To say that rum has a dark history would be an understatement. Much like Kentucky bourbon, Caribbean rum has its very foundations in African slavery. Rum was created by enslaved Africans from the by-products of sugar production and then hijacked by white colonists as a commodity to export. Most brand names reflect some aspect of rum’s history, from pirates and seafaring to the island-based locations of distilleries themselves. Plantation Rum was a bit of an outlier in this regard, as it was named after the French word for “planting” or “farm.” Still, the name cannot escape the association with a historical agricultural system that directly profited off of slavery.
As conversations around racism and police violence continue globally, the French-owned company behind Plantation announced this week that they’d be taking steps to change the name of their rum expressions. “As the dialogue on racial equality continues globally, we understand the hurtful connotation the word plantation can evoke to some people,” Alexandre Gabriel, Plantation’s master blender, said in a press statement. “Especially in [Plantation’s] association with much graver images and dark realities of the past.”
Plantation Rum, while a French shingle, is mostly from West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados, and also from distilleries in Jamaica, Trinidad, Peru, and Fiji where the rum is distilled and aged. The rum is then blended and finished by Maison Ferrand, a premiere Cognac maker in France. It’s a truly international brand with an 80 country reach, making this shift a far-reaching move sure to make waves across the industry.
Stephanie Simbo, Plantation’s Global Brand Manager, adds, “We pride ourselves on making delicious rum for people to enjoy and never want any part of their experience to create feelings of discomfort. To that end, we want to be on the side of actions and solutions.”
The new name for the rum has not been decided on yet. But, it’s expected to arrive globally as soon as an appropirate rebranding is decided on.
(Via The Spirits Business)