Plantation Rum Becomes Planteray Rum
At a press conference today at the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados, Plantation Rum owner Alexandre Gabriel revealed the brand’s long-awaited new name, Planteray, which will first appear on bottles of Cut & Dry Coconut Rum. In conjunction with the name change is the news that Cut & Dry will be available outside Barbados for the first time.
According to Gabriel, the Planteray name “…pays homage to sugarcane, the PLANT that gives birth to the rum, and the sun’s RAYs that are essential for sugarcane growth and ripening.” Other than replacing ation in Plantation with eray, all other branding elements remain unchanged, as the image above shows.
Origins of the Planteray Rum Name Change
The decision to change the well-recognized Plantation name dates to the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020. Global cultural differences revealed varied levels of acceptance of the word, with some of the strongest negative reactions coming from the US and the Caribbean, where recent history of colonization and enslavement is still being reckoned with.
Prior to 2020 when asked about the name, Gabriel explained that when he launched the brand more than two decades earlier, the term “plantation” in his native French simply meant farm. The problematic connection to enslavement didn’t draw much attention until the brand expanded into more countries.
Although the 2020 protests weren’t the first rumblings that the Plantation name was problematic to some, the heightened attention made it clear the company needed to address the issue head-on. In its June 29, 2020, press release announcing that the brand would change its name, Gabriel stated:
As the dialogue on racial equality continues globally, we understand the hurtful connotation the word plantation can evoke to some people, especially in its association with much graver images and dark realities of the past…
Name Change Timing
Unsaid in the 2020 announcement was what the new name would be and when it would roll out. A Spirits Business Article noted at the time, “The progressive rebrand is expected to take more than two years.”
When mid-2022 rolled around without word from Plantation on a new name, numerous social media threads sprang up, and many of the brand’s more vociferous critics asserted Plantation had no intention of changing the name. Allegations of stalling even made it into mainstream press articles.
While this public conversation was occurring, Plantation’s parent company had previously filed for a trademark for Planteray in France in October 2021 and a US trademark for Planteray a month later. These trademark filings were sixteen months after the 2020 name change announcement.
However, filing for a trademark isn’t the same as approval, and other companies can object to its approval. In a 2022 interview with Drinks International, Gabriel said:
The team thought it had a name last year but found it was blocked by a leading global drinks company. This put the process back six months. Two other names are currently being checked and registered for a patent in the 100 countries where it has distribution, which takes time.
Given the trademark filing dates and Gabriel’s statement in the interview, it’s reasonable to assume that it was the Planteray name that was objected to. Regardless, an agreement regarding the use of the name appears to have been hammered out.
As for the other potential names Gabriel referred to in the interview, one is almost certainly Planterra: French and US trademark filings for Planterra were filed in August and September 2022.
The new name was kept closely under wraps until Planteray could be registered in the 100-plus countries where the Plantation name was already in use. Announcing the new name before completing the required registrations would have invited trademark trolling.
Planteray Rum Rollout Details
The first Planteray product will be Cut & Dry, available in the USA, UK, France, as well as in Barbados, where it’s produced and bottled. The remainder of the brand’s lineup will shift to Planteray branding as existing custom bottles and packaging are depleted.
According to Gabriel, the brand currently holds a substantial inventory of bottles with “Plantation” embossed in large letters at the base, as the company had stockpiled large quantities of custom bottles during the COVID pandemic when the liquor industry experienced significant manufacturing delays.
Thus, consumers will notice that shipments of Plantation Rum–branded bottles won’t stop overnight, and some countries may see the Planteray rollout sooner than others.
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