[10 years of Rumporter] Christian de Montaguère, wine merchant: Paris

20 personalities decipher the last 10 years, and provide food for thought for the next 10.

Christian de Montaguère

How has the rum market changed over the last 10 years?

Quite a few things have changed or appeared in the last 10 years: the explosion in the number of brands and references that can be found in wine shops (as well as in supermarkets). The proliferation of dedicated pages and groups on social networks, as well as specialist ‘influencers’.

The emergence of numerous rum-tasting clubs, both amateur and connoisseur, throughout France and overseas. There are more and more collectors, true enthusiasts as well as speculators (alas). The feminisation of the clientele is slowly and progressively underway, even if the vast majority of consumers remain male… The development of the quality French cocktail scene (specialist rum bars are also multiplying). A market that has clearly moved upmarket, in every sector linked to rum, in every region, near and far.

There is a great deal of competition, which is helping to improve the quality of rum. At the same time, this craze has also encouraged many newcomers to the sector (manufacturers, distributors, retailers, etc.), with products of all types and qualities, for better or worse. The current crisis, which seems to have hit the sector in recent months (notably because of the impact of inflation), is a troubled period that is likely to leave its mark, and probably to sort out the well-established (or powerful) brands from the smaller or weaker ones that risk losing their feathers or even disappearing.

How will it evolve over the next 10 years?

Without necessarily holding the truth, or reading into a crystal ball, my feeling as a highly specialised wine merchant is that the qualitative trend seen in recent years will continue (premiumisation), with relatively average or mediocre products having little or no place. One of the most important criteria (even more so at this particular time), which is becoming increasingly important, is the transparency of the producer to the consumer, who is increasingly aware of the sometimes misleading or borderline misleading practices of certain brands.

Customers are also becoming more demanding in terms of respect for human rights and the environment. Brands that have made efforts in these areas will have a clear advantage over those that are lagging behind. Drier rums (particularly those without added sugar or caramel), whether made from molasses or pure cane juice, should continue to develop, as is already being seen and drunk, while still leaving a certain place for sweet rums, which often serve as the gateway to the world of rum.

The race for originality that has begun (work on different types of fermentation, distillation, aging, degrees of bottling, etc.) will continue to make Rum attractive and credible, with everyone increasingly able to find one that suits their personal taste. But my intuition, and I’m convinced of it, is that Rum still has many fine years of development ahead of it, which may be slowed down to some extent, but it remains unavoidable, before we see any lasting change for the worse.

Do you have any news you’d like to share with us?

This year, we’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of our Boutique, and to mark the occasion, we’re planning to release a number of fine Cuvées, including 1re at the end of September, after the way was paved last December with our 2 Cuvées HSE X Christian de Montaguère. We won’t say any more for the moment, but there will be plenty to satisfy connoisseurs and collectors, with something new in more ways than one. They will join the other Cuvées Christian de Montaguère.

What does Rumporter mean to you?

Rumporter seems to me to have succeeded in its aim: to be a valuable source of information on Rum, in all its aspects, and aimed at the various publics interested in Rum in one way or another. I’m one of those people and I always read it with great interest. Sometimes I just don’t have the time to appreciate it to the full. For me, Rumporter is both a professional and a personal information tool for pursuing one of my passions. In closing, I’d like to say “happy birthday and long life to Rumporter!

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