TANDUAY, the rum brand owned by tycoon Lucio Tan, hopes to become the country’s top liquor brand amid a market depressed by changing drinking habits and slapping of taxes.
Company officials said its aspirations came after it was named as the world’s No. 1 rum brand by Drinks International, a global spirits think tank, overtaking Bacardi, a brand that dominated the sector for about three decades.
“Our distinctly Filipino rum is now the world’s No. 1. We have a great product to offer the world, and the world recognized it,” said Lucio K. Tan Jr., president and CEO of Tanduay Distillers Inc.
“For the first time, a Philippine-made liquor brand has been ranked the top-selling rum by Drinks International. Tanduay has taken over the No. 1 spot from a list of international rum brands long dominated by Bacardi.”
Tanduay’s taking the No. 1 spot, however, was not achieved through its exports, since it has minimal exposure overseas and mainly sends some cases to the United States. It took the top spot after many local drinkers started shifting to the rum brand. Company officials are expecting the Tanduay brand to become the top-selling brand among other liquors, such as Emperador brandy of Andrew Tan and Ginebra gin of San Miguel Corp.
Estimates showed Emperador controls about 32 percent of the market, Ginebra 30 percent and Tanduay 26 percent, while the rest comes from backyard distillers and other imported products.
Ginebra is seen taking over the top spot in about six months from Emperador, but Tanduay, whose brand is strong in the Visayas and Mindanao, will market its brand in Luzon, which it said can easily take over the top spot from the two other liquor giants.
“Our products are for the masses, so we cannot just raise prices without affecting demand. We are happy with the volumes we are getting, especially with our progress in Mindanao where we are regaining a substantial market share. The pressure for the company is to keep the bottomline as healthy as the topline revenue item,” said Nestor Mendones, Tanduay’s chief finance officer.
Drinks International said Tanduay sold 19.5 million cases last year, a 17-percent share of the market. Bacardi sold 16.8 million cases and McDowell’s No. 1, Diageo, came it at third with 14.3 million cases.
For the first quarter of the year, Tanduay already sold se 4.78 million cases. The company hopes to at least match last year’s sales volume to retain its spot of the top-selling rum brand.
Tanduay’s volume already reached more than 20 million cases in 2012, but when the new excise taxes were slapped, it went down to 14.59 million cases in 2013.
Since the acquisition of the Tanduay brand by the Lucio Tan group 30 years ago from the Elizalde family, plant modernization and expansion projects increased the distillery’s production capacity.