It’s quite ironic that a locally made rum is not as popular in the country from which it originated as it is abroad.
Such is the case of premium rum brand Don Papa.
“A lot of people here have not heard about Don Papa Rum. Our company’s growth was due to foreigners coming to the Philippines asking where they can get Don Papa,” shared Ben Scharlin, the brand’s “man on the ground.”
Once locals learn the rum from foreign visitors, that’s when the discovery happens inside.
Scharlin said “most of the brand’s sales are in Europe,” owing to the fact that Bleeding Heart Rum Company’s, the maker of Don Papa Rum, founder is from the United Kingdom.
Stephen Carroll founded the company in Negros, also known as the “Sugarbowl of the Philippines” or “Sugarlandia,” when he heard stories of the island—which produces more than half of the country’s sugar output—having the finest sugarcane in the world.
In 2012, the company launched Don Papa, made from one of the oldest strains of sugarcane which grows in the rich volcanic soil surrounding Mount Kanlaon.
The harvested sugarcane goes through the island’s sugar mills where it is crushed and ground creating sweet, rich molasses. It is then fermented, distilled, and aged in ex-bourbon barrels.
To promote the brand and the place where it is made, Bleeding Heart Rum Co. launches #ExperienceSugarlandia online contest where three winners will each get a five-day eco-cultural trip for two in Negros Occidental worth P80,000.
Winners will go on a guided tour (once travel restrictions are lifted between June and December 2021) of the Hawaiian Mill, ride a train through the sugarcane fields, visit ancestral homes like Hacienda Rosalia, and relax at Punta Bulata and Danjugan Island, to name a few. Along the way, they will also indulge in the most delicious dishes the island has to offer, with a glass of rum on the side.
“Sugarlandia is a real place, but in the world of Don Papa, it’s also a place of magic and mystery. We want them to experience the real place, the real people of Negros, as well as the Don Papa version. So when the winners come here to Negros, they’ll also be treated to that otherworldly experience—taste the best food, experience white sand beaches, and get to see a 100-year-old train used in the sugar industry here,” enthused Scharlin.
To join the contest, post a creative photo of Don Papa Rum or Don Papa 10-year on Instagram, with the hashtags #ExperienceSugarlandia and #DonPapaRum. The winning posts that best capture the Sugarlandia feel will be announced on November 15, December 21, and January 8, 2021.
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