Press Release – Lvliang – August 2019

Barranquilla, in northern Colombia, has been chosen to host the 2020 edition of the competition. By hosting the Spirits Selection, Colombia wants to position itself as an international rum platform. An unrivaled media opportunity for all Caribbean rums. As it is a tradition now, the 20th edition of the spirits selection, held in Lvliang, China, has been concluded by a flag take over ceremony, during which Marta Perez, vice-presidente Area Comercial in Puerto de Oro, received the competition’s symbolic glass. All the judges and organizers of the Spirits Selection were then invited to a dinner by the Colombian delegation, a unique occasion for them to discover the Colombian rums.

For the 4th time in its history, the Spirits Selection will take place in Latin America. After Brazil in 2014, Mexico in 2016, Chile in 2017, spirits specialists will all gather in the town of Barranquilla, along the Caribbean Sea to assess the best spirits of the world, from 18th to 21s of August 2020.

“Barranquilla and the Caribbean region are places where internationally awarded rums are produced”, says Marta Perez. “The Spirits Selection will be the perfect occasion for professional tasters and amateurs to discover the rich culture and heritage around it.” She adds. “Every time an international event of excellence such as the Spirits Selection is organized in Barranquilla, the whole city, its people and agenda, are focusing on the gathering, showing its host Colombia kindest hospitality.”  She concludes.

Aguardiente (also known as Guaro), the most consumed spirits in Colombia with 72 million liters, is an anis-flavoured sugar cane distillate wildy consumed in the country, even though the Caribbean region shows a preference for Rums, second most consumed spirits in the country with 18 million liters per year. The last 10 years show growth in spirits importation, whisky being the 3rd most consumed spirit (13,5 million liters), followed by tequila (1.8 million liters), and vodka and gin (with just under 900 000 liters).

According to the WHO, Colombians drink on average 6,2 liters of pure alcohol per year, even though two third of the volume is reserved for beers: these figures have been strongly increasing over the past 8 years, and Colombians spend on average around 262 USD every year on alcoholic drinks. Colombia is for now the 4th largest consumer of alcoholic drink in Latin America, just after Brazil.

“Colombia is witnessing first hand the consumption growth and the way spirits are consumed, opening to a wide variety of spirits thanks to the efforts of retailers and importers”, says Baudouin Havaux

The indigenous communities of the country, as well as the farmers from the countryside, have also kept a tradition of fermenting their own spirits, most of them being produced with sugar from sugar cane as their basis. As an example, Chirrinchi is produced in the Guajira region, while Guarapo comes from Cundinamarca and Boyaca. All those craft fermentation are widly consumed during carnivals and other regional or national days.

The Spirits Selection by CMB will be held from 18th to 21st of August 2020, in parallel of the Sabor Barranquilla event.