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Ron Barceló – New UK Distribution & Organic Rum Feb 14
Ron Barcelo Imperial Premium Rum

A favourite of Casa Charlosa, especially when we’ve been to Spain for holidays in the past – where it is more commonly available, Ron Barceló, has joined the Emporia Brands portfolio for distribution here in the UK.

The Award-winning spirits importer and distributor, Emporia Brands, has proudly announced that Dominican rum, Ron Barceló, described as the world’s first carbon neutral rum brand, and the most exported dark rum in the world, will be joining their UK portfolio of premium spirit brands.

Ron Barceló is the only rum produced with 100% sugarcane juice from its own plantations in the Dominican Republic. Created by Julián Barceló in 1929, Ron Barceló recently ranked as number six in the ‘top 10 biggest selling rum brands of 2022’ (The Spirits Business).

As well as striving for excellence in taste, Ron Barceló also places great importance on the sustainability of its work. Certified in 2019 by the independent body SGS (Société Générale de Surveillance), Ron Barceló was the first rum to gain carbon neutral certification for the company and all its products in 2016. This was thanks to Ron Barceló’s own sustainability programme, comprising a standard of environmental and social conducts based on sustainable principles and measuring the company’s impact across environmental and human aspects. With these policies Ron Barceló has minimised its dependence on fossil fuels, ensuring that nearly 90% of the electricity it consumes comes from renewable or green sources, such as solar or biomass energy. It also recaptures all of the CO2 from fermentation, transforming it into food grade CO2 to for use in carbonated beverages.

Ron Barcelo Rums
Ron Barcelo Organic Rum

Otto Flores, Global Brand Ambassador for Ron Barceló comments: “For our rum brand Barceló, to be represented in the UK, as one of the most prestigious spirits markets, was a major priority, and we are pleased to announce this news. Along with our partner Emporia, we will have a strong focus on brand building and distribution, bringing the world’s most exported dark rum to consumers across the UK.”

Jack Rackham, MD at Emporia added: ‘We’re thrilled to be working with Ron Barceló in the UK. We’re especially excited to be bringing in the Barceló Organic rum in as part of the range – this is the Dominican Republic’s first organic rum, made from fresh sugar cane juice, from Barceló’s wildest and oldest fields and it tastes fantastic and truly embodies what Ron Barceló is all about! Even the packaging is sustainable, made from a sugar cane-derived plant fibre case which is labelled using organic ink. Barceló’s way of working is such an inspiration to the industry as a whole and the consistent innovation matched with sustainability is remarkable.

The whole range will be available to taste at The Rum Show on the 14th & 15th July and is now available from most major wholesalers, including the Whisky Exchange and Distillers Direct, and includes:

  • Barceló Organic Rum (37.5% ABV)
  • Barceló Blanco Rum (37.5% ABV) – Aged up to 2 years in oak barrels before being charcoal filtered.
  • Barceló Dorado Rum (37.5% ABV) – Aged up to 2 years in ex-bourbon American oak barrels.
  • Barceló Gran Añejo (37.5% ABV) – Aged up to 6 years in ex-bourbon oak barrels.
  • Barceló Gran Añejo Dark Rum (37.5% ABV) – Aged up to 6 years in barrels with a high toast.
  • Barceló Imperial Rum (38% ABV) – Aged for up to ten years.
  • Barceló Imperial Onyx Rum (38% ABV) – Aged for up to ten years in oak barrels with a high toast.

In addition, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the launch of Ron Barceló Imperial, the range will be completed by the special blend:

  • Barceló Imperial Premium Blend Rum (40 Year Anniversary) (43% ABV)

Ron Barceló Imperial Premium Blend is described as a special blend of old Barceló Imperial reserves, matured in selected American oak barrels and French oak barrels, celebrating forty years of expertise. Amazing body with crème brûlée and caramelised raisin character perfectly complementing complex notes of dried cherries, pepper leaf and spice.

A Positive Change from Brexit? Well, one at least, sort of… Apr 22

While not exactly a hidden secret, it appears that with a change to the Duty-Free rules for travellers to Great Britain, there may have been one positive to have come out of Brexit on the 31st December 2020, albeit, with a bit of a caveat.

While it doesn’t appear to be being shouted from the roof tops at the moment and let’s face it, the lack of being able to travel internationally at the moment due to the Covid-19 pandemic might legitimately play its part in the limited press coverage on the subject, those of us with an interest in Rum and Cachaça can now bring in 4 litres of spirits (of 22% ABV and above) per adult to Great Britain from elsewhere in the world.

A little background history

From 1999 onwards Brits travelling between EU countries and the UK lost the ability to buy duty-free shopping on alcohol and tobacco products, but gained the ability to buy virtually unlimited amounts of goods from within the EU for personal use, without paying duty on return to the UK.

Duty-free shopping remained for those travelling from the rest of the world, but with the following allowances for personal use:

  • 16 litres of beer
  • 4 litres of still wine
  • 1 litre of spirits over 22% ABV OR 2 litres of fortified wines, sparkling wines and other alcohol spirits up to 22% ABV

This last allowance could be split, so for example you could bring back half a litre of 40% ABV Rum as well as a 1 litre bottle of, let’s say, Malibu* at 21% ABV

This is how it was until 11pm GMT on the 31st December 2020, when the UK exited the EU. Unfortunately for those in Northern Ireland, the above older rules still apply for those arriving from non-EU countries, although on a positive note, those travelling from EU countries to Northern Ireland will still continue to be able to arrive with unlimited amounts of alcohol and tobacco for personal use.

Original Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

A Post-Brexit world of travel

So what about the rest of us arriving into Great Britain (made up of England, Scotland and Wales), from the 1st January 2021 from either the EU or the rest of the world? Well, things have been simplified. What was once two different sets of rules, has now been combined into one. So on the one hand those travelling from the EU to Great Britain will see a reduction in their alcohol and tobacco allowances, but on the other hand, those travelling from the rest of the world will see a marked increase in their alcohol allowance.

The new single set of duty-free rules for personal use on alcohol are as follows:

  • 42 litres of beer
  • 18 litres of still wine
  • 4 litres of spirit OR 9 litres of sparkling wine, fortified wine (e.g. sherry or port) or any alcoholic beverage of less than 22% ABV

Again, this last allowance can be split, so for example you can bring 2 litres of 40% ABV Rum as well as 4 and a half litres of Malibu* at 21% ABV (Please note that a 50-50 split isn’t the only option, other combinations are allowed, as long as the total of allowance used equates to no more than 100% of the allowance)

One thing to note with the new rules, is that if you exceed your personal limits, then you will need to pay tax/duty on all the goods in that category, not just the excess amount. So for example, bringing back 6 x 750 ml bottles of rum from the US totalling 4.5 litres, would result in in all 6 bottles of rum being liable for duty and not just the 1 bottle that would take you over the limit.

* Please also note that the use of Malibu is just for example as a spirit drink that is under 22% ABV – it is not in any way an endorsement of the product.

Koloa Rum from Kaua’i

We’re all going on a summer holiday?

While we’re still waiting for the UK government to announce when international travel will be on the cards for holidaymakers this summer and beyond, when that time does come around, it’s worth knowing about the new duty-free rules.

And for those of us Brits, who either travel further afield than the EU or maybe are lucky enough to have family and/or friends visiting from outside the EU, we can enjoy more locally sold Cachaça and Rums from around the world, that maybe we can’t get so easily here in Great Britain.

Granted, in no way does this make up for everything else that’s come about as a result of Brexit, but in these miserable times, I’ll take any silver lining I can find. Further details can be found at the House of Commons Library and in the UK Government’s Travellers Communication Pack.