Could you elaborate on the newly released Barceló Blanco Añejado? What are the trends in demand and what was the overall reaction of the market?
The new product was launched in April 2014, catering to the huge market in the Dominican Republic, where standard white accounts for 50%. We basically needed something to compete in the white segment, but we were driven to do it with a product with unique characteristics that coincides with our innovative philosophy and the consumers' appreciation for value-added attributes. In our case an avant-garde packaging and a perfect blend of naturally aged rums became our milestone. Our purpose is to reach a leading position in this segment and, therefore, match our heritage obtained in the premium dark segment.
What other milestones has BEICA reached in 2014?
Becoming the fifth brand by volume in the global rum market, within a decade has been our biggest satisfaction. To sustain and improve this position is our most inspiring challenge. It is relevant to highlight that the most significant rum players are Indian and Philippine rum brands that are produced exclusively for domestic consumption. Respectively, the second and third biggest rum brands by volume are sold in these two countries. However, due to their value positioning and lack of international exposure we do not consider them as our competitors. Amongst other significant achievements, we attained 80% of the premium market in the Dominican Republic, achieved a leading position in Spain and Chile, and are the only Dominican rum brand to have a fully integrated production process starting with the harvest of our own sugar cane and ending with internationally awarded spirits. We have reached export levels of 1.5 million cases, which makes Ron Barceló the fourth largest export rum brand in the world.
What are your main exports markets at present?
We export 60% of our production, and of the products dedicated to exports 50% go to Spain, while Chile is the second market. In both these markets, Ron Barceló occupies a leading position. The US, Russia, Peru, Germany, and Honduras are also major export destinations in our portfolio. For the moment, we are not looking for new markets, specifically, but rather we are focused on improving our standing in markets in which we are already present. We are more motivated to attain a solid position in the US, Russia, Germany, Canada, and China. These are five key markets that we would like to add to the pillars of our international distribution.
You mentioned that 40% of production is consumed in the Dominican Republic. Do you see the room for the further growth of local demand?
The rum market in the Dominican Republic has been stable in terms of volume for the past few years. Even though the whiskey market has decreased against premium rum preference I do not really think that the Dominican Republic can consume much more rum than it does today. The Dominican Republic ranks fifth in the world in absolute numbers. Just after the US, India, the Philippines, and Cuba. In per capita terms, it occupies second place after Cuba.
How is BEICA responding to positive trends in the Dominican Republic's tourism industry?
We cater to tourists through our “Barceló Route," which enables visitors to be exposed to the complete process of Ron Barceló production. From the sugar cane plantation, through to how it is cut, how alcohol is obtained out of sugar cane juice, the processes of fermentation, distillation, and the art of natural aging. The tour starts in our distillery where an original sugar cane cart, adapted to accommodate our visitors, does a 20-minute ride, while our personnel explain the particularities of production. This ride is followed by a walk through our Ron Barceló Museum, which is a permanent exhibition of antique and modern tools, machinery, and techniques open to the public five days per week. Our museum is located within our elaboration plant facilities, so visitors are also introduced to the manufacturing process.