The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2013

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Becoming WITH A FIRM BEACHHEAD IN MIAMI, LEBLON CACHA��A IS POISED TO BECOME A GLOBAL SPIRITS COMPANY Brazilian by Kelly Merritt / photos by Tom Clark L et���s take a meeting���Brazilian-style. Work hard, but while you���re at it, mix up a naked Caipirinha��and dance around a bit. The country���s emphasis on culture, living well and loving life is directly in line with all things Leblon Cacha��a���a sugarcane-based spirit named for an upscale neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, the city that captures the hearts of so many people who live in or visit Brazil. ���In the early ���90s, Brazil began to open up for the production of spirits, and in 2005 we began accelerating in our mission to be the preeminent luxury Brazilian spirits company��� a global Brazilian spirits company,��� says Leblon President and CEO Steve Luttmann, chronicling the company���s rise to the top of the Brazilian spirit landscape. ���I wanted us to be the Patr��n of cacha��a, because there is a hole in the market for something like that." For Leblon, Miami has become the gateway to the U.S. market. Leblon is trending in New York City, California and Chicago, but the brand has really caught ire in Florida���s beach metropolis. ���Pretty much every place you go in Miami serves Leblon���and not just the standard list of drinks,��� Luttmann says. ���Mixologists are getting really creative with our product.��� Luttmann and his team want customers to walk into an establishment and request Leblon cocktails by name. ���Always remember three things: Cacha��a is the category, Caipirinha��is the drink, Leblon is the brand,��� Luttmann says of the spirit that is a big part of the love affair the U.S. is having with all things Brazil these days. Starting with Brazil���s signature drink���the basic Caipirinha, made with cacha��a and lime���mixologists have invented a whole roster of new Leblon-based cocktails that embody the Brazilian lifestyle that transfers so well to Miami. ���These can range from simple mixed drinks for folks that want something not too complicated, like a Leblon and tonic, which we call the ���Naked Caipirinha,��� or just Leblon with fruit juice or lemonade,��� says Luttmann. ���However, we are also trying to encourage bartenders and consumers to drink Leblon ���beyond the Caipirinha��� to show its versatility.��� Leblon also has been at the forefront of the ���Legalize Cacha��a��� movement, which has succeeded in persuading the federal government to make cacha��a an oficial spirits category, rather than lumping it under the rum designation. ���Per Brazilian law, cacha��a can only be made from fresh cane juice, immediately pressed, fermented and single98 / the tasting panel / march 2013 Leblon Cacha��a is setting the pace for this exciting category, which exempli���es the Brazilian lifestyle. distilled, and can only be made in Brazil," says Luttmann. ���Unfortunately, cacha��a has not been recognized in some countries as a unique product and appellation from Brazil. For example, cacha��a has been labeled ���Brazilian rum��� in the United States, which is confusing to consumers, as cacha��a tastes very different from rum.��� As a result of Leblon���s lobbying efforts with bartenders and consumers across the country, the TTB published a draft resolution recognizing cacha��a in 2012. This resolution is expected to become the law of the land this spring. And the Brazilian beat goes on. In what���s to be another global wave of Brazilian inluence, two major upcoming events in Brazil will expand Leblon���s reach and place it on the world stage: the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Leblon is poised to be part of that ride. Leblon���s new ���Be Brazilian Be Leblon��� marketing campaign kicked off in Miami in early February, while

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