Reproduced from Caribbean Life
by Tangerine Clarke
Guyana’s award-winning billion-dollar XM Rum company has eluded the Guyanese community in New York for way too long due to stringent U.S. laws and regulations. But thanks to persistent requests from consumers for the alcohol, Banks DIH Limited recently partnered with New Jersey Royal Wine Incorporated, to distribute the popular liquor.
Fans savored the taste of their favorite Extra Mature rum during a reception at Zen Hibachi Lounge in Richmond Hill, Queens on June 30, and cheered the executives of Banks DIH distillers who traveled from Guyana to showcase the company’s five, seven, 10, and 15-year-old rum to launch the brand.
The world rum masters put on a presentation to capture the attention of consumers in the New York area in an effort to ensure Guyana’s largest alcohol brand stand out among the thousands of others that dominate supermarkets and liquor stores in the United States.
But according to Morty Herzog, chief executive officer of vino giant Royal Wine, customers are ready for XM Rum to come to the United States. He noted that his company has received many requests from persons excited about the liquor’s entrance to the marketplace.
“This is a great moment for Royal Wine and one we will remember for a long time,” said Horzog who expressed eagerness to merge his eighth-generation company with that of the D’Aguiare family, who migrated to Guyana from Portugal in 1840.
Horzog spoke of the passion that Royal Wine will bring to the XM brand.
“This brand has a great legacy and history, and it’s a fantastic, award-winning product that started from the ground up, and for that, you need passion, and that is what brings us together with the XM team and the Banks family.”
“It’s passion that is fueling the mission and it’s passion that is going to build XM into one of the most fabulous rum brands in the United States,” added Herzog.
Banks DIH’s Chairman, Clifford Reis, who received Sweden’s second highest national award and the title “Commander of the Polar Star” last year, said the reception was a ‘re-launch’ of XM, that he noted returned to Guyana three years ago because of tax and Labor laws and a competitor law suite that disputed the use of the word ‘Demerara” in the XM brand name.
“Our company is a family business that started many years ago. We believe in everything we do, and the product we produce,” said Reis.
“We are committed like Royal Wine, that has all the same ideas as us, we have a good relationship with consumers and suppliers, and we have a great relationship for the success of XM, and eventually GT beer. He also has plans to start a distillery in New York.
Sales Development VP of Royal Wine Joselyn Mendez, in turn thanked Herzog and Nostrand Wines and Liquors, Edmon Braithwaite, for being the catalyst that brought together the two brands, and stated that Royal Wine has a strong alliance with the Caribbean community.
“Caribbean consumers are hands down our best supporters in the general market, therefore, we want to reciprocate that relationship. I can assure Banks DIH executives that their brands are in the hands of the best distributors and best most passionate sales force in America, she added.
Set against a backdrop of images of the celebrated XM, that has grown to include Banks Beer, Coca Cola, Vita Malt, Wine, Guinness, ice cream, and flour products, George McDonald called the ceremony historic, recounting the company’s humble beginning that started as a rum shop and grew into the largest and fastest growing group of companies in Guyana and the Caribbean
McDonald, the co-managing director who said the brand would be well positioned and supported in the US, maintains that Banks DIH is led by a dedicated management team, and a group of passionate employees who together lead a diverse portfolio.
The company, McDonald added has evolved over the years, with a 51 percent share of Citizens Bank Guyana Inc, and is committed to continuous innovative, sustainable growth.
Capped off with an evening of colorfully clad models wearing costumes designed by Michelle Cole of ColeFacts Designs, to depict the rum flavors, Braithwaite later thanked Royal Wine, and stated that it is a significant opportunity for both companies and more so because Guyana is going through developmental changes.
He concluded by saying there a renewed sense of spirit and purpose within the Guyanese community that certainly embodies the product. “I ask everyone to support this product because it supports what we do back home, added Braithwaite.