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Matugga Rum launches into French market

Published:  29 March, 2016

British premium craft rum, Matugga Rum, has signed an exclusive distribution deal with Société Dugas, one of France's leading distributors of premium and artisan spirits.

Dugas will be showcasing Matugga at Rhum Fest Paris on April 2 to 4 before launching the range across both the on- and off-trade in May.

Cambridge-based Matugga was launched in autumn 2015 as a small-batch artisanal rum by husband-and-wife team of Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa.

It is named after a town in Uganda - some 13 miles north of  the capital, Kampala - where the Rutasikwa family owns a large landholding.

Matugga uses sugar cane molasses from East Africa and its visual identity is built around an 'M' monogram which pays homage to the bold dynamism of African iconography and textile prints.

Paul Rutasikwa said: "We are thrilled to be working with Dugas to bring our distinctive craft rums to France's discerning consumers and rum enthusiasts. Dugas enjoys a longstanding heritage and outstanding reputation, and we are delighted that the Matugga Rum brand will join its handpicked portfolio of high quality international spirits.

"Rum is ranked amongst the most dynamic spirits in the highly influential French market, and we expect our distinctive spirits to capitalise on the country's growing demand for atypical flavours, authenticity and premium quality.

"This is an exciting time for British craft spirits exports, and we see the agreement as a formidable platform for our young brand's growth into overseas markets."

François-Xavier Dugas, founder and chief executive of Dugas, said: "As part of our 'House of Rum' original concept, we aim to offer our customers the most comprehensive range of rums from all continents.

"We became interested in Matugga Rum for the originality of the source of its African molasses, and also for its development and distillation in Britain.

"Jacine and Paul have in this sense a singular approach. Their passion, combined with their expertise, bring a distinctive identity to the Matugga portfolio."

The Matugga range comprises Matugga Golden Rum and Matugga Spiced Rum, both of which are triple-distilled in a 200-litre copper pot still by master distiller, Dr John Walters, before being finished in uncharred English oak.

Matugga Spiced Rum is infused with an East African blend of six botanicals - black tea, ginger, cloves, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon - and won a silver medal at the New York World Wine and Spirits Competition last year.

Walters said: "With Matugga Golden Rum, on the nose we have fine oaked deep fruit cake, with raisins and sultanas abounding. The palate is full of slightly honeyed cracked caramel with a hint of Szechuan peppers and bay, finishing with vanilla, strawberry and a rich treacle.

"Matugga Spiced Rum is a truly mouth-watering rum. Honey and orange blossom are entwined with raisins on the nose. The palate is a flood of smooth, but warm, tangerine, liquorice and cracked black pepper before a honeyed Christmas pudding finish."

Founded in 1980 by François-Xavier Dugas, Dugas is a leading distributor of premium spirits to specialist retailers, cash and carry stores, select supermarkets, wholesalers and on-trade outlets.

Premium rums account for 10% of fine spirits sales in France, with sales hitting around £18 million in 2015.

Dark rum is the ninth most popular spirit in France, accounting for 2.5% of all spirits consumed. It is nearly twice as popular as gin, and five times as popular as cognac and eaux-de-vie.

Matugga is bottled at 42% abv and is available in the UK with an rrp of £39.99 for 70cl.