Interview

Miguel Smith

Hello to all, here is a small interview of Miguel Smith, brand ambassador for Mount Gay, probably one of the oldest distillery in the world. Since 1703, rum are made at Mount Gay and their juice are exported in more than 110 countries in the world. Since 1989, it’s the property of the Rémy Cointreau group.

Could you introduce yourself and explain us your work at Mount Gay ?

My name is Miguel Smith , Global Brand Ambassador for Mount Gay. My role is educating our consumers about rum, BUT my passion is telling the story of rum from the perspective of Mount Gay and continuing the genuine rum tradition.

Mount Gay is the oldest rum distillery in activities in the world, how do you manage this legacy since Remy Cointreau is the owner ?

Remy Cointreau continues to be a great supporter of the traditions of rum production in Barbados.

Its global footprint as a producer of premium products also allowed the wider world to experience Mount Gay. Integrity and transparency are at the root of everything we have done and continue to do at Mount Gay.

Could you explain us the range of rum from now and how is the view of the market for you?

Our core range is made up of Eclipse, Black Barrel, XO and 1703 Master Select.

We also have limited edition releases annually expressed as the Master Blender Collection. Most recently our Pot Still Rum.

This wide variety allows us to offer mixable, versatile introductions to the rum category followed by iconic sipping expressions and finally limited offerings for connoisseurs and avid dark spirit collectors.

Do you think that rum geek need more complex rum, more informations (marks, blending infos etc..) ? Do you feel the world of rum is slightly changing ? How do you manage this new “public”?

The ‘rum geek’ is a small part of the rum universe we are engaging with but they do hold a strong voice.

At Mount Gay we challenge ourselves to make the best rum in the world. The pursuit and ‘burden’ of this is not a task we take lightly or for granted.

I think education and transparency is integral to the return to greatness that the rum category deserves. The category is transforming however there still remains some ambiguity so our challenge is to stay the course and continue to do what we have always done.

That is to make REAL Barbados rum as best we can and still produce interesting marques that the emerging consumer will like.

Could you introduce what’s coming new this year?

Despite everything happening in the world, we have a lot to share this year and we’re thrilled.

We’re in the middle of a full brand reset that takes us in a new strategic direction to position Mount Gay as the leader in high-end, authentic rum.

A big statement, but one we believe is as the world’s oldest running rum distillery, operating for more than 300 years.

As part of our initiative, we’ve revamped the look of our portfolio and have enriched our Black Barrel and XO blends crafted by Trudiann Branker, our newly appointed master blender.

To support the relaunch, we’ll explore what makes us ‘More Than a Rum’ through our heritage and terroir and we’ll honour our expertise and the people who make Mount Gay every day through education, sampling and activations.

Barbados Rum are trying to put a GI for their production, I think your position seems to be
nearly the same with Foursquare and St. Nicholas Abbey. What is your feeling about the view of Wird and Plantation ?

Our position is clear. Barbados Rum has to be made and produced entirely in Barbados.

This includes all distillation processes and maturation on the island. We are aligned with Foursquare and St. Nicholas Abbey in these respects, and together we hold over 90% of the island’s aged rum reserves.

What do you think of this GI without having 100% molasse from barbados for example ?

This is a moot argument as only St. Nicholas Abbey uses solely Barbados molasses/cane syrup.

The GI does not call for the use of 100% Barbados molasses. This argument is a distraction as it would be impossible to maintain the rum industry in Barbados especially for bulk producers like WIRD.

and how do you see this GI ?

The GI is INTEGRAL and necessary to protect REAL Barbados rum’s rich and proven history of rum production as well as a marque of quality and value that has been gained after doing so for more than 300 years.

The framework must not be able to be diluted or open for interpretation and change ad hoc. Otherwise why have one?

Last question, about Caroni Distillery. I like to know how was your feeling about this closed distillery, how do you like or not those rums and what’s your feeling about all this hype around them.

I don’t know them well enough to make a considered judgement but it’s a sad day to see a distillery close, whether a renowned one like Caroni, or a relatively unknown rum maker.

Rum making is a business of course, but it’s also heart and soul. Having to shut your doors is a heavy decision.
 
Unfortunately, most of their rum is out of my budget, and my feeling about rum is to crack open a bottle and enjoy, share it with friends and make memories. For me, it’s less about collecting expensive bottles, but I can understand why some people do!

Thanks a lot Miguel, see you soon !

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