UP­START in cam­bo­dia

Epicure (Indonesia) - - BEST OF INDONESIA -

As seen so far, the new dis­tillers don’t usu­ally have a lot of re­sources to com­plete on the global scale, so dif­ferenta­tion is key. Just look at Cam­bo­dia’s first rum dis­tillery, Sa­mai Rum, named af­ter the Kh­mer word for mod­ern. Says co-founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer An­to­nio López de Haro, “Pre­mium rum, and ac­tu­ally rum in gen­eral, was an un­der-ap­pre­ci­ated spirit in Cam­bo­dia. Just four years ago you could only find about four brands of mass-pro­duced in­ter­na­tional rum brands. In 2015, rum was the least pop­u­lar spirit in terms of con­sump­tion in the coun­try, just af­ter tequila as the worst per­form­ing spirit.”

To­gether with co-founder Daniel Pacheco, the two Venezue­lans de­cided to rep­re­sent their roots by mak­ing the Span­ish-style rum found through­out Cen­tral Amer­ica while also tak­ing ad­van­tage of the lo­cal high qual­ity raw ma­te­ri­als, cre­at­ing the world’s first Kam­pot Pep­per Rum in the process. López de Haro shares, “Many peo­ple be­lieve that Cam­bo­dia-made prod­ucts are of lower qual­ity but they couldn’t be more wrong. Cam­bo­dia has an ex­ten­sive port­fo­lio of world-class prod­ucts, such as Kam­pot pep­per, which has an ori­gin de­nom­i­na­tion and is one of the best palm sug­ars in South­east Asia, rice and co­conut oil. Now it has rum – in 2017, we won four awards, in­clud­ing a Sil­ver Medal and Bronze Medal at Lon­don’s In­ter­na­tional Spir­its Chal­lenge.”

The key for both Sa­mai Gold Rum and Sa­mai Kam­pot Pep­per Rum is a care­ful con­trol of pro­duc­tion, from fer­ment to dis­til­la­tion, age­ing, blend­ing and bot­tling in-house. The lat­ter’s recipe in par­tic­u­lar has taken four years to master, with mul­ti­ple pro­cesses of dou­ble dis­til­la­tion, vapour in­fu­sion, mac­er­a­tion and other meth­ods.

With pro­duc­tion at just 6,000 bot­tles a year, Sa­mai is scal­ing up with the de­liv­ery of a new cop­per pot still and look­ing at increasing pro­duc­tion to 60,000 by year end. By mid-year, they’ll have ven­tured out of Cam­bo­dia for the first time, ex­port­ing to France, Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia for a start. With so much at stake, the plans have to be big: “Within five years we should be present in over 20 coun­tries. Fast-for­ward a few more years and we should be in ev­ery ma­jor rum mar­ket around the world!”

Nusa Caña

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