La Martiniquaise-Bardinet: experts with passion!

The French spirits giant places a premium on the cultural heritage of its products, but this has not prevented it embracing disruptive innovations

La Martiniquaise-Bardinet is one of the world’s leading spirits companies, with brands including Label 5, Cutty Sark and Saint James. So who better to talk to Vinexpo Daily about the latest trends than the company’s communication and marketing director Sylvia Bernard? As Vinexpo Bordeaux opened its doors, we started by asking her to describe the key trends in dark and white spirits.

The Whisky category is growing alongside Genever and Gin. But the most interesting global trend right now is the ‘premiumisation’ of products and brands. Dark and aged spirits are developing strongly in the Rums category for example and we think that Saint James Rhum Agricole AOC Martinique has a bright future. The AOC Martinique is the only AOC in the Rum category, protecting a unique and ancestral elaboration process and defending our French history and legacy. As the category captain of that premium category worldwide, Saint James Rhum Agricole is the 1st ambassador of that trend.


How do you plan to maximise your growth in spirits in the coming year?

La Martiniquaise-Bardinet innovates and is a disruptive company. We constantly adapt our brands and products to the countries we are working with. The Group is also investing in its industrial forces to continue offering the best quality of products by controlling the production and elaboration processes.

You operate in over a 100 countries, but what are the fastest growing?

We are developing our positions in the USA, in Asia and in the Eastern European countries. La Martiniquaise-Bardinet has continually invested in high-performance production facilities for all its sites, particularly in France, Scotland, Portugal and Martinique. The Group currently counts 38 subsidiaries and production sites across Europe and the world. Its strength lies in its four pillars of expertise, Whisky, Rum, Wine & Port, and Traditional French Spirits.


You are very committed to the environment and protecting your cultural heritage: what new steps are you taking to be more sustainable?

We have worked on different projects to limit our consumption – for example by introducing industrial processes that respect the use of water, electricity and raw material. In Martinique, we launched an investment programme to enable use of our industrial buildings for the production of solar power. Similarly in the South of France we use solar thermal panels for cleaner energy. In Scotland, we are producing electricity using methane from liquid waste while in Reunion Island we are producing bioethanol, in partnership with Albioma, a key player in overseas renewable energy production. We are also working with Albioma on the construction of a bagasse/biomass plant in Martinique and Marie-Galante.

In addition, I would like to enrich the concept of sustainable development by speaking about history, legacy and oenotourisme. For us commitment also means having an approach that is intrinsically linked to our passion for our wines and spirits. This unique industry needs to be led by players who are fundamentally driven by a desire to share expertise that, for many of our brands, reflects cultural heritage and knowledge that we are now responsible for preserving.

An example of our cultural approach is Espaço Porto Cruz in Portugal. Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, this centre offers an opportunity to discover Porto’s Wines via original interactive, sensory experiences. In Martinique, meanwhile, visitors can discover the entire history of Agricole Rhum from 1765 to the present day in an ancient colonial mansion. They can also explore the Saint James vintage cellar, home to rare vintages dating back as far as 1885.

What will be the main highlights on your stand at Vinexpo Bordeaux?

We are presenting our new Scotch Whisky brand Cutty Sark, acquired last year from Edrington. We also have new products such as our Saint James Bitters, a tribute to the brand expertise in mixology. We have just launched a new reference for Porto Cruz with a Ruby Reserve and are ready to release the new Gibson’s Gin packaging. Vinexpo is also the occasion to present our new brand message and corporate website. We are La Martiniquaise-Bardinet, Experts with Passion!.

Hall 1 / Stand BD216

Photo: Sylvia Bernard, Marketing Director, La Martiniquaise-Bardine