Rum connoisseur interview of the week: Benoit Bail – Founder of the “Confrerie du Rhum” and RumGazzette

Benoit Bail
International expert / speaker / judge of Rhums / Rums
Founder & administer of the “Confrerie du Rhum”.
and the founder of the RumGazzette

 

1) Who is Benoit Bail?

Benoit Bail’s first contact with a distillery goes back to 2008, in Cap Vert, on the island of Santo Antão. He became a rum enthusiast since and traveled to the french Caribbean several times after this to explore and learn more about it, until he founded his own fruit flavored rum brand in Luxembourg, in 2013. Next to this, he also founded the facebook group “La Confrérie du Rhum”, which became the biggest rum forum on the internet a couple of years later with 21.000 members. His rums quickly sold out of Luxembourg and became famous in France and Belgium and he continued to learn about his passion by reading and meeting important people of the industry.

Today, Benoit is still the founder and administrator of the “Confrérie du Rhum”, he takes part as a jury member at a lot of rum competitions all around the world, hosts conferences, meetings and tastings on international level and founded the first french and English information website about rum called “RumGazette” in June 2016.

2) What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

It was back in 2008 when I discovered rum for the first time in Cap Vert, at a little plantation distillery where they’re still using a bull to make the mill work and everything’s done by hand. They call rum « grog » over there and it was just fascinating to me. The smell and taste of this sugarcane distillate were a sort of revelation to me.

3) The biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry.

I’m not sure I’ve achieved that much yet, even if some people would probably tell otherwise. I’m the kind of person that is never satisfied and always looks for more. So yes, I’ve created a massive Facebook group, launched a website and maybe united more Agricole brands on a tour than ever done before, but it’s definitely not that big in my opinion and there’s a lot more to be done.

4) What is that thing that makes you want to continue in the rum industry?

 

Rum is fun. That’s a fact and also the reason we probably all want to continue in this industry because even if we fight or have arguments with other, we’re a big family and we share the same passion what makes it rum fun!

5) Favorite Rum Drink?

To be honest, I’m not a cocktail person. I prefer to drink my rums neat, but if I’d have to do one, it would be a Ti-Punch. Only the zest of a lime, a half teaspoon of brown sugar and white Agricole rum. That is sunshine in a glass to me. What else?

6) Where do you see the rum industry today and in the next 5 years?

Today, the rum industry is still climbing and getting bigger and bigger for over 15 years now. Unfortunately, I think that the rum industry will have the same future then the whisky industry, with outrageous prices no-one can afford anymore and NSA rums on the shelves in the stores. It’s a very negative point of view, but that’s the way it might go if we don’t change anything now.

7) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you.

Well, I think my first mentor would be my partner Jerry Gitany, who’s like a father and good friend to me. His experience makes that he’s always teaching me some new things about rums, even after hanging out together for the three last years.

I’d also consider Christian de Montaguère, who runs the biggest rum shop I’ve ever seen, in Paris, and who has a very commercial but also particular view of the market and the industry and it’s always a pleasure to discover new products with him and have his opinion on our projects. He helped me out with my little project from the beginning and still today, we became very close friends and work together on some collaborations.

8) What 3-5 things do you have on your bucket list for the next 12 months?

That’s a very good question… Let me skip that one! 😉

9) Any last words?

Thank you to the Rum Lab for their amazing work in and for the rum industry so far and I hope you guys will do well in the future! Good luck!

10) Where can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?

People can follow the activity of the rum market on the Facebook group « La Confrérie du Rhum », or on our website www.rumgazette.com

Author: Fede

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