Saturday, June 30, 2018

Dictador’s Ambitious Two Masters Project Is to be Launched

     Hernan Parra, master distiller of Columbia-based Dictador rum, has launched an ambitious project called Two Masters that sees vintage Dictador rums finished in different casks by six respected winemakers and distillers in France and Scotland.   As part of the project, Parra gave vintage rums aged between 37 and 45 years to six respected master distillers and winemakers in France and Scotland who each provided their distinctive finishing touches to the liquid.  The chosen winemakers and distillers involved in the Two Masters project, who individually make: Scotch, Cognac, Armagnac, Champagne, Sauternes and Bordeaux, were allowed to finish the rums however they pleased.
     On March 19 in Düsseldorf the worldwide launch of a new line of Dictador rums took place. The project Dictador 2 Masters is a large-scale, long-term cooperation between the rum brand owner and other producers of renowned spirits from various regions of the world.     We wanted to demonstrate the effect of possible cooperation of two masters. We have our own rum master in Colombia, so we tried to look for masters also in other parts of the world to use various talents and present the effects of such cooperation – said Marek Szołdrowski, the President of Dictador Europe.   During the presentation in Düsseldorf the representatives of almost all companies taking part in the first stage of the cooperation,  master distillers as well as winemakers,  expressed their opinions.   Hernan Parra, maestro ronero from Colombia, responsible for cellars and coupages of Dictador, was online as the meeting was in form of a teleconference.   When we were embarking on this project I visited different regions famous for spirits production: Cognac, Gascogne, Champagne, Bordeaux, Scotland and other places; we got to know our spirits together, built relations, gained knowledge, without which this project would never happen, Hernan Parra related.
     These are the people that were responsible for making these wonderful expressions com to fruition.
Mickael Bouilly
– Meeting Hernan and his rums was a great experience. We met in our château, tried ten different rums which were maturing in our place, in our casks. We wanted to make use of the barrel as well as of different seasons. This is what we do here, when coupaging Hardy cognacs, of which there are four variations, related to winter, spring, summer and autumn. I am considering the use of barrels to which we have poured the rum. These are very old, more than a century old barrels, which guarantees that in the final taste of the rum the cognac will be easier to recognize than French oak – said Mickael Bouilly, from Hardy house, known since the mid-19th century.
Stephane Rouveyrol
– Our friendship started with the exchange of bottles. Hernan received our wines and I was given rums. Our wines, sauternes, are very sweet. As it happens in the world of wines, there are better and worse years. For this project, we used only barrels after our best vintage years. We have finally obtained delicate and elegant rum, the sweetness of which in a beautiful way captures all the features of sauternes. Apart from the Dictador rum we also experimented with whiskey aging in our barrels. The effect was also good, sauternes is great for maturing strong spirits – said Stephane Rouveyrol from Château d’Arche, from the very heart of AOC Sauternes appellation in Bordeaux.
Frederic Zeimett
– At first, I was against the idea as I thought it would be impossible to reflect the spirit of Champagne in rum. Colombian colleagues managed to persuade me in the end. The rum was aging in very old barrels, which were used for maturing sauternes before we filled them with champagne. We experimented and filled ten barrels. The result is full of energy and good emotions – said Frederic Zeimett from Leclerc-Briant champagne house.
Pierre Bettinger
– As winemakers, we like to experiment, so we were enthusiastic to join such an interesting venture. I believe the 2 Masters project is a great cooperation and promotion for all involved parties – added Pierre Bettinger from Leclerc-Briant.
Thibault Despagne
– I am a winemaker and my knowledge about rums was limited. When I learned about the history of Dictador rum, I decided to intuitively choose barrels which would suit this sweet liquor, simultaneously adding something new and fresh, explained Thibault Despagne, whose vineyards occupy the best areas of Entre-Deux-Mers region, renowned for exquisite Bordeaux wines.
Cyril Laudet
– We operate in  Bas Armagnac region, nearby the coast, and our château is more than 200 years old. Despite the immense experience, we had not participated in an equally interesting project before. We poured rum into casks after Armagnacs from 1977, with distinct aromas of orange, coffee, and coconut. We wanted these aromas to complement great rum – said Cyril Laudet from Armagnac house Laballe, where he is currently in charge of cellars and barrels.
Callum A. Fraser
– We received a variety of casks, all with fantastic quality rums. Our whiskey ages almost exclusively in sherry casks, so aromas and a lot of sweetness in taste are similar to rum; there are more similarities between Dictador rums and our whiskey. The effect of our cooperation was sure to be good. Rum distilled in 1978 was poured into our barrel previously used for 30-year-old whiskey – said Callum A. Fraser from Glenfarclas.

    The first bottles will be put on sale in June.   The edition is a very limited offering and it will reach only the best distributors announced Marcin Tukasiewicz, sales manager in Dictador Europe.   Every bottle is featured by the fingerprint of two masters, Hernan Parra from Dictador and the master who agreed to undertake the cooperation in the aging of rums. The presented collection of six bottles is in fact just the beginning of the project planned for many years. Each of our partners received ten bottles, and apart from producers from France and Scotland presented during the conference, there will also be expressions of rums from casks after sherry and port wine, as well tequila, mezcal, bourbon and even Chinese baijiu.
Here are the impressions after the first meeting with the series Dictador 2 Masters.
Dictador 1978 Finish 2 months in cognac cask Hardy (41%)
After 40 years of aging in Colombia, the rum made its way for two months to old cognac casks, from Limousin oak. A lot of sweetness, raisins, dates, tobacco, leather. In mouth simultaneously sweet and dry, very leathery, tobacco, bitter tea, and the finish with dark chocolate and dried fruits and nuts.
Dictador 1978 Finish 4 months in French oak Leclerc Briant (44%)
After 40 years of aging in Colombia, the rum was put for four months to champagne casks, made of Tronçais oak, earlier used to mature Moscatel wines. The aroma is as lively as champagne bubbles. A lot of yeast, grapes. Very interesting. Enters mouth with sweet tea, still a lot of yeast, a lot of grapes, still very fresh. Only the finish features heavy notes, mainly tobacco and leather, a bit of burnt wood or well-baked bread crust.

Dictador 1976 Finish 4 months in chêne noir gascon Laballe (46%)
After 41 years of aging in Colombia, rum was put for four months to black Gascony oak, casks previously used for Armagnac. In the nose: yeast, leather, tobacco, bitter black tea. In mouth the sweetness of date, even honey, broken with the bitterness of tobacco. Finish with dark coffee and raisins.

Dictador 1980 Finish 4 months in French oak Chateau d’Arche (45%)
After 37 years of aging in Colombia, the rum spent four months in cask after Sauternes wine. Sweet cherries in liqueur, pears, apples, plums. In mouth also a lot of fruit, but dried: fruits and nuts, raisins, dried apricots. Finished with sweet tobacco, a note of cinnamon, tea.

Dictador 1980 Finish 4 months in French oak Thibault Despagne (45%)
After 37 years of aging in Colombia, the rum was placed for four months to the cask after Bordeaux wine from Entre-Deux-Mers appellation. In nose: cocoa, sweet milk chocolate, raisins, date, apricot, Williams pear. The most subtle aroma of all these rums. In mouth sweetness, dried fruit and nuts, walnuts; finishes with prunes, leather, tea.

Dictador 1972 Finish 4 months in 3rd fill sherry cask Glenfarclas (45%)
After 45 years of aging in Colombia, the rum was put for four months to casks previously used for Scottish single malt whiskey, filled for the third time, earlier used for maturing of sherry. In nose sweet chocolate and cocoa, cherries in chocolate. In mouth delicate, still a lot of cherries and cocoa, hazelnuts, sweet coffee with milk. Subtle finish, still dominated by cherries in chocolate.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Why Distilleries Are Using Reggae to Musically Mature Their Spirits

     Distilleries in the US are using reggae, hip-hop and blues to soothe their spirits and enhance the natural barrel-ageing process to create “musically matured” whiskies, Bourbons and rums.  Different musical genres are believed to influence the maturation process differently, creating varying degrees of interaction between the liquid and wood. Credit: Dark Island.    Among the distilleries to have taken up the practice is Copper Kings in Louisville, Kentucky, which produces American craft brandy. It plays music through a set of subwoofers into its barrel room, which the team believes alters the evolution of a spirits in barrel
     While it might seem fanciful, the science behind it does hold some weight, and it makes sense that increased vibrations within a barrel could alter the ageing process.  Explaining the concept of “sonic ageing”, the team states: “We have five major sub-woofers in our basement maturation cellar. The principle of Sonic Aging (maturation) is not vibration but pulsation. We pulse (a bass note in particular) music through the cellar.

     “The alcohol molecule being less dense than a water molecule starts to move away from the pulse and collide with other alcohol molecules inside the barrels which eventually collide with the barrel wall, they slide up the wall, which starts to create a ‘distillate wave’ inside the barrel resulting in increased frequency of contact over time between the distillate with the barrel walls and in our opinion enhances maturation. And at the very least, happy brandy makes for happy drinking.”

      Similarly, Dark Island in New York also musically mature their spirits, believing that the vibrations encourage greater interaction between the liquid and the barrel.  Explaining their reasoning, the team points toward the whiskies and rums of the 1700s, which it says historians agree to be among the best ever produced.  The common factor it says was that such expressions were transported by wagon train or in the hull of a ship over a period of three to five months, with the liquid constantly moving throughout that time.

     Some years ago in Miami, I visited the Miami Club Distillery, they were placing their rum in large
stainless steel vats with pieces of American oak with slits cut all the way around and playing reggae music loudly outside of the vats causing the sound waves to move the rum through the wooden slats.

     “Consumers found that these transported spirits had much more depth of flavor and smoothness compared to the products that were statically aged,” states Dark Island. “With this knowledge, we set forth to develop a technology to move our spirits.”

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Bahama Bob's Honey Pina

     Give this idea a try one afternoon this summer.  It is a somewhat sweet afternoon cocktail that you can enjoy on the patio, boat or for a picnic.  It brings the flavors and sweetness of pineapple and honey together with the tingle of cinnamon.  It is easy to make, and really tasty for the hot afternoons.

Bahama Bob's Honey Pina
  • 2 oz.Ron Matusalem Platino Rum
  • 2 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 1 oz. Honey Syrup
  • 1 Burnt Cinnamon Stick
Place all ingredients except the cinnamon stick in a 12 ounce glass filled with ice. Shake until chilled and mixed and float burnt cinnamon stick on the top.

Bahama Bob’s Honey Syrup

In a sauce pan, place equal parts of honey and water, bring it to a biol, stirring until the honey is all dissolved. turn down and simmer for about two to three minutes.   Allow to cool and place in a suitable container and keep refrigerated until you use it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Ron del Barrilito Launches 35 Year Old Five Star Rum

Ron del Barrilito Five Stars Rum
     Puerto Rican rum brand Ron del Barrilito has launched a new blend that contains liquid aged for   There will only be 2,500 bottles of Ron del Barrilito Five Stars will be released.    Ron del Barrilito Five Stars will be released, making it the first limited edition bottling from the brand in its 138 year history.   The first 200 bottles of Ron del Barrilito Five Stars will be individually numbered and presented in a wooden chasks for up to 35 years in previously occupied Oloroso Sherry casks.

     The first impression of Ron del Barrilito Five Stars is the aromas of “plums, bananas, almonds, vanilla, and caramelized sugar cane”, while the palate has a “natural sweetness and smoky wood finish”.   Master blender, Luis Planas, said, “Ron del Barrilito is much more than a fine aged rum, Ron del Barrilito Five Stars has been conceived for the rum connoisseur, who collects high-quality spirits and savors them for their careful craftsmanship.”  The limited edition expression has been bottled at , 86 Proof, 43% abv and will be available from August, carrying a recommended retail price of $750.00 for a 750ml bottle.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Scale of Illicit Alcohol is Higher Than Originally Estimated’

Illicit Alcohol
     The scale of illicit alcohol consumption is “much higher than previous global estimates”, with one in every two drinks coming from the black market in some countries, a new report has discovered.   Illicit alcohol is rife in poor communities around the world.  According to the Alcohol in the Shadow Economy report by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), illicit alcohol is particularly widespread in low- and middle-income countries.  The report, which uses data from 26 countries compiled by Euromonitor, also found that the majority of alcohol consumed is illicit in five out of seven African countries.   IARD is calling on regulated producers, governments, and communities to create partnerships to tackle harmful drinking.

Alcohol from the Shadows
     “This report shows that in many developing countries, much of the alcohol consumed is illicit. This is bad for health, bad for governments and bad for business,” said Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes, who is also chair of IARD’s CEO Group.  “It is critical that governments create an environment where legal businesses can thrive and avoid punitive regulation that creates unintended consequences, including driving consumers to unregulated channels that endanger public health.”  The report highlighted recent news that almost 150 Indonesian people died from alcohol poisoning in early 2018 caused by drinking bootleg spirit containing mosquito repellent.   Across 18 countries assessed in the report, illicit alcohol represents a combined US$1.8 billion fiscal loss.  IARD CEO, said “Tackling harmful use of alcohol requires a collaborative and united response from public, private and not-for-profit sectors. But these partnerships can only thrive when there is a broad and regulated private sector able to play its role in improving health and tackling harmful drinking.”

     Alcohol in the Shadow Economy outlines several successful partnerships to combat the black market, including a code for shebeens, which are informal outlets selling alcohol, predominantly in South Africa.   The development of affordable and safe alternative beers in Kenya, Mozambique and South Africa; and a police initiative to engage with local villagers in India for the purpose of targeting racketeers.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Domaine Select Acquires the Super Premium Rum Brand Atlántico

Atlantico Platino

     Domaine Select Wine & Spirits, the craft wine and spirits importer, announces it has assumed worldwide management of Atlántico Rum. Atlántico, launched in 2008, is an award-winning line of super-premium rums made in the Dominican Republic. As part of the deal, Domaine Select has taken over the day-to-day sales, marketing and operations associated with the importation and exportation of the brand from Atlántico Rum co-founders, Aleco Azqueta and Brandon Lieb.

     “We are strong believers in the super-premium rum category and have been closely following the success of Atlántico for some time,” said Paolo Domeneghetti, Domaine Select’s founder. “We are thrilled to bring on Atlántico as it fits beautifully within our portfolio of craft spirits, and we are excited to begin working with Atlántico’s international distribution network.”  “This is an incredible day for Atlántico Rum,” said Brandon Lieb. “Our goal has always been to introduce unique, well made products that allow people to see rum in a different light. Domaine Select shares our vision for the brand and is the ideal company to take it to new heights. We couldn’t be more excited to see Atlántico continue to develop under their guidance.”

Atlantico Product Line
     Atlántico’s product line, consisting of Platino, Reserva and Gran Reserva, is available throughout the U.S. and in nearly a dozen international markets. Dynamic growth is planned with current distribution partners in the U.S. and further international growth will be an important part of the brand strategy. Additionally, Domaine Select plans on releasing Limited Edition offerings soon.
      Domaine Select Wine & Spirits, founded in 1999 is dedicated to wines and artisanal spirits of the highest quality, demonstrate excellence, tremendous character and particular to their origin. Domaine Select Wine & Spirits is committed to transmitting the individuality of our producers; expressing diversity, tradition and personality.   Domaine Select Wine & Spirits was named 2010 Importer of the Year by Food & Wine Magazine, was recognition by Wine & Spirits Magazine as a Top Importer of 2016 and was nominated by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as 2016 Importer of the Year.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Welcome to Taunton Massachusetts

One of the fun things about visiting southeastern Massachusetts is seeing all of the historic buildings in the area.  This is City Hall in Taunton, built in 1896.  This building has such wonderful colonial style and always a welcoming sight as you drive up Highway 44 into town.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Panama Aged Rum Arrives in Global Markets

Kuna Panamanian Rum
     Mauritius-based Lookout Group has launched an eight-year-old Panamanian rum brand, called   Kuna is an aged rum from Panama.    The expression is made using sugarcane from Panama, which is fermented and distilled during the country’s dry season – December to April – before being aged for eight years in ex-Bourbon casks.  The rums are then blended and aged for a further six months in French oak barrels, which produces “sweet and subtle smoky aromas with a hint of red fruit and a smooth character”.

     Kuna is named after one of Panama’s oldest communities, with packaging inspired by the tribe’s famous ‘Mola’ textile art.  “Kuna provides a distinctive rum experience that blends contemporary feel with craftsmanship.”  To support the launch, Lookout Group has launched a campaign that “taps into the worlds of music, design and expressive storytelling”.

     The premium rum category continues to gain momentum globally, according to Christophe Aulner, CEO of Lookout Group. “We’re seeing a lot of interest from curious consumers looking for quality drink brands with strong heritage”.   “Kuna provides a distinctive rum experience that blends contemporary feel with craftsmanship.”

     Kuna is available globally at an from $49.00 to $52.00 .

Friday, June 22, 2018

Home Again, Home Again, Giggity Gig

Nancy, Cathy, Me and Mom

     Back in Key West, my annual trip to Boston to see my mother is now behind me.  I love to get to see her each year, but driving and dealing with the craziness of the Massachusetts driving is enough to scare me to death.  There is a reason that I live on a 2 by 4 mile island at the end of the Florida Keys.

The Nearly 200 Year Old House
     It is always a fun day wandering around the farm and visiting with my mom.  We had a great time, my two sisters and mom, it was nice to get together again.   The highlight of the trip was the family going to dinner together and just spending some quality time together.  There is even a tom and two hen wild turkeys that frequent the yard every day.

     The other good news is that I survived the highways and made my flight on time at 6:00 am.  The flight to Miami and then on to Key West brought an end to an exciting visit.  Yes, it is good to be home as usual.  It doesn't matter where I travel, be it to the Caribbean  or Boston, it is great to be back to my favorite place on earth.

Wild Turkeys in the Yard

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Two Rums Make the Top Ten in Growth for 2017

     Another interesting strong showing by the rum category in a time of very strong whiskey demand in the spirits industry.  These are good brands that are making a good growth showing in this market.  It is always great to see rums doing well in the fastest growth reports.

     The list has been compiled as part of The Spirits Business‘s Brand Champions report, including only brands that sell more than one million nine-liter cases annually.  There are some familiar names in this latest round-up, a number of brands have managed to sustain their impressive trajectory for yet another year.  While the fastest­ growing spirits brands span all types of categories, price points and geographies, most seem to be smaller-­scale, at least among the ranks of million-­case brands.

# 9 Ron Medellin Rum
Fabrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia-­owned brand Ron Medellin achieved impressive double-­digit growth of 2017.  Made in Colombia, Ron Medellin is predominantly consumed in Latin America. Its core range consists of a 12- and an eight-year-old expression.  These are fine rums that are great to be enjoyed either neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.

# 7 Tanduay Rum
The world’s best-selling rum brand, Tanduay, achieved huge growth in 2017 to reach 19.5m cases. The Philippine rum brand surpassed Bacardi in the volume of sales with an impressive increase of 17.5%, the most of any rum brand among the million-case sellers.  Tanduay rum also signed a multi-year partnership to become the Official Rum of the Brooklyn Nets, an NBA team, in April last year. The deal comes as Tanduay looks to boost its business in the US.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library

    The Ernest Hemingway Collection at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is the most comprehensive set of archives in the world.  It is the essential source for anyone that is interested in an in depth study of Ernest Hemingway and his writings.  There are personal papers, nearly 11,000 photographs of Hemingway and a collection of his family’s personal papers as well.

Pilar Hemingway's Beloved Fishing Yacht
     When Ernest Hemingway died in 1961, a very big portion of his literary and personal estate remained at Finca Vigia, his Cuban Home.   Despite a U.S. ban on travel to Cuba – the result of high tensions between the two countries following the Bay of Pigs incident – President Kennedy was able to make arrangements for Mary Hemingway, Ernest’s widow, to enter Cuba to claim family documents and belongings.  While in Cuba Mary Hemingway met with Fidel Castro who allowed her to take her husband’s papers and artwork, in exchange for the donation of their home and the remaining belongings to the people of Cuba., Finca Vigia.  Included was his beloved fishing yacht Pilar in the exchange.  It has been restored for a second time and is on display on the tennis court at Finca Vigia.

Ernest and Pauline in Key West
     Nearly 2500 digital scans of the author’s materials housed at his house in San Francisco de Paula outside of Havana have been made available in print form.  This material has never been seen outside of Cuba prior to this release.  There are a number of interesting items including, letters, passports, telegrams, household accounts, bar bills, recipes, and a notebook of hurricane observations.  There are so many other items included that I don’t have the space to mention. All of these items were made available under an agreement with the Cuban Council of National Heritage trough the efforts of the U.S. Finca Vigia Foundation.

     Unfortunately, I was not aware that you have to make an appointment to get into the Hemingway collection, thus I was not able to personally view the collection. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cruzan Rum Launches Disaster Relief Fund

     In response to devastation caused by last year’s Hurricane Maria, Cruzan Rum has launched the Island Spirit Fund to support disaster relief efforts in the US Virgin Islands and across the US. The Beam Suntory-owned brand has pledged to donate $1.00 from every case of rum sold to the Island Spirit Fund, which will be used to help rebuild communities affected by storms.  The brand expects to raise almost $1 million for the Island Spirit Fund through its donation scheme this year alone.  Furthermore, several distribution partners have agreed to match Cruzan Rum’s donations, bringing the expected total to $2 million by the end of 2018.
     Gary Nelthropp, Cruzan Rum’s master distiller, said: “Last year, our home island of St Croix faced many challenges in the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria, but the resiliency of the Crucian people and our sense of community never wavered.  “That’s what we like to call our ‘island spirit’, and I’m honored to help extend this spirit to others in a sustainable and ongoing way through the fund, ensuring that no community, near of far, weathers a storm alone.” 
     To establish the fund, Cruzan Rum has partnered with Global Giving, a non-profit organization that works to connect donors with grassroots projects around the world.  The Island Spirit Fund will offer disaster relief through grants to local organizations working on the ground in affected areas.  It will prioritise short-term recovery and long-term stability projects, including environmental rebuilding, community planning and workforce development and job creation.
     Rashidi Hodari, vice president, marketing, Cruzan Rum, said: “We’re incredibly humbled by the way our distributor partners have stepped up to further our efforts.  “Our roots in the Caribbean run deep and by joining together, we’re able to provide much needed physical and emotional support beyond the initial days, weeks and months following the disaster.” Cruzan Rum was forced to shut down temporarily in 2017 due to damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

Monday, June 18, 2018

SPI Group Acquires Louisiana Spirits and Bayou Rum

SPI Group, affiliate of Stoli Group, today announced that it's taken on complete ownership of Bayou Rum and its award winning line of handcrafted Louisiana Rums.

     SPI Group announced it has fully acquired Louisiana Spirits, the makers of Bayou Rum, per a release. SPI Group purchased a majority stake in the company (72.5%) in June 2016. You may recall, at the same time its subsidiary Stoli Group USA took over US distribution of the Bayou Rum brand, marking the company's first foray into craft spirits. No purchase price was disclosed.

     “We thank Skip Cortese and Trey and Tim Litel, the founders of Louisiana Spirits and Bayou Rum, for creating a spirit with such a fantastic heritage and high-quality taste, we are committed to the Louisiana roots that they established seven years ago,” said Hugues Pietrini, global president and CEO of Stoli Group. “Bayou Rum is a premium range that is primed for significant distribution growth in the U.S. and globally. This acquisition will allow our team to take this brand to the next level, working with the distillery team on new ranges, increasing volumes and becoming a true player in the rum category.” 
     "This acquisition will allow our team to take this brand to the next level, working with the distillery on new ranges, increasing volumes and becoming a true player in the rum category," says SPI Group global president and CEO Hugues Pietrini.  Hugues adds that the portfolio is "primed for significant distribution growth in the US and globally." After being named “Best Large-Scale Visitor Center” in Drinks International’s 2017 Distillery Experience Challenge, the Bayou Rum distillery broke ground last summer on an expansion, adding a barrel library, an event space and an outdoor entertainment venue, valued at more than $6 million.

     SPI Group is also in the middle of a $6 million expansion project for the Louisiana Spirits facility, adding a barrel library, event space and outdoor entertainment venue [see WSD 11-30-2017].   Moreover, SPI Group is currently tangled up in a lawsuit with Louisiana Spirits founders LSBR. You may recall, LSBR claims SPI Group breached their contract, but SPI says the accusations are "baseless" 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Hemingway's Boat Pilar

     These days I get to spend a lot of time at the Hemingway Rum Company as a Rum Maker.  The rum that is sold there is called Papa's Pilar, a name taken from a combination of the name that he was affectionately known as during 1939 through 1960 the years that he called Cuba home.   The boat itself is in pretty good condition for its age, delivered April 18, 1934 and today it is 84 years old.  You can see it sitting on the tennis court at Finca la Vagia just outside of Havana, Cuba.  If you take the trip to Havana, Finca la Vagia is worth the taxi ride to see the entire museum, his house has pretty much just like it was when he left it for good on July 25, 1960

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The United States Top Five States That Like to Drink

     New research has revealed where to find the biggest drinkers in the USA.   The study, carried out by gambling website PlayUSA, looks into the number of times Americans have used the internet to search for places to drink alcohol in their state over the past month, taking in a total of 823 million search entries on websites such as Google and Yahoo.   The data takes into account both the number of overall searches, but also the total population of individual states, offering a new perspective on the nation’s drinking habits and go-to destinations for a night out.
     Despite ranking as the state with the most searches, notorious tourist hotspot California’s larger population means that, proportionately, locals are not more inclined to head out to a bar. California ranked in 10th place for drinking searches, behind Maryland and New Jersey.
The ultimate in ‘happy drunks’, 2.48% of Minnesotans fall into this drinking category. Just over 136,000 people have searched for drinking spots in Minnesota online in recent months.  2.57% of Massachusetts residents like to get drunk at the weekends and evenings, according to search data.  Oregon ranks as the USA’s third thirstiest state, with residents researching nights out at least 115,800 times each month.   Colorado staggers in in second place, with 3.16% of Colorado inhabitants googling for alcohol, equating to just over 175,000 searches.   Somewhat unsurprisingly, New Yorkers top the list, racking up over half a million drinking-related searches in just one month.
     Not seeing Florida in the top five really surprises, with the large number of tourists that live on their phones looking for places to party, especially in the beach towns.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Rum Sales Leader Board Changes Again

     Philippine brand Tanduay has overtaken Bacardi to become the world’s best-selling rum brand after reporting 17.5% growth last year.  The Asian rum’s sales hit 19.5 million cases in 2017, while Bacardi’s fell 2.7% to 16.8 million cases, according to Brand Champions data published by The Spirits Business magazine.  In 2016, Bacardi lead the world in sales with 2 million cases, while Tanduay was in second place with 16.6 million cases.  In recent years, Bacardi has shifted its focus to more premium positioning, in April this year.

     The Brand Champions report analyses the case sales of the world’s best-selling spirits, awarding the ‘Brand Champion’ title to high-performing products within each category. Data published in the report shows a mixed performance for brands across the rum category in 2017.  According to figures from market researcher provider Euromonitor, total rum sales increased 0.7% in 2017 to 144m cases.

 (Figures in million 9 liter case sales)

Tanduay Distillers
McDowell’s No.1 Rum
United Spirits
Captain Morgan
Havana Club
Pernod Ricard
Ron Barceló
Radico Khaitan
Ron Medellin
Fabrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia
Old Port Rum
Amrut Distillers
Appleton Estate
Gruppo Campari
Stock Spirits Group
Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
William Grant & Sons
La Martiniquaise-­Bardinet