The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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Page 40 of 136

40  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2014 The packaging redesign for Don Q Rum brings a fresh modern take to the historic brand—and clarifies the brand's name. PACKAGING Y ou bear a certain responsibility when you can say that your family has been in the rum business for six generations—and when that rum is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in America, the stakes are even higher. So when Roberto Serrallés of Distilería Serrallés thought about updating the packaging for Don Q Rum, his family's flagship brand, he took into account both the history and the future of the brand. "We started making rum in 1865," Serrallés, himself a distiller, said, adding that his great-great-great-grandfather had emigrated from Spain and settled in Puerto Rico decades earlier to plant a sugar plantation. "Sugar and rum are intertwined." Serrallés wanted to pay homage to the old labels and yet make the brand stand out on retailers' shelves. The bottle's bigger, bolder Q logo features "clean, classic lines that provide a premium look. And that's what we're trying to do . . . elevate the category," he told THE TASTING PANEL. "The label's changed, but the rum is the same," he said, just a few hours before he was to welcome several hundred people to the grand opening of the Puerto Rico pavilion at the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The new label will also help with a pronuncia- tion problem Serrallés discovered a couple of years ago while attending a rum fest in London. "There was this guy trying our Gran Añejo and he loved it. And towards the end of the event, he comes back with his whole posse of friends, points to the Gran Añejo and says, 'This is my favorite rum. This is DONK.'" Serrallés said, explaining how the man mangled the brand's name (the letter Q is pronounced "cue," of course). "I'm thinking: Houston, we have a problem. They didn't get the Q. . . So I think to myself, we can fix that." The new label is also backed by a multi- million-dollar media campaign in print, on TV and in social media. Though Distilería Serrallés makes the best-selling rum in Puerto Rico with about 70 percent of the market, it is a relatively small player that has experienced solid gains. Don Q has grown from annual sales of 30,000 cases in the U.S. a few years ago to 300,000 cases annually, Serrallés said. Don Q's New Do A NEW LABEL CARRIES ON THE 149-YEAR HISTORY OF PUERTO RICO'S BEST-SELLING RUM by Leslie Gevirtz

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