A rum article on CNN about Jamaican rum has generated some intense discourse on social media.

Originally posted by the community envoy of the WIRSPA who noted;

“Who’d have thought we’d ever see the day when dunder, muck and ester levels were discussed (accurately even!) in a CNN story?

Kudos to Brad Japhe for pulling this off.”

Kudos and congratulations are definitely in order for Brad since many publications publish rum related content that is bad enough to border on parody.

Brad manages to do a great job of adequately describing the unique character of Jamaican Rum;

He quotes Appleton Estate’s Master Blender Joy Spence; “Hogo is a distinct, impossible-to-miss earthy character. It creates a taste profile that is unlike any other in the world. This goes back to our provenance and terroir.”

The well-respected fermentation and distillation methods that lead to this character are also explored. The article is great reading for anyone interested in knowing more about Jamaican rum.

Only those already familiar with rum might see why the article is problematic. Hence the reason the article has been negatively received by the largest collection of rum enthusiasts on social media; The Ministry of Rum Facebook page.

Would love to see Jamaicans centered at the forefront of their own rum culture.. –K Perry

From the headline, I fully expected to read a Jamaican centered view that decries the interference of Ferrand… instead I got suckered into a Plantation commercial – J Burton

Also, the deep irony that an article titled “The funky nature of authentic Jamaican rum deserves to be left alone” is about the one non-Jamaican person who wishes to irreparably alter and misrepresent Jamaican rum – D Colombo

These are the most liked comments, and they share the sentiments of almost every single comment on the thread.

A growing number of people are seeing Plantation as an unethical and exploitative company.

Their marketing methods glorify an economic model that was used to strip the wealth of former colonies in the past.

They are interfering in Jamaican politics to get legislation passed that will benefit them, but limit potential revenue that Jamaicans can gain for their own products.

Plantation has been accused of having a neo-Colonial agenda by rum enthusiasts, residents of the Caribbean, and every single Jamaican Rum Distillery other than the one that they have a stake in.

References to the piece being a Plantation commercial or an advertorial might come across as just being jokes, but the company is also being accused of buying the support of Rum Influencers and writers. Supposedly, this is in order to limit the amount of content on social media or websites that call them out or criticize them.

It’s not surprising that the vast majority of images on the article were provided by Plantation to the author. Additionally, a Google search of the author’s name followed by “rum” brought up bottles of Plantation Rum as the first three results.

These results have since changed to include images of Equiano Rum from a recent interview with Ian Burrell. It’s worth noting however, that this article on Equiano Rum is simply a standard interview while Plantation content seems very subjective.

One seems to be marketing material for Plantation Pineapple Stiggins, while the other is an inaccurate claim that Plantation Xaymaca is the World’s Best Rum.

 From rum brands to rum writers, it’s important to hold everyone in the industry accountable. Japhe is an excellent writer with a wide reach, and will naturally be held to a higher standard than casual writers talking about how rum has no rules.