding director of the Cathay Pacific HKIWSC said, “Fostering a future generation of passionate and adventurous wine and spirit lovers requires a delicate balance between education and inspiration from special individuals who embody both integrity, yet a relatability that young people can connect with.  Elliot perfectly personifies this. At once laid-back, yet seriously passionate about wine and sake, his enthusiasm is infectious, and he’s made a huge contribution to the sake judging panels over the past two years of the HKIWSC.

“Even after enjoying incredible success at such a young age, he is humble, hard-working and always deeply interested in expanding his knowledge, and about sharing the sake culture with customers and the wider public in Hong Kong.”

In 2015, Faber released a significant book dedicated to sake, named SAKE: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan's Artisanal Breweries, a compendium of the most important generational sake breweries in Japan, featuring profiles of and interviews with the passionate families who run these operations, along with luxurious photography of the small batch processes, landscape and people involved. The 75 profiles include 60 sake breweries, 10 shochu distilleries and 5 awamori distilleries from Okinawa all the way to Hokkaido for geographic and stylistic diversity.

Previous recipients of the Young Communicator of the Year Award include Rebecca Leung AIWS, one of Hong Kong’s most widely respected and adored wine journalists and author of the blog Wine is Beautiful, as well as Jordan Choy, chairman of the Hong Kong Wine Institute, vice chairman of the Greater China Wine Critics Association, a professional wine educator, wine columnist and wine consultant based in Hong Kong and China.

Faber was ranked #5 in The Drinks Business Magazine’s list of top 10 Sommeliers in Hong Kong, and Yardbird was named one of Asia's 50 Best Restaurants by the prestigious San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants Award in 2015.

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Images of Elliot Faber and further media information and biography can be found at:

About the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition
Now celebrating its seventh year, Cathay Pacific HKIWSC remains the original and most well-respected wine and spirit competition in Asia. Founded by the IWSC Group, Debra Meiburg MW and Simon Tam, the competition is regarded as the Asian guide to the world’s finest wine and spirits. With its panel of Asian judges, the Cathay Pacific HKIWSC ensures that, not only are the best wines selected from all across the globe, but that they are suited to Asian taste preferences too.

About Allen Gibbons, Director

Allen Gibbons is Group Chief Executive of the IWSC Group Ltd and is responsible for the founding of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition. Allen has over 20 years’ experience in sales and marketing roles across the FMCG sector including over 12 years in the drinks industry where he has worked across Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Allen is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.

About Debra Meiburg MW, Director

A Hong Kong resident for over 25 years, Debra Meiburg MW is an award-winning author, TV personality and corporate speaker. A widely respected wine judge and champion of the wine trade in Greater China; she is author of the five-book series Debra Meiburg’s Guide to the Asian Wine Trade and Tasting Wine with Debra.  She is host of the television series Taste the Wine and her one-minute wine tip videos called Grape Moments reach 70 million viewers per month via China’s metro-city taxis.  A long-time columnist with the South China Morning Post, Debra has worked at wineries on four continents and is a leading voice of the Asian wine industry.

About Simon Tam, Director

Based in Hong Kong, Simon Tam is head of wines for Asia at Christie’s. A pioneer educator, communicator and wine consultant in Greater China, Simon has over 20 years’ experience developing and nurturing the Chinese wine market. An award-winning consultant to the wine industry, Simon was voted “The Best Wine Consultant” by UK’s The Wine Business magazine. He is also the founder of the Independent Wine Centre in Hong Kong and co-founding director of the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Wine and Spirit Competition.

For all press enquiries please contact:

Media enquires – Hong Kong:  

Alex Webster Aranchikov            

Tel.: +853 6280 8562 / +852 2816 1750


Media enquires – London:  
Tel: 0044 203 176 6461

For a full list of results, please go to

Issued by:           Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition (HKIWSC)



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