The Business Year

Winston A. Harrison

CEO, National Rums of Jamaica Ltd.

Jean-Philippe Beyer

Managing Director, J. Wray & Nephew

A combination of first-rate materials, master craftsmanship, and traditional blend techniques are ensuring that Jamaican rum is as sought after today as any time in history.

What have been some recent achievements?

Winston A. Harrison At the beginning of 2018, we set ourselves goals around greater distribution and restarting our Long Pond distillery. While some things took longer than we would have liked, we have mobilized the resources required to meet our targets. Now we are in a mode where we are accelerating to achieve our goals and believe we will; maybe not as lucratively as we had once imagined, but it has still been a creditable performance for the year. As for our long-term success, we use as much local molasses as a major part of our input as we can get. Currently, local molasses supply meets 50-60% of our needs, and we import the remainder. Our goal is to use 100% local molasses, and we are lobbying with the government and different stakeholders such as farmers to produce more local sugar cane. Indeed, we have gotten into producing sugar cane and presently farm about 200ha ourselves.

Jean-Philippe Beyer J. Wray & Nephew Limited is the largest spirits manufacturer and marketer in Jamaica, with a market share of roughly 80% in the rum category, 80% in the fortified wine category, and 100% in bitters. As a result, growing our market share in Jamaica calls for a different approach than the one taken at the group level (50% acquisition and 50% organic growth). Some of our notable highlights in 2018 were the explosive growth of Campari in the Jamaican market, our expansion into exports by investing significantly in our export department, and having talented Jamaicans successfully developing our entire portfolio of brands in the wider Caribbean region, and the success of our rums. Appleton, for example, is one of our six Global Priority brands and has been joined by Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, a unique product that is creating quite a stir among mixologists in different markets globally. This is quite an accomplishment for Jamaica to have two out of six products listed in the Campari Group Global Priority brands.

How do you distinguish yourself in general?

WAH Quality is the hallmark of everything that we do, and one of our competitive advantages is centered on the uniqueness of our location. The water, environment, and everything else here go into the fermentation and distillation of our rums, and there is nowhere else in the world where one can replicate the rums that we produce. Distillers and blenders across the world, from Europe, Canada, the US, the Caribbean, and even locally, purchase rums from us to reblend and create their own. In some cases, they give us the credit because they want to be able to say their rum has a certain amount of Jamaican rum in it. On the other hand, competing globally is difficult because within the Caribbean, and certainly within Jamaica, the cost of production can be a deterrent to manufacturing generally, or distilling rums in our case. Nevertheless, we produce a high-quality product that is extremely sought after, so that despite the challenges of higher manufacturing costs, we are able to command a market on the international scene.

JPB We pride ourselves on delivering premium-quality products and authentic brand experiences. All our brands have a distinct positioning and cater to specific consumer profiles. When consumers taste our rums, for example, we let them know they are consuming a great Jamaican product made from cane to cocktails on the island. They are told the story behind its creation and are educated about what makes it unique and so premium: our heritage, culture, and the best master blender and distiller in the world, the incredible Mrs. Joy Spence. It is also important to know that when it comes to Appleton Rum, when we say on our bottles that our rum is 21 years old, for example, it means that the youngest rum in the blend is truly 21 years old. So our differentiation strategies are simple—showcase our authentic quality products, educate our consumers, and make sure we deliver an excellent experience.



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