Rum Rebellion?

Rumpundit from the beginning of this saga has maintained that the Caricom countries have a great case for the WTO. Interesting point for the future… does the Puerto Rico statehood vote affect the subsidy down the line?

Rumpundit
Rum, rivalry, resistance

Sir Ronald Sanders

23 December 2012

THE Caribbean Community (Caricom) trade ministers issued a statement on December 11 stating that “Caricom countries continue to have serious concerns about the threat to the competitiveness of Caribbean rum in the United States market resulting from the massive subsidies provided by the governments of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and Puerto Rico to multinational rum producers in those territories”.

After seven months of writing about this matter, I welcome this statement from the trade ministers underlying that “rum production and export are critical to the social and economic well-being of the region”.

Much valuable time has been lost and much has to be done quickly if the rum industry of the CARIFORUM countries is not to be displaced in the US market. CARIFORUM consists of the 14 independent Caricom countries and the Dominican Republic.

In previous commentaries I drew attention to the adverse effects on CARIFORUM countries if the USVI and Puerto Rico governments continue to provide massive subsidies to rum companies in their territories — derived from a tax refund from the US Federal Government called a “cover-over” tax. To recap, CARIFORUM countries stand to lose US$700 million in foreign exchange annually, the jobs of 15,000 workers directly employed in the rum industry, and another 60,000 jobs that benefit from it. Governments will lose over US$250 million in annual tax revenues.

I have also pointed out that bulk rum producers in some Caricom states have already lost contracts in the US market valued at millions of dollars because of the cheaper prices of the heavily subsidised USVI rum producers.

This situation will get far worse as these heavily subsidised companies increase production.

Because I had also pointed out that the CARIFORUM country that would be the biggest loser is Barbados, it is encouraging to see Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart stating in Parliament on December 18 that, “We cannot rule out the prospect of this matter reaching the WTO”, although he added, “but that is not the first-resort expedience”. Rum exports to the US market in 2010 were worth US$17.2 m to Barbados — twice as much as its exports to the European Union market.

Delay in taking firm action is not in the interest of CARIFORUM countries. The longer they wait to stop these subsidies, the more unfairly entrenched the subsidised companies in the USVI and Puerto Rico will become in the US market.

Diplomatic efforts have been made consistently during the past few months and, by all accounts, the Barbadian ambassador to the US, John Beale, has been particularly active. But these efforts have produced no meaningful results. A letter written on August 24 to US President Barack Obama by St Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, as chairman of Caricom, has remained unanswered, and a previous letter on August 9, sent by CARIFORUM ambassadors in Washington to the US trade Representative, Ron Kirk, received a non-committal reply in October.

This led Caricom trade ministers, at their December meeting, to call on the US Government “to engage early with Caribbean rum-producing countries with a view to achieving an outcome that will support the continued competitive access for Caribbean rum to the US market”.

Frankly, there is not much chance of the US Government responding to that call, anymore than anyone should expect — as has been suggested — US Attorney-General Eric Holder to be helpful because “his parents were born in Barbados”.

The US Government did not pick this fight. Neither did the CARIFORUM countries. The local governments of the USVI and Puerto Rico have created the situation. Unfortunately for the US Federal Government, it has responsibility for the actions of its territories under international law and treaties. So, inasmuch as neither the US Government nor the CARIFORUM governments like it, they have a dispute on their hands, and it cannot be solved by diplomatic consultations alone. In the US, this is not a matter for the Government only; Congress also has a hand in it. And little or nothing will be done without compulsion.

The only compulsion is what some CARIFORUM governments appear reluctant to invoke, and that is to take the matter to the Dispute Settlement Body of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

CARIFORUM governments have received at least three expert legal opinions that WTO rules have been violated by the actions of the USVI and Puerto Rico governments, and they have an eminently winnable case against the US at the WTO. There should be no stopping them now.

Throughout its history, rum producers from Caricom countries have faced unfair rivalry. They have been compelled to resist, as recorded in the excellent account, Rum, Rivalry and Resistance by Tony Talburt, published by Hansib in 2010.

Resistance continues to be necessary to safeguard this spirit which is so deeply intertwined with our Caribbean civilisation. The Government of the Dominican Republic has shown its readiness to proceed to the WTO; indications are that Barbados may now be willing to join. All of the governments of the CARIFORUM countries have a duty of care to their people; they will be doing no more than fulfilling that duty by going to the WTO. At the very least, the governments of Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago should throw their weight behind the Dominican Republic and Barbados.

Those CARIFORUM countries that do not join resistance at the WTO will not only show no spirit, they will also be entitled to no benefits that may be awarded. And, if none of them do anything other than engage in the delaying exercise of diplomatic consultations with the US, more than the spirituous Caribbean rum will die; the Caribbean spirit of resistance will die too.

The US Trade Representative’s Office is expert at prolonging “consultations” and delaying WTO arbitration. But time is not on the side of CARIFORUM rums, as trade ministers agreed.

Sir Ronald Sanders is a consultant and visiting fellow, London University

Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronaldsanders.com

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/Rum–rivalry–resistance_13259063#ixzz2GLDKh0VE

Pirate Ambush?

A cunning piratical ambush – while Bacardi grapples alongside Havana Club.. Cap’n Morgan swoops in and gets the gold..Rumpundit

Diageo aims to take on Bacardi

  • By Robyn Black
  • 14/04/2011 09:14

Diageo has announced its intention to take on Bacardi to become the number one rum company in the world by 2015.

Captain Morgan: kick-starting Diageo push to become number one rum company 

The owner of rum brands Captain Morgan, Bundaberg and Pampero currently has a 17% share of the UK rum market and sees further growth coming from golden and dark rum and golden rum-based spirits.

To kick-start the push, the company has earmarked £7m for its Morgan’s Spiced brand, renaming it Captain Morgan’s Spiced and investing in a TV campaign and on-trade push.

“Consumers may already be aware of the Captain Morgan brand from the dark rum currently available in the UK market,” said marketing manager Ali Wilkes.

“The addition of the Captain figurehead to the title and the label of Morgan’s Spiced will create synergy across the two brands and also give Morgan’s Spiced an identifiable personality.”

The campaign will be aimed at 18 to 24-year-old male drinkers and focus on the “Captain and cola” serve, which is already the number two bar call in the US, according to Diageo.

As well as the planned TV campaign, set for this autumn, the company is joining forces with the NUS, Luminar and other pub companies to host 3,000 party nights, due to be held between this June and June of next year.

Sampling, PoS kits and visits from the Captain and his “Morganettes” will create buzz and excitement around the brand, said Wilkes.

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 aledwards@jamaicaobserver.com

 

 

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

1/1

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.

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.

CONTACT:
Greg Stanko
+1-202-729-4146
Greg.stanko@ogilvypr.com
Rums of Puerto Rico
web site http://www.puertoricorums.com/

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,

www.bundabergrum.com.au

“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.

Kraken puts tentacles into TV

Kraken Hokum – but Enjoyable

 

US: Proximo Spirits gives The Kraken TV push

By: just-drinks.com 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.

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!

PR for PR!

Recovering from the desertion of Cap’n Morgan, PR Rums kick back! Rumpundit.

Rums of Puerto Rico Encourages Consumers to ‘Just Think, Puerto Rican Rum’

2011 Campaign to Remind Consumers of another way Puerto Rico Does it Better

Rums of Puerto Rico

February 23, 2011 3:17pm EST

NEW YORK, Feb. 23, 2011 — /PRNewswire/ — If you’ve got it, flaunt it! As part of the government of Puerto Rico’s efforts to remind the audience that Puerto Rico does it better and promote the quality products produced on the Island, Rums of Puerto Rico, the umbrella marketing organization for the collection of the world’s finest rums, today launched its 2011 campaign in New York City. The campaign underscores the award-winning attributes that make Puerto Rican rums stand out from their competitors. Consumers are encouraged to “Just Think, Puerto Rican Rum” when ordering a rum-based drink.

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.

“Puerto Rico’s rum industry 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 is the parent organization of Rums of Puerto Rico. “Rums continue to remain both an economic driver of the Puerto Rican economy and an economic ambassador for the Island.”

The $2 million marketing campaign will tell this story through print, digital and out-of-home messaging in New York, Washington, DC and Miami, and will be supported by public relations and social media efforts and an upgraded web site (www.rumcapital.com). The campaign also will include a series of events and partnerships throughout the year, including a launch event at the Empire State Building featuring Food Network chef Claire Robinson and rum ambassadors from Puerto Rico and the extension of contracts for the exclusive Rums of Puerto Rico lounges and spaces at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Citi Field.

Nicole J. Rodriguez, Director of Rums of Puerto Rico, added that “one goal of the new campaign is to tie together all of Puerto Rico’s marketing efforts under a single theme: quality. Whether it is our beautiful beaches, friendly, bilingual workforce, or our superior rums, we want Americans to say the same thing when they think about Puerto Rico: “Puerto Rico equals quality.”

“Rum drinks are so much more than the ubiquitous rum and coke or your grandmother’s daiquiri,” said Claire Robinson, host of Food Network’s “Five Ingredient Fix.” “Because Puerto Rican rum mixes well with everything, you can use it to create new drinks or improve existing ones. For a spin on the classic cosmopolitan, try substituting Bacardi Limon or Don Q Limon for vodka and you will be delighted by the taste.”

The “Just Think, Puerto Rican Rum” tagline is tied to other Puerto Rico promotion efforts, including the Puerto Rican Tourism Company’s “Just Think, Puerto Rico” campaign, which launched last fall in New York City. Both campaigns also employ the green and black “Puerto Rico Does It Better” logo that is now appearing on all of the government’s promotional materials.

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.

SOURCE Rums of Puerto Rico

Seven Fathom hits new heights..

Sceptics have cast doubt on their claim to age their rum at a depth of seven fathoms… but it’s taking off! Rumpundit

Expansion creates new jobs soon

Posted Sat, Feb 26th 2011, 07:38
(Grand Cayman – CITN) –

 

The Cayman Islands Distillery, a small local business that are the makers of Seven Fathoms Rum, is hoping to create up to 20 new jobs as it expands its operations.

Due to demand, the business is preparing to build a new larger rum-making facility to go along with its small home on North Church Street.

“That demand can not be met with our current facility. So the expansion will facilitate exportation of the product,” Co-founder Nelson Dilbert said.

Mr. Dilbert said the company is committed to hiring as many Caymanians as possible –from sales and delivery, to those with skills to do the distilling.

“Very, very limited jobs here in the country for that, so we are looking to hire people like that,” he said.

New spirits, including vodka are being planned as well, which should be good for the bottom line coupled with Seven Fathoms rising popularity.

“We’ve grown quite quickly over the past four year and we’re looking to make it something that is going to go global,” Mr. Dilbert said.

No site has been selected for the new building as yet, although Mr. Dilbert said they’ve narrowed it down to three locations.

“The new facility we hope to put into a better location as well, that will be in the future, a tour-able facility.”

But there are no immediate plans to abandon the current location downtown.

“As long as we can maintain it… as a tourist sort of visiting facility,” Mr. Dilbert said.

The company said in addition to more jobs for locals, it is eager to buy as much locally grown sugar cane as possible, providing more opportunities for local farmers.

Cayman 27’s Ben Meade has the video report above.

A distilled controversy

Lowland Scots would not have been seen dead in a kilt until Walter Scott romanticised with all that Rob Roy stuff. And Rabbie Burns drank rum as well – Rumpundit.

Row breaks out over rum advert making fun of Scotsmen in kilts

Feb 7 2011 By Charlie Gall

A ROW has broken out over a booze advert that pokes fun at Scotsmen in kilts.

Angostura rum-makers in Trinidad and Tobago launched a bid to woo whisky drinkers with a series of ads showing a man in a kilt dancing a Highland Fling.

But he fails to impress a mini-skirted beauty in heels as the billboards proclaim: “In Scotland, men dance in skirts. In Trinidad, men dance with WOMEN in skirts.”

The campaign is Angostura’s bid to lure locals away from whisky.

But it has sparked an angry backlash from Scots around the world.

Hugh Statham, of Geoffrey Tailor Kiltmaker, fumed: “It’s misleading – a kilt is not a skirt. And people who refer to kilts as skirts are just being idiots.

“It’s a cheap jibe and disrespectful to Scotland.”

One angry expat in the Caribbean said: “They’re saying something against a people and a nation and that’s crossing a boundary.”

Another added: “People come from all over the world and they’re going to see this.”

Yesterday, Angostura spokesman Brian Woods defended the ads. He said: “They’re light-hearted and there was certainly no desire to cause offence.”

Campbell Evans, of the Scotch Whisky Association, shrugged off the row.

He said: “Scotsmen and Scotch whisky are both self-assured and that quality is recognised, sought after and appreciated around the world.”