Pres Ali urges regional distillers to cooperate, take blends to int’l markets

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), a special rum blend bringing together flavors from around the region was presented, during which President Dr Irfaan Ali urged regional distillers to work together to penetrate international markets.
Caricom celebrated its 50th anniversary on July 4, 2023 and on Monday, a special rum blend was unveiled to belatedly mark this occasion. The rum blend, which was handed over by Guyana’s Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), brings together the flavors of three different rum stills.
According to Caricom Chairman, President Ali, this is one area where regional distillers can work together to penetrate new, international markets. He noted what a collective marketing corporation could achieve.
“One of the things that I believe that Caricom distillers should do, in celebration of their own integration in this 50th year, is to come together and find ways in which, collectively, we can penetrate a regional brand, carrying all our products, in the international market. And that, I think, would help us.”
“Because if we have one marketing corporation or entity, one advertising entity that we collectively hire, to take our collective brand into new markets, then the operational costs come down, the marketing cost comes down, the logistics cost comes down, and it improves our competitiveness,” President Ali said.
The Head of State also made a call for distillers to set up common warehouses and transportation systems, in much the same way as countries in Caricom itself are pursuing regional integration.
“So, if we don’t want to do it for the regional market, we should have a common warehouse, a common transportation system, through which collectively we target the new markets. And I think that is something, Komal, that you guys should get.”
“If you can’t integrate your blend, then you should integrate your ideas and your upbringings in going after new markets, through a collective mechanism that makes you competitive,” the head of state said.
Guyana has already earned almost US$35 Million from rum and spirits exports in 2022 and according to President Ali, this demonstrates how big the industry is locally.
“In Guyana in 2022, exports of bottled rum and spirits earned our country almost US$35 Million. And bulk alcohol brought in export revenue of US$19.3 Million. That tells you how huge the industry is here.”
Producing blend
The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA), was once Chaired by DDL Chairman Komal Samaroo. In his address, Samaroo gave insight into the work that went into producing the blend.
“We started out to think how we could put each one of our products into a final product. And that got nowhere. So, we finally said, let each one of us do our own thing. It shows how difficult integration is. So, one component of this blend is from the Uitvlugt French Saville still. That was a still installed at Uitvlugt over 50 years ago. It operated there. “
“The second component came from the Diamond coffee still. This is a still that is produced in Scotland… and the third one is from the Port Mourant double wooden pot still. This is very unique to Guyana. Nowhere in the world, is a still of this nature existing. Now each one of those three rums are absolutely unique and extraordinary, by themselves. But when they’re combined in this blend, I think it’s the most extraordinary blend.”
Samaroo noted the symbolism with Caricom, which is composed of individually great countries. But he noted that when these countries come together and achieve integration, extraordinary things can be achieved.
Regional integration has been an ongoing effort in Caricom, with countries agreeing on methods of enhancing the integration movement including in transportation. During the recent 46th Regular Meeting of the Conference of the Heads of Government in Georgetown, Guyana, regional integration was a prominent topic of discussion, particularly when it comes to an inter-island ferry service… which is already well advanced and will use the Galleons Passage, a Trinidadian vessel.
Only in March, Regional Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) have agreed to commit US$20 million towards the bank’s Ordinary Capital Strategic Development Programme, which is aimed at accelerating regional integration in the Caribbean under the “One Caribbean” initiative.
“One Caribbean” envisions a region where climate adaptation, disaster risk management and resilience, citizen security, Private Sector engagement in the economy, and food security can all be improved through more digitalisation and strengthening of institutions. (G3)