Tete a Tete with founder & brand owner of Wild Tiger Rum - Gautom Menon


What’s the brand story behind Wild Tiger?

When I got involved with the family liquor business in 2006, my dad would often send me to drinks events around the world and the one thing I realised was that an Indian beverage brand was never found at any of these international events and that bothered me a lot. So I researched a bit and was amazed to know that the origins of Rum are from Ancient India, in fact sugarcane spread from ancient India to the Caribbean, so I was certain that I wanted to develop a Rum label and Rum by far is the most versatile spirit and a fun industry too.

What motive fueled the creation of SuperPremium Rum such as Wild Tiger?

India, although is one of the largest producer and consumer of rum, we didn't have a single rum label that represented India globally portraying the vibrant spirit and urban aspirations of the present day India and Indians alike. Yes, certain brands like Old Monk are built on nostalgia but I wanted to create something trendy, chic and which is yet able to capture the essence of India in a bottle. There is no better animal to represent that imagination of India than our National animal, Tiger and no better way to capture that spirit in the way Rum can, which by the way has origins from ancient India.

Who do you see as the most likely customers for Wild Tiger Rum?

As a brand owner one always wants to hit all the types of demographics, but at the moment, we are mainly focusing on two of them.
1. The traveler or passenger leaving India who is looking for a unique Indian brand to take back home as a souvenir or for gifting purpose.
2. The Indian Diaspora who are looking for ways to connect back to India at a very buoyant time.

Is there something unique about your distillery and/or your product that you would like to share with us?

Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum is dark Rum with 42.8% abv. It’s quite unlike any other Indian rum because of its unique characteristics. A traditional Indian rum is based with 100% molasses. Wild Tiger predominately has the same base but it is also blended with some percentage of cane juice spirit, which gives the final blend a lot of aromatic notes and depth in flavour. For maturation,we only use American Oakwood barrels from Kentucky, USA. We char the barrels to reactivate the wood and the many natural flavours in them are imparted to the spirit over time. Our Rums are a blend of anything between two to five years. The molasses rum is derived from multi-column stills production and the cane juice spirit from double distillation in pot stills. And this unique blend makes Wild Tiger uniquely delectable or as we like to call it “RUMTASTIC”.

What have been some of the greatest challenges that you have encountered so far?

The archaic state excise laws that require statutory warnings in regional language even for overseas export orders, the denial of bottling at 700ml and at anything other than 42.86% are some of the major stumbling blocks despite the laws clearly stating that rules are to be made flexible based on the prevailing norms of the Import country.

Wild Tiger Rum has been nominated for several International design and taste awards. Can you tell us a bit about these milestones?

We have been nominated for some of the biggest and most decorated award contests and it's something we shall let the results speak out for it.

Do you have any plans for coming up with more Rums in the near future?

Yes, we plan to come up with an entire portfolio of premium rums under the Wild Tiger umbrella, but for now our entire focus is on the recently launched dark variant Wild Tiger Special Reserve Rum.

Have you seen any changes in the consumer palates for Rum in India over the years?

Unfortunately not, Indian rums have always been a mixing drink. Most people do not even realize that Bacardi white is actually a Rum. But we are lucky to be termed sipping rum by many respected drinks experts and rum connoisseurs. Whilst the consumer palate in India for Rum hasn't changed one thing that is the penchant for new labels that one can relate to.

What is the current scenario of the Indian Rum Industry and where do you see it going in the next 5 years?

Future for Rum is very bright; I would stick out my neck and say that universally Rum will be what Cognac today is by 2025. Some exquisite rum labels out there are slowly trickling into India, but due to the extreme taxes they are out of reach of many rum drinkers but with a rising middle class we will get there in time.

Being a Rum Connoisseur, which is your all time favorite Rum from India & from abroad?

I don't think I have one favourite rum, my answer to that is the "Rum in my glass". But as a style of Rum I am very inclined towards some of the rums from Panama and Venezuela.

Which country is your most loved destination for Rum Tasting?

Miami and London are the epicenter of all rum brands with more rum events taking place in these two places, but I guess I will go with Miami because of the tropical vibe the region has.

How do you see the role of alcohol awareness website such as All About Daru on social stigmas & misconceptions related to alcohol in India?

It's very much needed that too at a point in time when many states are contemplating prohibition, which historically has never worked anywhere. Advocacy always works more than highhanded government clampdowns. It's important for consumers to know how to enjoy a drink, its calorie values and the repercussions of binge drinking and ; any form of awareness is a welcome initiative.

Gautom Menon

Gautom Menon

 Founder & Brand Owner Wild Tiger Rum


Gautom has a Business degree from Oxford Brookes, UK and a double Masters. One being in Events & Festival Management from University of Westminster, London. Additionally he is also a Fellow at Charted Manager Institute, London and has professional certifications in Spirits from WSET, London and Responsible Service of Alcohol from Victoria, Australia. Gautom is a part of several professional memberships such as APTRA (Asia Pacific Travel Retail Association), Young Indians, Bombay Ad Club, London Rum Club, Intl Special Events Society and Association of British Scholars (ABS) Gautom has been associated with the rum industry for nearly a decade now owing to his family’s interest in the Liquor business. He has a collection of over 140 Rums from around the world and some very rare Family Reserve and Limited editions too. He also frequently updates a list of 400 different rums he has sampled during his Rum travels.

 

 
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