At the end of March, many companies converged in Central America to exhibit their products in the showcases of the XXXV International Trade Fair Expocomer 2017, sponsored by the Panama World Trade & Investment Foundation. Jorge Cardoso -Director of Exports in ‘Cuba Ron S.A.’- and the Cuban Rum Maestro, César Augusto Martí Marcelo, traveled to the isthmus. There, they extended, through the tour ‘Cuba Ron Panama 2017’, the knowledge about the genuine spirits from the greatest among the Antilles.
"It's an important event to show what we do. In the former edition, we signed a letter of intent, which later became the first contract of supply of Cuba Ron S.A. rums in Panama", Jorge Cardoso stated.
The agreement was signed with ‘Corporación Tabacalera S.A.’, distributor of ‘Internacional Cubana de Tabaco S.A.’ and ‘Brascuba Cigarrillos S.A.’, in Panama, Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
"We held many activities in that event this year, such as the training of customers who will have products from Cuba Ron S.A. in its bars and restaurants and we prepared our distributor for placing us in Panama City", he explained.
There are several brands of rum already positioned in Central America. How to insert Cuba Ron S.A.?
“In Panama you can find all the prestigious brands, including those of the highest ranking spirits: whiskeys, vodkas, gins... However, there is a huge interest in Cuban rum, especially due to its history is barely known, and in this fair we had the chance of promoting it. We showed the Panamanian consumer this possibility, and we had a very great welcome among sommeliers, bartenders and sellers in the tasting events which took place -one of them was public, in the bar Pedro Mandinga, in the historic center-. The media also welcomed us, and we could talk about the history of our light rum in important radio and television broadcasters. Although in the Panamanian market the consumption of spirits has decreased by 40%, consumers are thirsty for Cuban rums”.
What concrete results could you share with us about the negotiations with ‘Corporación Tabacalera S.A.’?
“We have already got a contract and we work in the export procedures. They will distribute about 2 thousand boxes of the brands ‘Cubay’, ‘Santiago de Cuba’, ‘Perla del Norte’ and ‘Isla del Tesoro’ in Panama City. We will also export ‘Santiago de Cuba 500’, which had a very high expectation last year, and in this edition of Expocomer many people asked us about this product”.
Could Panama be a bridge for marketing in Central America and other regions?
“At this first stage, we are focused on conquering the Panama City market. The free trade zone in the Panama Canal is a place with a wide trade in goods. If one day we have to take something there for moving it to another nearby market, we will do it, but our current priority is making well known the product of Cuba Ron S.A. in Panama. However, it could actually be a bridge and there are opportunities to reach other markets in the nearby area”.
One of the still inaccessible markets in the region for the Cuban company is the American market, due to the economic and financial restrictions imposed by the United States on Cuba.
"When the United States put an end on the blockade, our products will have their way safe, and Cuba Ron S.A. is prepared to supply enough rum to fill the world's first spirits market", the Director of Exports said.
But, in the meantime, "the original producer" focuses on the conquest of the Panamanian consumers. To reach the isthmus, they are betting on the alliance with the ‘Corporación Tabacalera S.A.’, an entity which already distributes a wide range of Cuban cigars and cigarettes, and now adds the smells and flavors of the best light rum in the world.
Jorge Cardoso is convinced that they achieved the ideal agreement: "They will have the possibility of importing tobacco, and also Cuban rum. That is a perfect match. They are two soul mates of pleasure".