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Inaugural Mondial du Rhum 2024 brings ‘Rhum ecosystem’ to the fore

Published:  20 February, 2024

Mondial du Rhum 2024, which took place 13-15 February in Paris, has declared its first edition a success, attracting 3,000 attendees through the doors, with a strong international spread among the delegates.

The event, which was created by entrepreneur Patrick Loger, is designed to “reflect the Rhum ecosystem”, according to Loger, who believes that “rum is a cultural bridge connecting diverse communities and [capable of] fostering sustainable development”.

Loger explained to Harpers that “the objective of the event was to understand not just how rhum is growing as a drink, but as a whole” with regards to the jobs and communities that it supports.

“This gives young people a hope and a dream that they can pursue, and gives them something to work towards… and rhum is so versatile, you can adapt it to different populations across different age segments in different countries, whether young or old, neat or a cocktails, it’s just so diverse.”

As expected at an event taking place in the heart of Paris in the surrounds of the old Bourse (stock exchange) building, Rhum Agricole was to the fore, with the likes of Martinique, Guadeloupe and Reunion sitting proud alongside typically artisanal-scale producers from origins as diverse as Tahiti, alongside educational organisations such as Butler Academy Paris, which offers training to Horeca, including Rhum knowledge.

Of the visitors, which included B2B and some general public, 56% came from mainland France, but with the remaining 44% being drawn from across the globe, with the UK being the second highest in attendance.

Andy Newcombe, founder of Neat Collective, a premium spirits company which he launched just under a year ago, following a career with some of the bigger companies in the spirits world, also with a strong background in premium rum development, was one such attendee, looking for a r(h)um to add to his portfolio.

“We currently have a big hole in our portfolio, and rum is a growing category, and we need something to sit alongside our other premium and super-premium products,” he said.

“It could be molasses or Agricole [sugar cane-based], but I was invited along as a British buyer and while Agricole is part of the rum category, the styles, the provenance, the ageing process, it’s more like Cognac, the appellations, the importance of land it comes from, or perhaps like where mescal sits to tequila.”

Certainly as a focused introduction to Agricole, Mondial du Rhum 2024 had plenty on offer, and, with r(h)um more generally still in the ascendancy as a category, it looks certain that the second edition will swing back emboldened next year.