Back at the Plantation

This has to be good news. Ferrand makes exquisite premium spirits! It gives Barbados rums a cultured niche in world markets!


EMBARGOED UNTIL  – MARCH 10, 2017, 18:00PM  French time 

Maison Ferrand, the award winning Cognac, Gin and Rum producer in the heart of Cognac, France, has acquired the historic West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados which has produced rum continually since the 19th century. Maison Ferrand is the owner of the Plantation rum brand with global distribution in 68 countries. The company produces Pierre Ferrand Cognac and Citadelle Gin at its facility in Cognac, France and the purchase of West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) marks the first distillery acquisition outside of France. The acquisition signifies Maison Ferrand’s long term commitment to the quality production of Plantation rum.

Plantation Rum was first introduced in 2003 with the desire to bring rum to the same quality standards of the best Cognacs. Since then Maison Ferrand has been selecting, aging and blending rum from the best Caribbean distilleries for its award-winning Plantation Rum expressions. Barbados is the historical birthplace of rum making and Barbadian rum has been the backbone of Plantation vintage editions as well as its special blends.

“We are production guys and having our own distillery in the Caribbean has been a dream for many years,” says Alexandre Gabriel, proprietor of Maison Ferrand. “It is like getting married, we wanted to find a great match, one for life and we have found it in West Indies Rum Distillery and the exceptional rum makers there. The team there is as passionate as we are and we can’t wait to start producing delicious rum together.”

Barbados holds so much rum-making history, as does West Indies Rum Distillery, and Maison Ferrand is committed to working with this ancient distillery as one cohesive team to produce exceptional rum. Maison Ferrand plans to tap back to the early roots of this historic distillery and its very rich heritage. The distillery has some ancient pot stills, one that is possibly the oldest in the Caribbean and has been dormant for almost 100 years. Alexandre Gabriel is committed to bringing these stills back to life, and as he says ‘make them sing again.’ Additionally, The West Indies Rum Distillery aging warehouse is uniquely located right on the sea which imprints the rum with a specific style not found anywhere else.

Gabriel says, “We control the production of our Ferrand Cognac and Citadelle Gin because we own the facilities in Cognac. We love challenging ourselves to make the best there is and it requires total commitment. We wanted the same holistic involvement for our Plantation rum so this investment is the natural course of things for us. We are both excited and humbled by what lies ahead. When signing the purchase of this historical distillery, my thoughts went to Laurie Barnard and Thierry Gardere, two rum icons and friends that we have lost all too soon. They were great inspirations to me.”

In the purchase of the West Indies Rum Distillery, Ferrand will also have access to excellent Jamaican rum as West Indies Rum Distillery is one third owner of National Jamaican Rum Company with Monymusk Distillery and the famed Long Pond Distillery. It is very meaningful for Ferrand as Jamaica is the second source of rum for Plantation. Together, this gives Maison Ferrand and Plantation the tools to go even further in its mission for marrying terroir, passion and time for great spirits.

West Indies Rum Distillery is the preferred rum production partner for other companies and will continue to honor their relationships and contracts with them.

Barbados a la France!

Good to see the French appreciating what they sometimes snootily call “Industrial Rum,” rhum industriel!


Another local rum company sold


FRENCH INTERESTS are acquiring another of Barbados’ historic rum companies in a deal worth at least $25.7 million.

In 1989 French alcoholic beverage company Remy Cointreau bought Mount Gay Rum Distilleries Limited, which was established in 1703.

Today, Goddard Enterprises Limited (GEL) is notifying shareholders in its 124 year old subsidiary The West Indies Rum Distillery Limited (WIRD) that it is selling its 2 519 171 issued and outstanding common shares (92 per cent) in WIRD to United Caribbean Rum Limited (UCRL), a wholly owned subsidiary of French spirits company Compagnie de Bonbonnet SAS.

The deal does not end there, however, as UCRL wants full control of WIRD. It is therefore offering people who own the remaining eight per cent of its stock more than $10.2 per share for their piece of the company which produces brands including Cockspur Rum.

While the agreement between GEL and UCRL was signed last December 21, WIRD chairman Anthony Ali, officially gave shareholders details of the deal in notices published today.

“…Goddard Enterprises Limited…has taken a decision to divest itself of its interest in the company….The sale is scheduled to be completed pursuant to a public takeover bid by UCRL…to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of WIRD and is scheduled to be closed no later than six trading days on the Barbados Stock Exchange after the commencement of the public takeover bid by UCRL,” Ali said.

“The closing of the public takeover bid is scheduled to occur on or around April 4….Bonbonnet has extensive experience and expertise in the spirits business and has been involved in the production and sale of fine spirits (such as Cognac, gin, vodka, rum and other distilled spirits) and fruit liquers for many years.”

In a separate notice, UCRL told shareholders “full details of the offer will be mailed out [today] to all shareholders and have been prepared within the framework of the pertinent legislation and the rules of the Financial Services Commission and the [Barbados Stock Exchange].

“The offer is dependent on acquisition of at least 92 per cent of all outstanding shares of [WIRD]. However, the offering is seeking to purchase all outstanding shares.

Compagnie de Bonbonnet and its subsidiaries are said to have aggregate annual sales of approximately US$44.5 million.

WIRD, which is located at Brighton, Black Rock St. Michael, has operations that include a distillery, an aging and distribution warehouse and a bottling plant. The distillery has a production capacity of approximately 15 million litres of pure alcohol a year and is capable of warehousing 1.5 million litres of bulk storage in stainless steel tanks and 20 000 American White Oak barrels of 200 litres each.

The company also said it had a bottling capacity of 100 000 cases per year. (SC)


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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

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”.