After more than twenty years of building the Plantation Rum name brand, Maison Ferrand today announced the brand’s name will “evolve” in the coming months and years. Plantation Rum Master Blender Alexandre Gabriel stated “As the dialogue on racial equality continues globally, we understand the hurtful connotation the word plantation can evoke to some people, especially in its association with much graver images and dark realities of the past.”
Awhile back I read Osayi Endolyn’s Southern Foodways Alliance’s Gravy article “Distilled Identity” where she discussed her feelings about the Plantation brand name so she asked Maison Ferrand’s Gabriel how he reconciled the brand’s name with rum’s history (Sugar trade, colonialism, slavery, etc.). In the article Alexandre admits “I’m still wrestling with it, to tell you the truth.”
If you’ve not read Osayi’s article, I recommend you do. To me helps lend insight on today’s announcement.
Press Release from Maison Ferrand:
Bonbonnet, France (June 29, 2020) – Plantation Rum announces today that its brand name will evolve. The brand pledges to work with its stakeholders on this initiative and will communicate more specific details at a later date. Plantation Rum confirms that its rum production methods and the liquid inside the bottle will not change.
“As the dialogue on racial equality continues globally, we understand the hurtful connotation the word plantation can evoke to some people, especially in its association with much graver images and dark realities of the past,” said Alexandre Gabriel, Plantation Rum Master Blender. “We look to grow in our understanding of these difficult issues and while we don’t currently have all the details of what our brand name evolution will involve, we want to let everyone know that we are working to make fitting changes.”
The Plantation portfolio is a collection of award-winning rums, several of which are produced at the company’s West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados. Alexandre Gabriel, with the help of a loyal and dedicated team, has grown this family business over the last 30-plus years to exemplify creativity, teamwork and inclusiveness across all departments.
“We consider our company’s cultural diversity a fundamental strength,” said Angelique Jullienne, Marketing and Communications Director. “We have always drawn on our multi-culturalism to guide our actions, our communications and our relationships with customers and colleagues around the world. We strongly affirm our policy that everyone associated with Plantation Rum and West Indies Rum Distillery is treated with respect and dignity.”
More than ever, Plantation understands that this is a time for global reflection and a moment to improve ourselves and the communities we live in. As a company, Plantation strives to support a better future and to show support for communities everywhere.
“We pride ourselves on making delicious rum for people to enjoy and never want any part of their experience to create feelings of discomfort,” said Stephanie Simbo, Plantation Rum Global Brand Manager. “To that end, we want to be on the side of actions and solutions. As you can imagine, evolving a brand name is a significant undertaking for a family business like ours. We humbly ask that everyone have patience as we move to make these changes as quickly as possible.”
The Plantation brand is available in more than 80 countries and has won countless awards and accolades over many years. It is beloved by bartenders across the world for its exceptional taste and wide array of expressions from some of the most famous rum-producing nations including Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad, Peru and Fiji.
About Plantation Rum
Plantation Rum was created in 1999 and its signature raffia-wrapped bottles can be found on the world’s finest tables and in the most prestigious bars. Resulting from a unique savoir-faire, each bottle showcases the flavors of a specific terroir with fascinating expressions enhanced by a centuries old tradition double ageing technique The Plantation range, through its originality, quality, diversity and innovative techniques inspired by historical research, has won the hearts of rum lovers all over the world. Expressions such as Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple (voted three times “Best spirit in the world”) and Barbados XO 20th Anniversary are now classics.