This was the first national rum festival held in Italy and the prospects for the future appear quite encouraging. The idea came initially from a fun prospective and later pushed forth by passion and love for this distillate. Gradually it took shape over the course of months and resulted in an exhibition that has gone far beyond my initial expectations. I feel very honored, gratified and proud to have seen this project take shape. I want to thank all whom contributed to this event ’s realization: the companies who took part in the project and placed their confidence in it, to all of the cigar clubs that assisted, the barmen who competed enthusiastically and Septeto Naborì!. Finally, I thank all the people who were involved in the decision making for the location, management and technical support.
There were about a thousand guests, including onlookers, importers and some journalists, who crowded the tasting benches, master classes and cigar workshops. A substantial number for a first edition, which bodes well for the coming years.
For me, I consider this year’s event as “Year Zero”, a sort of test to see how deeply this distillate is rooted in our country. The response has been more than satisfactory. Italy has shown both great skepticism and great curiosity towards Rum, especially after the festival. Through my contact information on my website, Isla de Rum, my email has been flooded with letters asking for a report on this year’s event and the request for the date for next year.
IMPACT ON THE PRESS
Here, unfortunately, the Festival has recorded one of its loopholes. Apart from the wonderful articles written by foreign media, as Luis Ayala on “Got Rum?”, Robert Burr of “Rum Examiner ” and quotes from various blogs in the industry, including Italian ones, the trade press at the festival, which gave credit to the latter, it was really small. I hope that the success of this event and a good job of press agencies in the coming years will give to this event the right media “ tic value” as early as next year.
OFFER OF LABELS AND WORKSHOPS
Even though this was the first edition, with all the distrust that this could have generated, the festival’s records show more than 40 different brands, including 4 independent bottlers, with a proposal of over 1000 labels.
The seven tasting seminars, led by Leonardo Pinto (on Saturday) and Alessandro Pugi, John Barrett, Silvano Samaroli and The Jerry Thomas Project (on Sunday), recorded a large number of people. In some cases, some of the seminars even reached overbooking. The same applied to the cigar workshops, five in total for Saturday and Sunday.
Absolutely successful was also the participation of the largest Italian collector of vintage labels, Mattonetti Francesco, who not only proposed to showcase his wonderful bottles of the last century, but he also contributed to the organization of the rum seminars and cigar workshops.
FEEDBACK FROM PARTICIPANTS
I appreciated the compliments I received from Javier Herrera, President of the International Rum Congress in Madrid, Spain, as well as, by John Barrett, owner of Bristol Spirits, who was present at his booth at the festival and led a wonderful master class, and again by Silvano Samaroli, Alessandro Pugi and other leaders in the field of rum. Criticism is certainly appreciated to help with future improvements, but compliments, from experts, exhibitors and visitors definitely help to cheer me up and encourage me to continue forward.
PROJECT FOR THE FUTURE
In my idea for the future, the event, as well as a party, should become, over the years, a benchmark for the communication between companies and end users, passing also through all sector operators. It should place itself not only as a exhibition of the products on the Italian market, but also as a cultural event in which the neophytes can approach consciously consumption of quality products.
Furthermore, I want the Festival to become a meeting ground between the Italian and foreign markets, a forum to conduct business and to exchange market information between industry members worldwide.
To summarize, I want this to become the guiding light for the Italian rum market, a market that is in turmoil but which also appreciates quality and thirsts for knowledge and innovation.
-Article written by Leonardo Pinto - www.IslaDeRum.com