Rum moments with your head above the clouds

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

En route to Panama this month for the annual ASUTIL conference, my Iberia flight stopped off briefly at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala.

It’s a country I’ve long wanted to visit but an hour in transit hardly counted. Such though is often the lot of the travel retail executive – hotels and airports often constitute the only experience of a country one gets, just enough to have you yearning for more before it’s on to the next destination.

My interest in Guatemala has been professional as well as personal, due to the success of what I consider to be one of the most authentic and well-crafted brands in the industry – Ron Zacapa rum – a beautiful super-premium rum packaged as well as just about any spirits brand you care to name.

In February brand producer Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala agreed a three-year distribution and joint marketing agreement with the mighty Diageo, giving the drinks giant global distribution rights (excluding some countries in Central America, including Guatemala).

That’s a powerful and progressive marriage and Diageo swung quickly into action, launching a redesigned bottle and a new marketing campaign. 

That campaign is firmly in evidence at La Aurora International, where the first thing to greet travellers stepping off an Iberia flight is the duty free spirits store – entirely dedicated to Industrias Licoreras de Guatemala brands, most notably of course its famous rum.

This is one of the rare examples of a single house having a stand-alone airport duty free shop and the opportunity has been seized in style. As the pictures show, it’s an attractive, spacious area that showcases Zacapa nicely.

And the campaign? Oh yes – the tagline is ‘Aged above the clouds’. Having just flown from Hong Kong to London and on to Central America, it was one I identified with entirely. In fact I may even arrange to have it as my publishing epitaph one day. It seems kind of fitting. That and my current favourite – ‘free of duty at last’.

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