Alexandre Gabriel on renaming Plantation Rum: "It's a daunting and lengthy process"

18 November, 2022

In the summer of 2020, after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sparked protests and conversations about racism, Maison Ferrand announced it would be renaming Plantation rum, two years on and the name persists, Drinks International caught up with Alexandre Gabriel for the update.

This is an excerpt from a longer interview with Alexandre Gabriel that appears in the Drinks International Rum 2022 supplement.

“Changing a brand name that’s been in existence for so many years, is a lot like changing the name of a 30-year-old person and having to make sure that name is not in existence anywhere else in the world,” says Gabriel.

“It’s a daunting and lengthy process. Plantation rum has enlisted several branding agencies in the US, the UK and France to work on this. The team thought it had a name last year but found it was blocked by a leading global drinks company. This put the process back six months.

“Two other names are currently being checked and registered for a patent in the 100 countries where it has distribution, which takes time. The team is continually working with a US branding agency on other name options just in case the two others are blocked.

“We are hoping we will get the green light on the two current names that we’ve registered but can’t give an exact date. We have a team actively working on this and we will share an update as soon as possible.”

The original name was inspired by Gabriel's childhood in rural France.

“I grew up on a family’s farm and vineyard in south Burgundy. I live on a farm now. The word Plantation is a French farming term. It is a place where vegetation is planted and grown from the land. I started the brand over 20 years ago after spending time in Haiti and Saint Lucia where I fell in love with rum. In the Caribbean, a farm is most often referenced as a plantation. We named our new rum project after a reference that I had from my upbringing and from the farming I saw in the Caribbean, without any malice, and never with any intent to make anyone feel marginalised. 

“At Plantation Rum, our values and ethos are about sharing, tolerance and diversity. Together, as we all learn and grow, we know that the time has come for us to evolve our brand name keeping the same delicious rum in the bottle that we love to make. We are lucky to have the trust and love of many rum fans who enjoy sharing and drinking our rum.

“We genuinely care and don’t take this for granted and are doing this with all of them in mind." 

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