Barbadian rum continues to be in high demand in the overseas markets. Another one of this island’s renowned makers of rum is reporting a favourable performance in exports over the past 16 months despite several periods of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Guillaume Lamy, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Maison Ferrand, parent company of the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD), attributed a lot of the continued strong performance to dedication of the workers and the fact that sales of alcoholic beverages were permitted in the export markets.
“The last year has been very complicated for a lot of us, and after many months of isolation, we are now experiencing a new beginning and it is happening worldwide, keeping all of us very busy, including rum producers – our sales and marketing teams all over the world,” said Lamy. WIRD is the producer of the Cockspur
Rum, Plantation Rum and Stade’s brands. Maison Ferrand currently exports Barbados produced rum to 117 countries. Lamy said the US and Europe were the main export markets for the products.
Though unable to say exactly how much imports increased by over the past year-and-a-half, Lamy told Today’s BUSINESS the “great network of customers worldwide is well-maintained by soldiers and passionate people that have a profound respect for the product that they sell”. “Our production team at West Indies Rum Distillery has been extremely busy because we have been experiencing great success for the last year in exporting rum. This is a sector that has been working extremely well.
The market of beverages in the US was actually an essential business for the federal government along with the banks and hospitals. We actually increased our exports when, unfortunately, some other companies did not have that chance,” he reported. He was responding to questions recently during a joint media briefing with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus to announce a new internship programme that will see three students gaining valuable work experience at different Maison Ferrand locations.
This year two of them will intern in the US and one in London, where they will receive training in the areas of sales, marketing, brand-building and inventory management in the export spirits industry from September 1 to November 30. Lamy made it clear that WIRD was in Barbados for the long-haul, declaring “we are here for the long-term. West Indies Rum Distillery has been here since 1893 and it is not going anywhere”.
This comes two months after officials of Mount Gay, another leading rum producer in Barbados, reported that despite the closure of hotels, bars and party spots locally and regionally, the consumption of alcoholic beverages among individuals remained steady since more people were drinking at home. Managing Director of Mount Gay Rum Distilleries Limited Raphaël Grisoni told Today’s BUSINESS that while the Caribbean market did struggle somewhat with sales of alcoholic beverages, overseas markets saw an uptick.
“There was effectively a positive trend on the consumption of spirit. People were consuming at home instead of going out. So the sales for supermarkets were going,” said Grisoni who is a board director of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA). “
For Mount Gay specifically, more in the US and Western Europe, we saw some nice growth in our business in those countries, like also in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.