APPLETON 30

At some US250 this is not one for making cocktails with at that price!
Rumpundit.
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APPLETON 30 YEAR OLD

This limited edition 30 year old rum from the world famous Appleton Estate in Jamaica, is a very rare blend made up of several marks of rum that were hand selected by our Master Blender more than 30 years ago. These marks were individually aged 8 years then blended together and placed again inAPPLE oak barrels where they rested for a further 22 years. The result of this unique dual ageing process is a rum that is unmatched in taste, character and smoothness. It is the ultimate journey of discovery of the finest rum in the world.

Only 1,440 bottles of this very rare 30 Year Old Rum was handcrafted by the Master Blender of the Appleton Estate and released in 2008.

“We would expect Appleton Estate 30 Year Old Jamaica Rum to auction for between $500 and $1,000 a bottle. I would say whoever gets their hands on one has impeccable taste and lots of friends.”
~Allen McCormick, Distilled Spirits Association,
Auckland, New Zealand

Appearance: Bright and shiny colour with a coppery hue
Nose: Baked pear, maple, spice and orange peel notes with hints of ginger and vanilla
Palate: The subtle oak character is wrapped with delicate spices and vanilla
Finish: Its clean finish lingers with molasses

News photo
The Tokyo bar contenders: A selection of rums that rival Zacapa Centenario: Diplomatico Reserva, Rhum Bielle, Rum Nation Guyana and Rhum Neisson. NICHOLAS COLDICOTT PHOTOS

On their 11th-century romp through the Holy Land, the Christians came upon a fabulous new foodstuff: sugar.

A few centuries, some genocide and a slave trade later, Europe had commandeered most of the Caribbean, turned cotton and coffee fields into sugar-cane plantations, and taught the slaves to distill the molasses into rum. It’s the booze with the bloodiest, most egregious history, but let’s not dwell on all that.

Instead, let’s hail the liquor that beguiled Blackbeard, Byron and Hemingway. Let’s salute the spirit that George Washington liked so much he tried to trade one of his slaves for a hogshead of it.

Rum is the good-time liquor of tropical paradises, sipped to a soundtrack of calypso or mambo. It’s the flavor of holiday puddings and punches, and it’s the kick in your Daiquiri, Mojito, Zombie, Mai Tai and Pina Colada.

Yet, for all that, it’s an under- appreciated beverage. Sailors and pirates drank rum because it traveled better than beer. In America’s Roaring Twenties, the jazzers and flappers flouted Prohibition with rum because the Caribbean was within easy smuggling reach, and Bacardi sure tasted better than bathtub gin. As World War II drew to a close, Crosby Gaige wrote in his Standard Cocktail Guide, ” . . . it behooves the prudent mixer to know his Rums. Good Whiskey is now scarce and will be scarcer for some time to come, while good Rum is in plentiful supply.”

When there’s nothing else on offer, try rum.

I n Tafia, a bar in Tokyo’s Nishi Azabu district, there’s nothing else on offer. There are more than 300 bottles and they all contain rum.

“Would you like a rum?” asked owner Chie Tato.

I told her I usually drank Ron Zacapa Centenario, a Guatemala-produced benchmark for aged rums.

Most rums mature badly; in Caribbean temperatures the liquid evaporates too fast and the angels get more than their fair share. But Zacapa is stored at around 2,300 meters above sea level, and aged in the solera-style of sherries and balsamic vinegars. Casks are never drained, only tapped for a portion of their contents, then topped up from the next-oldest barrel. The result is a blend of vintages with the scent of several barrels.

Zacapa passes through bourbon, sherry and Malaga wine casks. The youngest is labeled “15 years,” but the fun starts at 23 years, when the drink takes on deep notes of oak, vanilla and fudge.

News photo
Top rums: At Screwdriver in Kichijoji, customers keep track of their favorites in books of tasting notes.

The rum gobbles up gold medals in festivals, and the Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago gave it an extraordinary 98-percent rating.

It’s also cheap. A bottle of the 23 costs around ¥4,500.

Last week I toured Tokyo’s rum bars with the question: If Zacapa 23 is so good and cheap, what’s the point of drinking anything else?

In Tafia, Tato’s first reply was Diplomatico Reserva, a Venezuelan gold medalist at the 2007 International Cane Spirits Festival. Venezuelan law dictates that all its rums must be aged, and Diplomatico has developed the cacao and caramel notes of an exceptional dark rum. It could almost hold its own against Ron Zacapa.

Next: Rhum Bielle, a white rhum agricole from Marie-Galante in the French Antilles. Agricoles are distilled from fresh sugar-cane juice or syrup. Most manufacturers squeeze two industries from sugar cane, using the juice to make sugar and the byproduct, molasses, to make rum. On the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Marie-Galante, all the good stuff goes into the rum. Most French people and many rum aficionados will tell you that agricoles are superior products. They might be right.

At 118 proof, Bielle is not a sipping rum for the timid, but it rewards you with a fresh, grassy fragrance that seems straight from the plantation. It’s Tato’s favorite rum. I can’t wait to drink it again.

Finally, Doorly’s XO, aged at least six years and finished in oloroso casks. The label declares it a rum of “unparalleled excellence . . . for those who know better.” You shouldn’t really toot your own horn like that, but it is a great rum.

T he next day I visited Screwdriver in Kichijoji. Despite the name, it’s a rum bar, stocking an estimated 300 to 400 labels.

I posed my Zacapa question and Takashi Tsuchiya lined up three shots. He explained that when the English, French and Spanish carved up the Caribbean, they brought knowledge of whisky, brandy and sherry techniques respectively. The English-island rums, French rhums and Spanish rons all still bear the traits of those techniques.

He offered an Appleton Estate from Jamaica (English influence), a J. Bally agricole from Martinique (French) and the Zacapa 23 (Spanish).

Sure enough, the Jamaican rum was dry and spicy, the Martinique rum fruity and the Guatemalan sweet.

I enjoyed the Appleton Estate most, crushing my Zacapa theory.

Tsuchiya also offered a Demerara aged for 14 years in a Laphroaig Scotch cask (which was once a sherry cask). It hits like Scotch but mellows into rum. As with Laphroaig, you’ll love it or hate it.

“Rum is the most varied spirit in the world,” claimed Tsuchiya. “There’s no white Scotch and you can’t age tequila past a few years. If you count grappa, brandy is a little diverse, but not like rum.”

O n day three, in Ikejiri’s Bar Julep, another oddly named rum specialist, I asked bartender Koji Yamamoto to surprise me.

He offered Old Monk, a 7-year-old from India. Don’t wrinkle your snooty nose, it was great. Why shouldn’t India be able to produce a good rum? There are rums from Nepal, Austria, Australia, Fiji and the Philippines. Even Japan has a couple of brands, though neither are good.

After a jaunt through some agricoles, Yamamoto produced a gem from Italian bottlers Rum Nation. The company selects single-provenance rums and releases them under its own label. Rum Nation reveals the country of origin, but not the distillery. The label said Guatemala, 23 years old. It’s not hard to guess who really made the rum. But, said Yamamoto, Ron Zacapa 23 is a blend of ages up to 23 years old; Rum Nation’s is pure 23-year-old rum from the Zacapa barrels. I tried them side-by-side and Rum Nation’s release made the multi-award winner seem rough around the edges.

Last month, Julep, Screwdriver and Tafia teamed up with two other Tokyo rum bars to launch R.U.M. Japan with the aim of raising rum’s profile here.

They may have a long road ahead.

“What kind of bourbon do you have?” asked a customer in Bar Julep last week.

“I’m afraid we don’t serve bourbon, only rum,” said Yamamoto.

“OK then, a strawberry margarita please.”

Bar Julep, 2-34-16 Ikejiri, Setagaya-ku. (03) 3422-7650; www.julep.jp Screwdriver, 4F Toei Bldg., 1-20-15 Kichijoji, Musashino-shi. (0422) 20-5112; www.screw-driver.com Tafia, 2-15-14 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku. (03) 3407 22

New St Lucia rum

  • By Sonya Hook
  • 25/09/2009 11:19

St Lucia Distillers are launching a new premium white rum to tap into the growing popularity of the spirit.

The brand, called Toz after the abbreviation for the troy ounce, the measurement used for precious metals like gold and platinum, is distilled in both column and pot stills to try and achieve as high quality a white spirit as possible. It is then aged in American oak and port barrels and clear filtered.

“Toz White Gold appeals to those aspiring to be high achievers and those who appreciate a good rum,” said a spokesman from importer Emporia Brands. “It will appeal to consumers whose normal choice may be a premium vodka and is associated with style and culture.”

Serving suggestions in-clude simply pouring it over ice or in a Martini with a sprinkling of chocolate.

More on Appleton Estate


Something new for rum lovers

Published: Thursday | September 24, 2009

Appleton Estate Rum – Contributed

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum has introduced a new luxury rum that will only be available at the Appleton Estate Rum Tour.

Appleton Estate Exclusive Edition is a luxurious blend of rums that were created to celebrate the territory of the Nassau Valley where the Appleton Estate is located. The edition was made available on Monday. It is presented in a proprietary bottle, (the design is inspired by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum’s signature bottle), with a cork finish, and is packaged in a beautiful wooden gift box. It will be sold for US$250.

According to Judy Schoenbein, general manager of the Appleton Estate Rum Tour, the new rum will make a wonderful addition to the rum tour experience.

“In addition to making a journey of discovery of the rich history and heritage that are our legacy and learning how we make our rums, visitors will now have a chance to take home something that is exclusive to the Appleton Rum Tour experience.”

Master Blender Joy Spence said she carefully selected the rums that make up the exclusive edition for their unique qualities.

Perfect conditions

“The Nassau Valley’s rich fertile soil and unique microclimate that features warm days, gentle afternoon showers
and cool nights are the perfect conditions for growing sugar cane and tropically ageing rum,” she said.

She also noted that the pure water from the estate’s natural spring, the varieties of sugar cane that are cultivated and the one-of-a-kind copper pot stills all contribute to the unique qualities and distinctive character of Appleton Estate Exclusive Edition.

“It is a rich, smooth, full-bodied rum and I would recommend that it be enjoyed neat or on the rocks,” she added.

Taste notes

The Edition has a deep amber colour with red highlights that perfectly reflect the rich soil of the region. Lots of oak and vanilla notes that are developed naturally during long years of ageing under tropical conditions will waft to the nose. The fruity sweetness that arises as a result of the varieties of sugar cane that are grown on the estate, of perfectly balances the woodiness that is derived from ageing. The finish is long and smooth. Drink up!

Embalming Rum

Story of little girl buried in rum told over and over

By Kim Grizzard
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground lie Union soldiers and Confederates, slaves and free men. In the cemetery is a British soldier buried upright and facing England and a grave marker dated 1756. But perhaps the most visited grave is not the oldest, nor one of the most heroic. It is that of an unnamed girl entombed in an unorthodox manner.

The headstone tells all that is certain of her story: “LITTLE GIRL BURIED IN RUM KEG 1800.”

“Of course, it attracts attention,” said Janet Grainge, event director for Beaufort’s 300th anniversary. “The legend is pretty well renowned. This story is told many times per day as tour guides take folks through the Old Burying Ground.”

For more than 30 years, visitors to the site have brought trinkets and childish treasures to place on headstone No. 24, a marker that references the grave in a self-guided tour pamphlet. Some bring seashells and flowers, others leave toys and teddy bears.

“Mainly it’s the children,” said Patricia Suggs, executive director of the Beaufort Historic Site. “Because it is a little girl, they leave things on her grave … like little Barbie dolls, little ponies, Troll dolls, anything for a little girl. … Just the story about it being a little girl, that’s what appeals to everybody.”

The story, as it is told, is that of a little girl growing up in Beaufort who longed to visit her English homeland. Her mother agreed to let her take the journey with her father, so long as he promised to bring her back. But the little girl died on the return voyage.

“Normally they would do a burial at sea,” Suggs said. “But since the father promised the mother that he would bring her back, he purchased a keg of rum from the captain on the ship and had her basically embalmed in the keg of rum. … It’s just one of those stories that’s been handed down over the years.”

It has been told to school groups and senior citizens, area natives and tourists who have visited the Old Burying Ground, which is designated as a National Historic Site.

East Carolina University graduate Lynn Allred heard the girl’s story when she moved to Beaufort more than a decade ago. Allred, a former employee of The Daily Reflector, began researching Beaufort’s background in her spare time while working with the Newspapers In Education program at the Carteret County News-Times.

As she pieced together history and hearsay, Allred began to imagine what life had been like for the unknown girl who was a curiosity in the cemetery. She created a story that would help children focus on the life, not the death, of a child growing up in this harbor town in the late 1700s.

The result is “Molly’s Beaufort-town,” a serialized story released to coincide with the 300th anniversary of the founding of Beaufort. The 10-chapter serial, which begins Sept. 29 in The Daily Reflector, gives the girl in the grave a life-story, complete with family and friends, activity and adventure.

“I’ve always wanted to write,” said Allred, who recently moved to her native Oxford. “I kept seeing all these serial stories coming out, and I said, ‘I can do that.’

“I’ve been wanting to write one for quite some time,” she said. “I was interested in the little girl, in the history of Beaufort. … When I sat down to do it, it all just kind of came together.”

Though Allred said the writing took only two weeks, she has spent considerable time studying local history to make the story educational as well as entertaining. Allred researched the period and added details, including the kinds of toys and games children might have played with and the kinds of chores that were part of their daily lives.

Though the title character’s name is fictional, Allred took some of the surnames in the story straight from the town’s historical records. Both Suggs and Grainge consulted with Allred on the fictional story to ensure historical accuracy.

Suggs hopes the story will create interest in the state’s third oldest town.

“We hope that it will pique the interest of the teachers and they’ll bring their school classrooms down (to the Old Burying Ground),” she said.

“It is a national treasure.”

Tourist season brings thousands of visitors to the site each year to share the story that Grainge calls a “mixture of mystery and tragedy.”

“(For) a father to want so badly to preserve his daughter that he comes up with this rather eccentric way to preserve (her) until he can properly bury her in his hometown,” she said, “others feel that sense of family and want to recognize it.

Allred hopes the story will focus attention on the lives of children in Beaufort’s history, instead of one girl’s death.

“It is a happy story,” she said. “The way I want kids to look at this story is not that the little girl died but the fact that she had something she really wanted to do. She wanted to go to England and she got to do that. Not very many kids get to have a dream fulfilled at such a young age. … That’s what I would rather the kids concentrate on than that the little girl died.”

“Molly’s Beaufort-town” is sponsored by Pitt Community College and the newspaper’s NIE program. Lesson plans will be available for teachers. Contact Eban Kea at ekea@coxnc.com or call 329-9630.

Events

Beaufort continues its 300th anniversary celebration:

FRIDAY

4:30-11 p.m.: Free outdoor concerts on Front Street with Big Drink and The Embers

6 p.m.: Community blessing

Beaufort Outdoor Picnic By-the-Sea and 300th birthday cake

SATURDAY

Noon: “The Carteret Chords” performing patriotic songs

1-6 p.m.: Concerts presented by Beaufort churches & choirs

6 p.m.: Closing ceremonies: Be a part of history as Beaufort receives high honors.

6 p.m.: Shrimp Boat Parade from Taylors Creek to Gallant’s Channel.

6:30-10 p.m.: Free concerts on Historic Beaufort Waterfront, Front Street

8:30-9 p.m.: Fireworks display, Gallants Channel

Dry figures for the Captain’s new home

If it looks mad, it is. But it’s the law! Here is Fitch’s ratings of the USVI’s bonds floated to build Diageo’s Capn Morgan Distillery. The rest of the Caribbean should really explore a WTO case…Rumpundit.

September 16, 2009 06:13 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Fitch Rates Virgin Islands Matching Fund Bonds

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fitch Ratings assigns the following ratings to approximately $466.8 million in Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority (PFA) revenue and refunding bonds (Virgin Islands matching fund loan notes), consisting of:

–$95,000,000 series 2009A (senior lien/capital projects) ‘BBB’;

–$272,000,000 series 2009B (senior lien/refunding) ‘BBB’;

–$99,770,000 series 2009C (subordinate lien/refunding) ‘BBB-‘.

The bonds are expected to sell Sept. 23, 2009 via negotiation. All three series are due Oct. 1, 2010-2029, with optional redemption beginning Oct. 1, 2019. In addition, Fitch affirms the rating on outstanding matching fund bonds issued under the same indenture by the PFA, as detailed at the end of this release. The Rating Outlook is Stable.

Matching fund bonds are special, limited obligations of the PFA, issued periodically under a 1998 senior indenture (1998 indenture) for United State Virgin Island (USVI) capital purposes under both senior and subordinate liens. The ‘BBB’ rating on the senior lien bonds and ‘BBB-‘ on the subordinate lien bonds reflect the established nature of the matching fund revenue stream based on federal law and direct payment by the U.S. Treasury to escrow for debt service before any other purpose. These strengths are offset by the ultimate dependence of the revenues on production at a single USVI facility at present to distill rum for export, as well as exposure to longer-term changes in U.S. consumer demand for rum. A debt service reserve funded at maximum annual debt service (MADS) provides additional protection. Coverage of debt service has been adequate, with fiscal 2008 coverage of outstanding senior lien bonds at 2.54 times (x) and aggregate coverage at 1.93x. Including the new senior lien bonds, coverage of senior lien MADS would be 2.15x, with aggregate MADS coverage at 1.69x. The Stable Outlook is based on the expected continuation of matching fund payments by the U.S. government.

Matching funds have been paid annually to the USVI by the U.S. government since 1954 based on sales in the U.S. of USVI rum. Matching fund revenues received by the USVI are tied to the sole existing distillery, Cruzan VIRIL. Construction is underway of a second distillery, for Diageo USVI, the production of which is expected to augment matching fund revenues and coverage of debt service on the current bonds after completion in fall 2010.

The matching fund program is well-established, with a base rate of $10.50 per proof gallon in place since 1954 and with periodic increases in recent years to $13.25 per proof gallon; the present $13.25 rate expires this year, pending renewal of the higher rate. Should periodic increases not be extended or lapse, the rate reverts back to the base rate of $10.50. The annual payment is calculated from projected sales of USVI-produced rum in the U.S. in the following fiscal year, adjusted by an amount reflecting the difference between estimated and actual sales two fiscal years prior. The bonds include a covenant that if matching fund revenues are replaced with another source of federal funds, the USVI will use its best efforts to use the substitute federal revenues for bond repayment. Political risks include drafted U.S. legislation questioning the use by the USVI of matching fund receipts for economic development incentives; passage of such legislation in Fitch’s view is remote. Moreover, continued production at the Cruzan VIRIL facility is tied to continued provision of incentives from the USVI government; a new incentive regime is currently under negotiation. Failure of these negotiations could lead to reduction of Cruzan VIRIL production.

U.S. consumption of distilled spirits, including rum, has grown steadily in recent years based on shifting consumer tastes and the increasing attractiveness of premium products. Rum consumption in the U.S. is subject to broader shifts in consumer demand; average demand declined by approximately 1.5% annually during the 1985-1995 period, but has increased by an average of 2.6% annually since. Under various alternative scenarios analyzed by Fitch projected matching fund revenues remain sound and provide for adequate debt service coverage. Most USVI rum exported to the U.S. is bulk rum, representing approximately 13% of the U.S. market. Planned production at the second distillery of Captain Morgan-branded rum would raise the USVI share of U.S. market to approximately 35%.

All matching funds received from the U.S. Treasury are available first for outstanding senior and subordinate bonds’ debt service under the 1998 indenture. To finance the distillery for Diageo USVI, in July 2009 the PFA established a separate, subordinate indenture (Diageo indenture) and issued $250 million in debt. Future matching fund receipts generated by the new distillery will benefit 1998 indenture bonds first, before excess receipts are made available for coverage of subordinated debt issued under the Diageo indenture. By contrast, excess receipts from Cruzan VIRIL-related matching funds are not available to Diageo indenture bondholders after payment of 1998 indenture bonds.

The additional bonds test (ABT) for the 1998 indenture bonds was revised to prevent dilution of coverage of Diageo indenture bonds. The calculation of the ABT for 1998 indenture bonds now excludes all matching fund receipts associated with the Diageo project that are required to meet debt service, debt service reserve and certain other required payments under the Diageo financing. Other ABT provisions for the 1998 indenture remain unchanged, with new issuance of senior or subordinate bonds required to meet a three-year historical and two-year prospective MADS coverage test at 1.5x debt service for senior lien and 1.25x for subordinate lien, and two-year prospective MADS coverage at 1.1x combined senior and subordinate liens.

Fitch also affirms with a Stable Outlook the ratings of certain other outstanding PFA matching fund bonds as follows:

–Revenue and refunding bonds (Virgin Islands matching fund loan notes) series 1998A at ‘BBB’;

–Revenue bonds (Virgin Islands matching fund loan note) series 2004A at ‘BBB’;

–Revenue and refunding bonds (Virgin Islands matching fund loan notes) series 1998E at ‘BBB-‘.

Fitch’s rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency’s public site, ‘www.fitchratings.com’. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch’s code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the ‘Code of Conduct’ section of this site.

EU Rum money evaporating?

Regional rum industry up against spirits with deeper pockets

9/9/2009

By Randy Howard

THE Caribbean rum industry has its work cut when it comes to marketing its product internationally, particularly given the large scale nature of the operations of manufacturers of other spirits.

In an interview with the Barbados Advocate sometime ago, Chairman of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA), Dr. Frank Ward, stated that rum is quickly becoming one of the more popular spirits on the world market, to the point that it has been described as the next Vodka.

This is in part due to the efforts being made by individual brands themselves, along with the collective efforts of the Association, to increase the presence of products created in the Caribbean in their export markets, particularly Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Maintaining that such efforts require a considerable amount of human and capital resources which, relative to the producers of other spirits created and marketed across the globe, West Indian producers are far behind.

According WIRSPA officials, the value of sales, as well as amount of money dedicated to the marketing efforts of some large multinational producers of spirits, surpasses the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a number of the countries in the region that produce rum, far less the budgets of the actual rum producers themselves.

Head of Marketing with WIRSPA, Neil Morris, pointed to two examples of such multinational companies, referred to as Company A and Company B, who’s most recent annual reports showed that they recorded net sales of US$13.5 billion (Bds$27 billion), and $9.4 billion (just over Bds$18 billion) respectively.

Morris compared this to the GDP of 14 rum producing Caribbean countries, with the lowest being Dominica with US$0.7 billion (Bds$1.4 billion), and the highest being the Dominican Republic with $77.4 billion (Bds$$154 billion).

When compared to this list of 14 countries, the net sales of these companies would rank fourth and sixth respectively; while their marketing budgets, which are US$2 billion (Bds$4 billion), and (Bds$1.7 billion), would be higher than the GDP of 5 of the 14 countries listed.
This situation has been highlighted by the Association given their ongoing efforts to solidify the presence of Caribbean branded rums within the markets of the UK, Spain, and Italy, through their Authentic Caribbean Rum “True Rum” marketing campaign, which is currently under threat as a result of rules surrounding the funding support provided by the European Union.

WIRSPA and the governments of the CARIFORUM region have been lobbying to have this issue resolved in the region’s favour, as they are certain that any premature ending to this programme, as a result of no more access to funding, would result in the progress made up to this time being deemed as in vain.

This is so given that all of their plans would not have been implemented, therefore the programme would not have the impact that they had intended because of elements not being executed.

Don Q rides into Andes!

Anyone up in the Catskills, a talk on rum, sales of book and a tasting of Don Q rums full range, including their exquisite Grand Anejo, at the Andes Hotel, in Andes, upstate New York from 2 pm onwards Saturday 5th September, rum, reggae band, Caribbean inspired food.. and me. What more could you ask!
Rumpundit.

I will be selling hardback copies of Rum the book..and we will be sampling the full range of Don Q. I’ll even have my statuette of the Don on show.

Just remember, signed (and custom dedicated) copies of Rum: A Social & Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776 the perfect prophylactic against teabaggers, are available, $25 inc postage in the US, and you can pay on Paypal via rum@igc.org

Mount Gay, and rum, surf the recession

Is rum the drink of recessions, or is just all the hard work of the last decade coming to maturity? Rumpundit.

Mount Gay Rum records increase in profits

9/3/2009
Barbados Advocate
By Nadia Brancker

PROFITS at Mount Gay, a local rum manufacturer, are not declining.

Rather, the company is performing well and this is in spite of the economic downturn.

In response to reports in another section of the press, Raphael Grisoni, Managing Director of Mount Gay Distilleries Limited, used the occasion of their first brand showcase Tuesday at the Hilton, Barbados, to set the record straight as regards Mount Gay’s operations.

He said, “Information in a publication on Monday was not purely accurate and I want to assure the public Mount Gay Rum is performing well and our profits are not declining. Actually, Mount Gay rum has recorded at the last fiscal year 2.5 % growth which is commendable in the light of the economic downturn”.

The Mount Gay Distilleries event was a brand showcase to show and remind Barbadians that Mount Gay Distilleries is the premium and super premium distributor.

A new campaign was launched for Mount Gay Rum Extra Old’s new packaging and a new television commercial with Barbadian icon Gabby as the narrator. Also showcasing the third party brands Mount Gay is also back in the wine business.

“It is not because of the recession that they have undertaken the wine business once again, but this was always in the plans but we believe that this is the right moment to be back into the wine business,” stated Grisoni.

Grisoni explained the innovations Mount Gay has developed. “In Barbados the situation is not the same and we do need to be innovative. Therefore in June we launched the new white rum which is the Eclipse Silver and again we have a double digit growth which is fantastic,” he said.

There was also great success with the Remy Martin which is back on the scene, Cognac, Chivas, and Absolut. Admittedly with Eclipse and Extra Old the figures are going down a bit, he said.

He acknowledged that even though in Barbados the situation is not the same that export which is 85% of their business is doing well. He further stated “all the categories of the Mount Gay are performing well. Despite USA being the main market for export and even though USA is suffering a lot from the credit crunch, the rum category continues to do well.

In the US market last month there was +3.5 on Eclipse and the new Extra Old has had double digit growth. We became the number one premium rum in March in terms of volume and we are in the number one the premium category which is $17 and above, Bacardi is only $12 or $13 .We are growing in numbers in distribution and also in rotation of the product”.

The impact of the global financial crisis according to Grisoni has not affected the product severely. However the brand showcase displaying the new branding and new campaign of Extra Old shows they are not resting on their laurels.

He explains “the good news is we will keep investing in Mount Gay Distilleries and Mount Gay rum particularly so this is the reason for the new packaging of Extra Old. It is a huge investment because we design the specific bottle for Extra Old and to bottle it we had to change parts in our bottling line. The first feed back in the United Stated is fantastic and the first feed back with the friends of Mount Gay is excellent”.

Mount Gay Distilleries will also be investing in new products which we will be revealed next month. Next Month they will launch super premium rum – very old rum above extra old with premium packaging. The issue with not being able to acquire enough Molasses here is not new and with the development of real estate in the island they will continue to import molasses from other courtiers with a majority from Guyana.

Has the launch of this 10 million euro True Rum marquee and marketing campaign by West Indies Rum and Spirit Producers Association help them reach out to world markets, particularly in these difficult economic times.

Grisoni concluded, “The true rum campaign is certainly helping to develop our brand. The campaign is targeting UK, Italy and Spain but Mount Gay is stronger in the UK and is more useful there”.