Is Germany the future market for high-end rums ? Interview with Benoît Bail

Germany Rum
Benoit Bail on Agricole Tour 2016 at the Berlin Rumfest – © Johnny Drejer

The Berlin Rumfest was one of the stops on the Agricole Tour 2016, can you tells us a little about rum in Germany? What rums are Germans drinking?

Yes, the Agricole Tour did a quick stop in Berlin and had a booth at the Berlin Rumfest 2016, but Jerry and I used to come to the German Rumfest on previous editions as judge for the rum contest. Germany is a market with a big potential and a very big culture. The interest of the German people into rum is rising for years now and they start discovering new products and flavors but also invest more and more into the rum business by creating new brands, own bottling or even distilling their own rums. Up to now, the hype here was essentially focused on sweet rums, but now customers get more and more into other types of rums from Jamaica, Barbados or Guyana. 

Dirk Becker, the organiser of the Rumfest in Berlin, works a lot on this with his team and since they’re also doing distribution, they often have products on the German market before anyone else in Europe. 

Now about agricoles, the « advanced » geeks are of course entirely into it but it’s nothing common yet. But sooner or later, the German crowd will get into it, as we could notice during the Rumfest, when people came to the Agricole Tour booth and were surprised about what they discovered and tasted there. 

Germany rum
Rums awards at the Berlin Rumfest 2016 – © Johnny Drejer

Some people think that Germany is a big future market for high-end rums (behind France), do you think they are correct? And if it’s the case, what makes you think so?

I’m one of those people saying that Germany is a good futur market for higher range rums. The German consumers have been used to premium spirits (whiskies, cognacs etc). Today, the raise of the rum market in Germany is exponential and that is also the case for the market of premium rums. You can see it on some exclusive bottling which are sometimes reserved for the German market and from which each bottle costs a couple hundreds of euros.

What advice would you give brands who would like to break into the German rum market?

The major problem in Germany is the language barrier. So, when a brand wants to get into the German rum market, I’d advise them to come to Germany, visit fairs like the Rumfest or even the ProWein, which is the biggest Spirit Fair in Europe. In that regard, they can see what works in Germany and what doesn’t. Then, they also need to take their time to find a local partner, because it’s not always easy to find a good distribution channel in several countries and Germany is one of these countries.

Germany rum
Jerry Gitany on Agricole Tour 2016 at the Berlin Rumfest – © Johnny Drejer

And finally, will we be seeing an Agricole Tour 2017?

So yes, I can tell you first, there will be a 2017 edition of the Agricole tour, which will be bigger than last year, will take place over 6 months in not less than 10 different countries from which some even out of Europe. For this edition we have the chance to get support of the brands which already followed us last year of course, but also some new brands joining the project to represent agricole rums from the French West Indies.

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