By Alexander Britell
In what could be an industry-shaking move for Caribbean rum and rhum agricole, global spirits firm Campari Group has purchased French company Rhumantilles.
Rhumantilles is the owner of nearly 97 percent of Martinique-based Bellonnie & Bourdillon Successeurs, the owner of French rum brands Trois Rivieres and Maison La Mauny.
The company also owns Duquesne, a rum designed for the local market in Martinique.
In a statement, Campari said the enterprise value of the deal was a little over $66 million USD.
The company said the deal was expected to close during the fourth quarter of this year.
It’s a serious jolt for rhum agricole, which occupies a tiny share of global rum production, producing rum from fresh sugar cane juice as opposed to the vast majority of rums, which are made from molasses.
With strict AOC regulations, Martinique’s rums are arguably among the finest in the world — and the injection of Campari’s financial and marketing might could be a major boost for a sector of the spirits world that is still largely unknown, particularly in the crucial United States market.
Martinique’s nearly dozen working distilleries on a single island are akin to the Napa Valley of Caribbean rum.
While a pair of agricole brands, Martinique’s Rhum JM and Rhum Clement have made serious headway in achieving awareness in the U.S. market, the Campari move could prove to be an important next step.
The acquisition would place the two primary rums alongside another major Caribbean rum brand owned by Campari, Jamaica’s Appleton.
Campari said the move would “add prestigious agricole rum brands to its offering and enhance its exposure to rum, a premiumizing category currently at the heart of the mixology trend and growing cocktail culture.”