It was in July 2017 that the company Rhum Island, which develops and bottles rum in Saint-Martin, was inaugurated. In their semi-automatic manufacturing workshop located in Hope Estate, Valérie, Lisa, Olivier and Christophe relaunch their business, destroyed and looted during cyclone Irma.
Despite the implementation of several actions to boost activity, such as the creation of a Master class, tastings, positioning at the head of the gondola in supermarkets, advertising displays on the public highway, Oliver Kleinhans, one of the managers , notes that "it is difficult to take off". A new packaging and a different visual were created last summer, and “potential customers have to change their consumption habits to come to our products. But it doesn't happen by itself, ”notes Olivier. The latter estimates that it will take a little time and a first assessment will be made at the end of next season, “the product is appreciated and it is good. In terms of prices, we are super correct, and cheaper than the competition ”. The pricing policy put in place by Rhum Island is designed to gain market share, "and there is no reason why it should not take off".
The company resumed its activity in December 2018, fourteen months after Irma, and to develop and attract new export distributors, participation in international fairs was a must. Paris, Marseille, Berlin, Spa, New York, San Francisco, but also Poland, have all been showcases to promote the rum produced in Saint-Martin. "We are starting our first steps in exporting", specifies Olivier Kleinhans.
A distributor in Belgium, another in Italy, and contacts take place with Switzerland, “we have retailers in Paris, like the Maison du Rhum (…) But we take the time because then it has to follow in the workshop ”.
Rhum Island produces between 1 and 500 bottles per month, an amount deemed insufficient by Olivier who would like to produce 2 to 000, "the ideal would be 4, 5 bottles per year". A positive point is the recent gold medal obtained in Saint-Barthélemy during the edition of the Caribbean Rum Award 000, "a big boost". _RM
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