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Mount Gay Rum records increase in profits


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”.

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