Rum connoisseur interview of the week: PHILIP GILLIER Export Manager for Rhum CLEMENT, Rhum JM and Saint Lucia Distillers.

Rum connoisseur interview of the week:



Export Manager for Rhum CLEMENT, Rhum JM and Saint Lucia Distillers.


1) Who is Philip GILLIER?

I am the Export Manager for Rhum Clément, Rhum J.M & Saint Lucia Distillers (Chairman’s Reserve, Admiral Rodney…) looking after Northern & Southern Europe markets. My job consists in spreading rum education while developing our brands on the international scene by working closely with importers, partners and friends.

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

In 2014, when I was still studying my Masters in Entrepreneurship in Rouen (France), I had to validate my diploma by writing a thesis about business models in the Wines & Spirits Industry. At that time, I was living with 7 of my best friends from School and rum had always been our best party partner… So when I had to choose an industry on which I was supposed to dedicate 6 months writing hundreds of pages, I thought I might as well write about something I have a natural interest for. And from there, everything started… tasting different rum styles at home and at trade events, meeting all kind of professionals and amateurs, researching info from all over the place… making this thesis a great excuse for gaining knowledge about rum. I focused my research on opportunities for French Style Rhum Agricole on the international scene and introduced my work to Rhum Clément who offered me the current position I have been holding since 2015.

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

Making a friend from Reunion Island a new Martinique rhum fan. And that’s a challenge…


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

The Heritage brought by all the authentic rums you can find in the world amazes me. I think we have a lot to learn from rum and the people who make it every day following their traditions: sugar canes, sugar and rum making have had a big impact on the History of mankind, so as long as I can learn and travel through a glass of rum I will keep on taking part to spreading rum love and education.


5) Favorite Drink + Recipe

Agric’old Fashioned using aged rhum Agricole Rhum J.M XO

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

Rum enjoys a great dynamic presence today and premium rums are standing out in the market figures thanks to education. An interesting fact is the potential the category has to be considered as much as a cocktail component as a fine sipping spirit in the mind of end consumers. It isn’t so true for all the other spirits on the market: they will be either considered as a party mixing drink (white spirits mainly) or sipping (dark spirits) in people’s mindsets generally.

Also, I find the category growth as very positive and “healthy”, because of the fact that it is led by education.

Bartenders around the world are really starting to master the different styles and facets rum has to offer, and if we keep up with a qualitative and informative tone of voice towards end consumers I believe our beloved sun juice will keep on growing. This is just the beginning and I believe the category will continue to rise steadily in the next 5 years.

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

Rum education in Martinique & St Lucia with our partners; a handful of trade shows & rum fairs around Europe; the organization of the Rhum Clément Ti Punch Cup national finals and Chairman’s Reserve Mai-Tai competition; discovering Reunion Island & Barbados rums and culture; and I need to check out Tales of the cocktails for the first time!

8) Any final thoughts?

Rum-Rhum-Ron & Cheers!


9) How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media Page?

We hook up somewhere in this small world and share a rum or two!

Author: Jose Hoffmann

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