King Car Group chairman Mr Tien Tsai Lee is the father of Taiwanese whisky, an entrepreneur whose vision has defied his critics many times. He started doing business in Taiwan’s stark post-World War II era, beginning in 1959 with household products and then a sheet metals factory, which he expanded over the decades into bottled drinks, biotechnology and aquaculture. Hard work, integrity, and humility
have fueled his success.
Yet for most of this time, Mr TT Lee held onto one dream alone – to make
a whisky Taiwan could call its own. In 2002, his 40-year-old dream and mission took its first step. Taiwan joined the WTO, forcing the break-up of the alcohol production monopoly held by the government’s Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor (TTL) Corporation, which limited itself to beer, wine and kaoliang. This allowed Mr Lee and his son to produce whisky, something no one else had dared do before on Taiwanese soil.
The very first move of son and group CEO Mr Yu-Ting Lee was a measure of his business acumen – he hired the late ‘Einstein of Whisky’ Dr Jim Swan and talented master blender Ian Chang.
It was the foundation Mr YT Lee needed to persist and succeed in pioneering world-class Taiwanese whisky despite the challenges.
His ambition is to create a new whisky homeland in Taiwan through an obsession with quality. Whisky releases are routinely held back if the quality is not up to scratch. Of potential customers who do not yet drink Kavalan, Mr YT Lee says he can afford to be patient, as Kavalan will only keep getting better. His benchmark? The highest quality in the world.
Together, the Lees have helped transform the global whisky industry, shifting its frontiers through passion and innovation. As a major player in whisky’s ‘New World,’ Kavalan is offering greater freedom of choice in arguably one of life’s greatest pleasures.