Interview of The Week
CEO RON CIHUATÁN
1. Who is Alexander Siliezar?
I am a Commercial Developer and Brand builder. I have been working with strong international brands for more than 12 years and now I feel passionate about working with a Salvadoran brand. To me, Ron Cihuatán represents more than a product. It is an opportunity for my country to have an ambassador we all can feel proud of.
Through the years, I have learned a lot about how an honest, real and costumer oriented Brand can really engage people and grow big roots in the markets. I think that brands that pay special attention to detail and what people care about are the ones more likely to become meaningful and long lasting.
My biggest passion is finding opportunities in new markets, thinking about the consumer and how a great brand and a nice product can fit into their lives perfectly. I decided to join the Ron Cihuatán Team because I saw a great opportunity to help build a strong Brand, along with a visionary and talented team. I think that when you work hard and with lot of passion, the outcome can be surprising.
2. Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplish for the rum industry.
My biggest achievement has been having the opportunity to work in the rum industry with a new rum Brand, from a country without any tradition in the rum industry. The challenge has been bigger, but has also brought along bigger emotional returns. I feel very proud to be leading Ron Cihuatán into the US market. In September 2017 we exported our first container to California, and then shortly after to NYC in record time.
The challenge was difficult since the US market is very regulated and has very strict procedures, but considering a myriad of options, we finally found the right way to enter this country. Ron Cihuatán is now available for sale in these 2 markets.
3. What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
I think every spirit category has its charm. The rum industry provides a great opportunity to build strong and premium products, by giving consumer more: a great origin story, new and complex flavors and aromas. People are really looking forward to finding these in what they drink and buy.
I truly believe Ron Cihuatán can do this and more internationally. Plus, by doing this we can make our country proud. I feel passionate about all the challenges and opportunities we can find in the Rum category, and also, I think it’s time for consumers to explore this amazing Category, get to know the history behind the brands and what the brands have to offer.
4. What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry?
Passion. I think that if you start something with passion, paying attention to detail and having consistency time and time again you can really create or transform a small project into a big Brand. I think Ron Cihuatán has all the potential to become a great brand that all Salvadorans can feel proud of, but the only way to accomplish this is by being constant, and putting all the work, skill and talent of our team into this Project.
5. Favourite Drink + Recipe
Ron Cihuatán Ti’ Punch
• 2 ounces Ron Cihuatán rum
• cane syrup
6. Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?
I think right now dark and premium rum is becoming attractive to consumers. This new category is starting to draw attention and is also presenting a lot of different options, brands, origins, ranges of flavors, etc. This dynamism is giving the dark and premium rum category a boost that is changing the spirits scene.
In the next five years, I expect a bigger category with consolidated Brands, better products, packaging and a more informed consumer willing to give these brands the opportunity to become part of their daily life.
7. Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have help you.
Luis Ayala, an expert in this category. When I started in this industry he was the one guiding me and the rest of the team into the great world of rum, letting us know more about the category, players, and opportunities. He also taught me to understand how to conduct and what to expect in tastings, learning the different ranges we can have in this Category. He definitely has given me a better idea and understanding of this amazing world.
Gaby Ayala, our master blender. With her passion and knowledge as a woman chemist, she has thought me about rum profiles, blending, rum transformation and a lot of different concepts in this industry that were totally new to me. Also by having continuous tasting sessions I’ve been able to recognize new flavors, aromas and the logic behind the magical transformation and maturation of rums over the time.
8. What 3-5 things do you have in your bucket list for the next 12 month?
To keep working on the US market. Since Ron Cihuatán is a new product, we will have to continue working on a complete range of strategies that allow Americans and Salvadorans living in that market to try our rum. We aspire to become their favorite spirit.
Understanding the European market better! By participating in fairs and being part of the day to day life of distributors and sales representatives in those market we can find a lot of learning of what Europeans demand, what we need to offer and how to keep the brand fresh and attractive.
Innovation, I think that’s the only thing we can’t stop doing as a brand, our communication material and resources, social media, packaging, range of products, etc. that is part of the DNA of who we are, so people should expect always innovation from our Brand.
Start learning French! It’s a personal goal and when you participate in different festivals you realize languages are always welcome in this type of market and industry.
9. How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?
Instagram @roncihuatan or liking Ron Cihuatán on Facebook.You can also discover more about our rum and our country in our website: cihuatanrum.com