Changing the Way Rum is Sold

In February of 2019, Montanya Distillers launched two new partnerships that make our rums available in wider markets—Hello, France! And hello Chicago! Naturally, we’re pretty excited, but for more reasons than you might think: Our new partners are changing the way spirits are sold throughout the world.

V&B now offers Montanya Platino and Oro (pictured) in France.

V&B now offers Montanya Platino and Oro (pictured) in France.

You probably know the old way of doing business, because it holds true for spirits, wine and beer: you walk into a liquor store, peruse a ton of options, and do your best to pick one you’ll like using the labels. If you’re lucky, signs called shelf talkers point out staff favorites or highlight award-winning beverages. A particularly knowledgeable staff member might point you in the direction of something you’ll like, but most likely it is something they like. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will. And how many times have you or someone you know said, “I just pick the most interesting label”?

The truth is, unless a liquor store hosts a tasting and you sample a spirit in the store, trying something new is a gamble. With spirits (often $30 a bottle) versus wine (often $15 a bottle), the gamble is bigger. And when you find something you like, there’s no guarantee you’ll find it the next time you shop, even at the shop where you bought it before. This is especially true with products made by smaller companies. That’s why we love the models offered by our new partners: V&B, a high-end, curated boutique that sells spirits, wine and beer in France, and BigFish, an online supplier in Illinois.

Why do we love our new partners so much? They make it easier to become an informed consumer and like what you buy. Here’s how:

You Can Taste Before You Buy


V&B has 150 stores in France and 30 tasting bars, where staff pour samples of the various beverages offered for sale. The tastings cover a wide variety of spirits and styles, and are held around large tables—you won’t find chairs. The approach is meant to encourage conversation and connection. Once you find the beverage or beverages of your choice, you can purchase with confidence.

Montanya Distillers owner Karen Hoskin thinks of it as a Millennial approach to alcohol sales. Millennials like to try new things and be informed consumers; they’re interested in the story behind the brand and the ownership, and they want to like what they buy before they drop a wad of cash. (It’s actually pretty fascinating to learn how Millennials are changing the spirits industry. A SevenFifty Daily article by Wayne Curtis takes a deeper dive into the subject, where Karen weighs in on the discussion).

V&B now offers Montanya Distillers Platino and Oro rums, and we’re honored to be one of only a few American craft spirits they sell. Our style of rum is generally lighter, drier, less funky and more oak forward than many pot-distilled rums, and that makes it a good fit for European palates. (And because we never like to put profits over the planet, we ship our rums in bulk to Spain, where they are bottled and then shipped to France.)

You Can Have Your Beverage of Choice Delivered to Your Door


Closer to home in Chicago, Illinois, BigFish has also tailored its business model to shifts in consumer habits. BigFish recognizes that many buyers want to research products before they purchase. They want to know where a product comes from, how it’s made, how long the company and the products have been around, how others have reviewed it, what awards they have won, and the important philosophies behind the brand. They want recipe ideas too.

BigFish provides all of that information on its website and then delivers products right to consumers’ doors (if those buyers are lucky enough to live in the Land of Lincoln). It’s a great model that makes it easier to get the spirits you like (no more trips to the store) and know more about what you buy. We’re thrilled that they now carry Montanya Distillers rums. We see this as a huge area of change and growth in how spirits are sold, making it easier for customers to find what they love, even when it comes from a small company.

What about you? What do you like to know about a spirit before you buy? Let us know in the comments below! And stay tuned, because next up, Montanya Distillers takes on the UK.

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