GET YOUR #pinoypride engines roaring, people — Tanduay Distillers Inc., overtook Bacardi as the world’s bestselling rum brand. Tanduay sold 19.5 million cases of rum last year said a story on BusinessWorld on June 14. Here’s the catch: apparently, the export segment represented less than 1% of total sales, so it can be inferred that a large chunk of those 19.5 million cases were consumed in the country. Take that, Filipino livers.
According to Paul Lim, AVP for Marketing for Tanduay Distillers Inc., almost 90% of that figure was local sales. He also noted that the top three spirits manufacturers in the Philippines are also included in the world’s top ten. “Ganoon kalakas ang mga Pinoy uminom (That’s how much Filipinos like to drink),” said Mr. Lim.
Mr. Lim talked to BusinessWorld during the launch of a new Tanduay product earlier this week, a whisky called Embassy.
Several components of the whisky are imported from a wide range of sources, from Scotland to Singapore, said Gem Leonard Boy, Junior Brand Manager for the whisky. It is finished and blended, then bottled in the Philippines. Some components are also distilled here (such as the sugarcane alcohol that goes into it).
“The transition from rum to whisky isn’t really that hard,” said Mr. Boy, citing the quality of the company’s people and the quality of its facilities in Laguna.
As for the product itself, it has an oaky aroma with a slight hint of wood and tobacco. It’s very drinkable — quite sweet actually. It’s akin to the honey blends that bourbon brands are releasing, but there’s at least a slight hint of pepper and heat at the end.
Dalmore, makers of some of the world’s most expensive single malts, made headlines a few years ago when its holding company was bought by Filipino company Emperador Inc. Tanduay did no such thing in the preparation of Embassy, and, as mentioned above, simply brought all the components for it to be blended in its local facilities.
When asked why an established rum brand like Tanduay might venture into the more competitive world of whisky, Mr. Lim said, “Consumers today are willing to try different types of spirits.” — Joseph L. Garcia