Despite depressed economic conditions and less than favourable sales of rum locally, managing director of Mount Gay Distilleries Limited, Raphael Grisoni, is pledging continued investment in the operations here.
He said the company will continue to expand the brand as it seeks to increase export. The company recorded a 14 per cent increase in overall business for the financial year ending March 31, 2014.
“So that is great. We are not complaining. The Barbados market is difficult but we are keeping investment. Keeping investment on the brand itself [and] all the resources [including] the marketing expenses behind the brand. But we are also investing in the sight,” he said, adding that the company recently added a new loading deck to improve and increase productivity.
“We are 80 per cent about export so we need to be very efficient in that regard. So we are keeping permanent investment to also let the property look super premium, but it is not only the quality of product that we are doing but we are crafting fantastic rums. So the product itself is reaching high standards and we need to invest in the people who are doing those products. That is why we are keeping the investment,” Grisoni explained.
The Mount Gay official said the Australian market was a fast growing one with double digit growth over the last two years as the company continued to invest heavily in marketing there. He said other international markets such as Britain and Canada also continued to outperform expectations.
“In terms of growth, we are above Appleton which is a big competitor in Canada so there are lots of positive signs. Our biggest market is the United States. We are keeping strong investment in the US. We launched Black Bottle last year and it is flying,” he said.
Grisoni said the trick to competing against imported rums, especially those out of American markets, was to place strong emphasis on quality and value.
“So raising the profile of the brand, selling more expensive product, probably more complex and more edgy brand in rums with lots of character. And at the end of the day the consumers like it. Personally and as far as Mount Gay is concerned we don’t want to compete with Bacardi or other cheap brands of the world. We are not there. We invented rum so we can deliver as good as the [international top brands],” he said.
Grisoni added that Mount Gay’s vision is to join the super premium brands club as the world’s original rum by 2018.
“To get there we need to have all of our staff behind this vision. For that we need to deliver high performance, which means being efficient and fully engaged,” he said.