Angostora’s Bitter?

It was sold as an attempt to build a regional giant to compete in world markets – but there’s something about financial engineering that takes the heart out of distillation…Rumpundit

Exodus from Lascelles’ board

McConnell, Bell and Abrahams stepping down

BY AL EDWARDS Caribbean Business Report Editor



Wednesday, March 30, 2011


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THREE Jamaican Board members of Trinidadian-acquired conglomerate Lascelles De Mercado, namely William McConnell, Anthony Bell and Jason Abrahams are to step down, the Jamaica Observer understands.

Managing Director of Lascelles, McConnell, is credited with turning the rum division into a world-class outfit and one of the best rum producers in the region.

William McConnell


He joined Lascelles subsidiary J Wray & Nephew as Financial Accountant in 1973 and has served as Managing Director of the Wray & Nephew Group of Companies since 1977.

Bell served as Group Finance Director having been with the group for well over two decades. He played a vital role in turning the flagship division – Rum, Wines and Liquors – into a powerhouse and oversaw Canada overtaking Mexico as Appleton’s biggest overseas market.

The prospect of both McConnell and Bell forming a consortium and acquiring the rum division and spinning it off from the Group has been mooted for sometime, especially given the heavily indebted status of parent company CL Financial.

Abrahams meanwhile, is a Jamaican investment banker based in Florida who was instrumental in structuring and securing the deal that saw CL Financial subsidiary Angostura acquire Lascelles in 2008.

In that year Lawrence Duprey’s CL Financial raised external debt financing in the amount of US$450 million to finance the Lascelles acquisition which amounted to US$676 million.

For its money, CL Financial got 86.87 per cent of Lascelles’ common stock.

With Duprey’s group of companies falling asunder in 2009, CL Financial Group’s financial director Michael Carballo intimated at Lascelles AGM that year, that CL Financial may have to turn to Lascelles to finance the US$340 million loan balance it had from the purchase of the Jamaican conglomerate.

One of the major problems CL Financial had was the intertwining of assets and its insatiable thirst for cash which served to bedevil the fortunes of Lascelles’ group of companies. The financial uncertainty and inability to  provide a coherent direction for the Jamaican group may well be a contributory factor in seeing McConnell, Bell and Abrahams heading for the door.

In 2010, Lascelles’ third-quarter sales for the period ending June 30 slumped by $700 million to come in at $6 billion. Net profit dramatically fell to $363 million from $1.39 billion for the same period in 2009.

For the first quarter ended December 31, 2010, Lascelles reported unaudited consolidated earnings results which saw  an operating profit of $931.1 million and a net profit of $821.3 million on operating revenues of $7.1 billion.

Lascelles is expected to report its second quarter 2011 results on May 11.

Readings in Rum

Tolstoy, Dickens, Chesterton, rum permeates literature globally – Rumpundit

Scholar to Discuss Rum as a Symbol in Literature

Dr. Jennifer Nesbitt

Dr. Jennifer Nesbitt will share her research findings concerning rum as a symbol in literature.
3/30/2011 —

Jennifer Nesbitt, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Penn State York, will give a lecture entitled “Rum Histories: Drinking in the Past Postcolonial Atlantic Literature and Culture,” on Thursday, March 31 at University Park. Nesbitt, an Institute of Arts and Humanities (IAH) Resident Scholar for 2010-11, will speak at noon in Sparks Building, room 124. This is the first time a faculty member from York has been named an IAH Resident Scholar since the program began in 2003-04.

The IAH Resident Scholar program is jointly sponsored with the College of Arts and Architecture, the College of the Liberal Arts, and the commonwealth campuses. The program provides up to nine faculty members per year with one semester of release time from teaching, a $1,000 mini-grant for research expenses and/or materials, and the use of an office in Ihlseng Cottage at University Park.

Nesbitt joined the Penn State faculty in 2003. She specializes in 20th Century British literature, postcolonial literature, and women’s literature. She earned an undergraduate degree in History and Literature in 1987 from Harvard University, Cambridge, Ma., and a doctorate in English with a certificate in women’s studies in 1999 from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She is originally from Winchester, Ma.

“This project has allowed me to look at the ways popular texts—everything from 1950s tour guides to cookbooks to the film “Pirates of the Caribbean”—inform the way rum works as a symbol in literature,” said Nesbitt. “Even the song “Rum and Coca-Cola” has a really interesting story behind it,” she said.

PR Rum Festival Good PR

Rum Festival – Rum Cited As Tourism And Economic Driver For Puerto Rico

Taste of Rum Festival Highlights Importance of Rum to Puerto Rico

Looking at the success of this past weekend’s 2011 Taste of Rum Festival in San Juan, one thing is obvious – rum is more than just a drink. It is also a tourism and economic driver for Puerto Rico.

The third annual Taste of Rum provided patrons with the opportunity to show local pride and celebrate Puerto Rico’s centuries old rum industry. As news of the festival has traveled beyond the Island, visitors from the mainland United States and throughout the Caribbean are now coming to San Juan to learn more about rum. The festival has become so popular that it was extended to two days this year.

“Our goal with the Taste of Rum festival is multi-faceted,” said Nicole J. Rodriguez, Director of Rums of Puerto Rico, the sponsor of the event and the umbrella marketing program for the collection of the world’s finest rums. “The festival started as a way to showcase all rums produced internationally. This year we’re highlighting only the finest rums in the word, Puerto Rican rums. The festival gives us the opportunity to show the impact that the rum industry has on our economy and promote rum tasting as an additional reason for rum fans to visit Puerto Rico on vacation.”

This year, the two-day event attracted 3,000 visitors, more than double the attendees in 2010. Approximately one-third of the attendees came from outside Puerto Rico. In addition to sampling rum drinks created by celebrity mixologists, visitors were able to enjoy foods, such as barbeque, created with rum, listen to local music, watch skilled flair tender (bottle juggling) competitions and participate in exclusive seminars to learn more about what makes Puerto Rico’s rums so special.

“Puerto Rico’s rum industry already provides more than 70 percent of the rum sold in the United States,” said Jose Ramon Perez-Riera, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, which oversees Rums of Puerto Rico operations. “Rums continue to remain both a driver of the Puerto Rican economy and an ambassador for the Island. By adding a tourism component to the rums campaign, we hope to attract additional visitors to the Island and increase sales of our fine products”

“Our goal is to establish the Taste of Rum festival as the preeminent rum event in the world,” continued Rodriguez. “We want rum fans to think about coming to Puerto Rico in the same way that wine fans plan to travel to Napa Valley or scotch whiskey fans schedule a vacation in the United Kingdom. Taste of Rum is the backbone in this effort.”

This is the first festival held since the launch of the “Just Think, Puerto Rican Rum” campaign in February. The campaign underscores the award-winning attributes that make Puerto Rican rums stand out from their competitors. For example, the campaign reminds consumers about Puerto Rico’s centuries old tradition of rum making; the legally-mandated, one-year aging of certain rums in white oak barrels; and the Island’s commitment to excellence. The result: Puerto Rican rums, including Bacardi, Don Q, Ron Llave, Ron del Barrilito and Palo Viejo, are the finest rums in the world.

About Rums of Puerto Rico

Rums of Puerto Rico, a division of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO), was created in 1948 to administrate the advertising and promotional programs that encourage the consumption of rum and protect its leadership in the United States market. The quality brands produced in Puerto Rico are aged at least one year by law. This sets the standard of excellence that includes only the finest rums and offers an extensive choice in the rum category including Bacardi, Don Q, Ron Llave, Ron del Barrilito and Palo Viejo, among others.

About The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Corporation (PRIDCO)

The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO) is a government-owned corporation dedicated to promoting Puerto Rico as an investment destination for companies and industries worldwide. Since its establishment in 1950, PRIDCO has led the efforts in the industrialization of the Island. PRIDCO continues to be a catalyst for Puerto Rico’s economic development, leading the transformation from a traditional industrial economy to an economy based on knowledge. PRIDCO emphasizes promoting high technology industries among sectors such as the life sciences, technology, computing and services that leverage on Puerto Rico’s unique combination of tax incentives, skilled workforce, strong infrastructure and excellent business climate.

Greg Stanko
Rums of Puerto Rico
web site

US court backs Bacardi -suprised?

The sound of a dead horse being flogged – Rumpundit

Court rules against Pernod in rum dispute

By The Associated Press


A U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that the “Havana Club” trademark Pernod Ricard SA uses for its rum in other parts of the world can’t be used in the U.S.

It is part of a long-running dispute for Pernod, a wine and spirits maker based in France, over the brand. The company said Tuesday that it would, along with Cubaexport — its partner in producing and distributing the rum, seek a rehearing.

Pernod’s Havana Club rum isn’t sold in the U.S. because of the trade embargo with Cuba, but it is sold in more than 120 other countries. The U.S. government has refused to renew Cubaexport’s trademark on “Havana Club” because it was used by a business that was nationalized by the Cuban government.

Competitor Bacardi uses Havana Club name in the U.S. for rum produced in Puerto Rico.

Pernod has jousted for Bacardi for years over the label, alleging deceptive advertising of the non-Cuban rum. Bacardi won a key round last year when a federal judge rejected Pernod’s claims.

This latest decision has no effect on the Havana Club trademark in other countries.

Kiwi Rum-mates

In fact, respect to the Royal New Zealand Navy, which did not abolish the grog ration until March 1990, almost two decades after the Royal Navy itself!


Rum and a reunion for sea dogs


Last updated 12:15 28/03/2011
Navy sailors from the original HMNZS Canterbury gathered in Blenheim for a reunion. From left, Gary Huffadine, Mort Anderson, Bob McKenzie, Dale Hobbs, Rod Shoemark, Brett Iggulden (centre back), Peter Atkinson, Doug Carson, Terry Brennan and Tom Baker.


UP SPIRITS: Navy sailors from the original HMNZS Canterbury gathered in Blenheim for a reunion. From left, Gary Huffadine, Mort Anderson, Bob McKenzie, Dale Hobbs, Rod Shoemark, Brett Iggulden (centre back), Peter Atkinson, Doug Carson, Terry Brennan and Tom Baker.

The men took part in what was a daily ritual for sailors called Tot Time, where work on the ship would stop at noon and the sailors would drink a gill of rum (four ounces) to fight off scurvy, and for Dutch courage.

A group of 10 sailors from the original HMNZS Canterbury honoured a naval tradition in Blenheim yesterday by swigging rum on the stroke of noon.

The men were all part of the 3L mess on the frigate when it was commissioned in 1971, and travelled from England, via the United States and Panama Canal, back to New Zealand.

They gathered for their annual reunion, the first held in the South Island, at the weekend.

The men took part in what was a daily ritual for sailors called Tot Time, where work on the ship would stop at noon and the sailors would drink a gill of rum (four ounces) to fight off scurvy, and for Dutch courage.

Bob McKenzie, of Wellington, was the president of the 21 men in 3L mess. He said the group formed a special bond from their time on the HMNZS Canterbury, and had become an extended family.

They drank from cups made from Bofor 40 millimetres L60 anti-aircraft shell cases, which had the men’s names engraved on them. One cup commemorated the three members who had died.

Mr McKenzie, formerly of Blenheim and a radio operator on the ship, said he had great memories of his year on the frigate in 1971, including the day Princess Anne commissioned the ship.

The members of 3L mess, who are now scattered throughout the country and in Australia, still meet regularly, he said.

Some of the men travelled to see the ship being sunk near Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands in 2007 after it was decommissioned in 2005.

Bundaberg Bounds Back

Bundy Rum gets a revamp

Emily Prain | 26th March 2011

THE city's famous Bundaberg Rum is going under the knife for a brand makeover aiming to bring more sophistication to its product.BDC Bondstore staff members Teena Hetherington, Shannyn Smith and Haley Cassady with the new branding.

Mike Knott

THE city’s famous Bundaberg Rum is going under the knife for a brand makeover aiming to bring more sophistication to its product, and put common stereotypes of its drinkers to rest.

The starting point is a new logo for the Bundaberg Distilling Company, which includes its three founding fathers, the famous Bundy rum bottle shape and the cane sugar that made the region famous all those years ago.

Bundaberg Distilling Company marketing manager Matt Bruhn said it was important for the brand to not lose touch with its consumers.

“We are constantly keeping up to date,” he said.

The NewsMail took to the streets to find out what people’s perceptions of the brand were and the majority of the responses associated the brew with being “ochre” and “bogan” – and not appealing to women.

“That’s not how we see it – we like to be seen as a great Aussie brand,” Mr Bruhn said.

He claimed 50% of the drop’s drinkers were women and said the company was proud of that fact.

Mr Bruhn said other changes for the famous brand included an entire update of all packaging, new advertising, the release of the 10-year-old Master Distillers Collection and the launch of a new website,

“The brand will continue to build its rum-crafting credentials,” Mr Bruhn said.

Bundaberg man Ryan Turner-Walsh said he felt the brand did not have as much variety as in recent years.

“They should try to make up a new type of rum – something that’s bold,” he said.

Red Stripe Adds White Stripper!

Hampden ‘Fires’ up rum market: Red

Of course the title is unfair – but irresistible. Sadly export markets are not easy for white overproof rum… which is an acquired taste, albeit one acquired by so many locals in the Caribbean. Rumpundit.

Stripe to be sole distributors of new local spirit

Published: Wednesday | March 16, 2011

Sabrina Gordon, Business Reporter

Red Stripe, sole brewers and bottlers of beer in Jamaica, has inked a deal with the Hussey family-owned Everglades Farms to be the exclusive distributor for Hampden Estate’s first-ever bottled rum for the local market.

Hampden Estate, located on a 5,600-acre property in Trelawny, normally produces bulk rum for the European market, but has now ventured into bottling a white overproof rum brand, Rum Fire, to be marketed locally. The product is expected to be available on shelves islandwide by the end of March.

It is the first time that Hampden has produced rum for sale in the local market.

“Hampden has never come out with a local brand, and to get to this market is the premium part of the business,” Andrew Hussey, director at Everglades Farms, told Wednesday Business.

In terms of the partnership with Red Stripe, Ruth Hussey, board chair at Everglades Farms, said, “Rum Fire white overproof rum is an exceptionally smooth rum from Hampden Estate, and we wanted to partner with a world-class quality company with the requisite marketing skills, sales penetration and impressive infrastructure to make Rum Fire the consumers’ first choice for white overproof.”

The agreement calls for Red Stripe to market, sell and distribute the product.

Spokespersons for both Everglades and Red Stripe declined to provide information about the pricing strategy and other details about the deal.

However, Brian Pengelley, sales director at Red Stripe, believes the product will find favour with local consumers.

“The attractive price point, as well as the exceptional drinkability of Rum Fire, will find favour with Jamaican consumers,” Pengelley said in a press release.

By entering the rum market, the deal also represents a milestone for Red Stripe, the island’s sole beer-producing company.

However, it will not be its first venture into the spirit market since it already distributes a range of spirits on the local market for its parent company, Diageo.

“Rum Fire rum marks a new chapter in Red Stripe’s drive to round out its spirits portfolio,” said Pengelley.

“White overproof rum has long been a preferred drink by many Jamaicans, but there have always been too few options,” said Pengelley.

Rum Fire will compete with other brands on the market, the most popular being Wray and Nephew white overproof rum.

Along with the Long Pond Sugar Factory in Trelawny, Hampden Estate is operated and managed by Everglades Farms.

Hampden Estate, which has existed in Jamaica for close to 300 years, is the only distillery in Jamaica that specialises exclusively in the making of heavy-pot still rums. The estate exports between 400,000 and 500,000 litres of absolute alcohol annually to Europe and, to a smaller extent, South Africa.

Kraken puts tentacles into TV

Kraken Hokum – but Enjoyable


US: Proximo Spirits gives The Kraken TV push

By: editorial team | 15 March 2011

Proximo Spirits has lined up a television advert for its black spiced rum brand The Kraken.

The ad, which breaks next month across a number of cable networks, including ESPN, forms part of a marketing programme including a website, social media presence, a national sampling programme, an online merchandise store and an iPhone app.

The Kraken, which is named after a mythical giant squid, was launched internationally 18 months ago.

Formed in 2007, Proximo’s portfolio includes Three Olives Vodka, 1800 Tequila, Stranahan’s Whiskey and Hangar One Vodka.

Blood feud Bad business.

Never surrender! Never Give Up! might have worked in Galaxy Quest, but the sound of dead horses being flogged is not good news for efficiency – Rum Pundit.


Bacardi Continues Legal Actions to Protect Its Havana Club Rum Trademark Rights in Spain
Businesswire 14 March 2011

HAMILTON, Bermuda — Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, continues to pursue all available legal options to protect its legitimate ownership and trademark rights to the Havana Club brand in Spain.
In a brief filed with the High Court earlier this month, Bacardi Limited asked the Spanish Supreme Court for clarification of some aspects of its ruling where the High Court recognized the respect of Spanish law for fundamental rights violated by an expropriation without compensation. While the Court clarified its interpretation of some of the technical aspects in the initial ruling, Bacardi remains focused on the remaining legal options available.
On February 3, the High Court of Spain released its decision that the transfer of the trademark registration of Havana Club rum in Spain by Cuba and its partners was not consistent with Spanish public law. The Spanish Court ruled that Havana Club Holdings “does not deserve to be considered a good faith third party purchaser of the Spanish trademark of Havana Club,” and noted that the company Jose Arechabala, S.A. (and Bacardi as its legal successor) was illegally deprived in Spain of the Spanish trademark registration for Havana Club. The Court however did not restore the Spanish trademark registration to Bacardi solely on the grounds of a technicality involving the statute of limitations applied to the claim.

It is critical to note that Spain’s High Court declared that Spanish law does not recognize in Spain the validity of the transfers to Cuba and its partners of the Spanish Havana Club trademark registration on the basis of the confiscation of Havana Club ordered by the Cuban State in 1960.
Bacardi will continue to defend its fundamental rights against expropriation having purchased the trademark rights in Spain from the original legal owners, creators and proprietors of the brand.
Bacardi has won all U.S. court cases relating to the rights to use the HAVANA CLUB brand, up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
About Bacardi Limited
Bacardi Limited is the largest privately held spirits company in the world and produces and markets a variety of internationally-recognized spirits and wines. The Bacardi Limited brand portfolio consists of more than 200 brands and labels, including some of the world’s favorite and best-known products: BACARDI® rum, the world’s favorite and best-selling premium rum as well as the world’s most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world-leader in super premium vodka; DEWAR’S® Blended Scotch whisky, the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin in the world; MARTINI® vermouth and sparkling wines, the world-leader in vermouth; CAZADORES® 100% blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in Mexico and a top-selling premium tequila in the United States; and other leading and emerging brands.
Bacardi was founded in Santiago de Cuba, February 4, 1862, and currently employs more than 6,000 people, manufactures its brands at 27 facilities in 16 countries on four continents, and sells in more than 100 markets globally. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited.

Poles Apart in Colombia with Dictador

Wandering around the Las Vegas International Bar and Night Club show is an otherworldly existence. Model Agencies from as far away as LA had been tapped to provide skimpily clad marketing assistants, but Dictador’s stand stood out.  Its models in kitschy festishistic outfits matched its black bottles, coated in sensual rubber smooth enough to make anyone think that they had incorporated lubricant in the glass.

Dictador is a Columbian Rum born, or rather reborn, of an unusual match. Polish fashion designer Tomasz Bogdanski was on vacation in Cartagena when he tasted the product made by Hernan Parra Arango’s family distillery. Hernan’s father had urged closing the business down,  but he wanted to keep it going, and Bogdanski’s capital and global sales team, not to mention his design and marketing skills led to the happy combination with Hernan as the President and Mariusz Jawoszek as Chairman.

But the rum is almost as smooth as the bottle!  Selling in 12, 20 and XO, it is a mature rum, subtle but with the oak overtones and clearly has no sugar added. Solera rums often tend to be on the sweeter side but in this is a rum for grownups, and in fact won a gold medal in the Polished Palate  category in. It has already been selling worldwide, including in China, and is now launching in the US.

In solidarity with the Dictador!