Philippines Success STORY
Don Papa is clearly the most slick spirit in this article, having started in 2011 and already in production of one million bottles annually, distributed in over 20 countries. Yet its superb packaging, small batch distillation and reputation as a deliciously tropical sipping rum make it feel like a special discovery each time you encounter it. The founder of Bleeding Heart Rum Co. is Stephen Carroll, a former executive of Remy Cointreau who took a fateful vacation to Negros and Bacolod, and went on to create a rum named after a revolutionary Negros hero, Papa Isio. The Philippines was already one of the largest rum markets in the world, but Carroll spotted the gap. “Looking at global trends we saw that there was still room to develop a premium Philippines rum. Historically, Philippines has a formidable sugar industry and it was only natural to focus our efforts here especially in the island of Negros – the sugar bowl,” he says.
There are two versions of the single-island rum: a sevenyear-old and 10-year-old, both made in the Spanish way from molasses rather than sugarcane juice. Describes Carroll, “We spent a long time with our master blender to create the final product. It was about coming up with a product that can be enjoyed neat or on the rocks but at the same time will prove to be an excellent component to a fine cocktail.”
While Carroll lauds the product itself, he returns to the topic of packaging frequently. “The design was what would get you noticed on the shelf,” he shares. The intricate packaging was done by Stranger & Stranger in New York, taking inspiration from 50 local flora and fauna, and paid off when it won Double Gold Medal for Packaging Design at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Show.