Nusa Caña is bringing back the forgotten story of indonesian rum. The Yak spoke to co-founder marc rodrigues about its global journey.
Hey Marc, it’s been a while since we caught up. How is your journey going?
Our vision is to bring the taste of tropical Indonesian island life to anyone, anywhere. We aim to build a global tribe that celebrates Indonesia’s rich tropical island culture and unique vibe, while putting Indonesian craft on the world map. So far, we have made great progress on this journey. Currently, our rum is available across Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and the UAE. Later this year, we are launching in the US. Let me share an example of how we bring our vision to life – check out the images of a Nusa Caña event on an Athens beach in Greece!
Are you still focused on bringing back the forgotten story of Indonesian Rum? Can you remind us how you started and what makes your rum different and excellent?
As a group of founders, we discovered the forgotten story of Indonesia’s spirit, particularly its role in the history of cane spirits and rum. It is a compelling and valid story. We often forget that sugar cane originated in Southeast Asia before it was cultivated in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Moreover, explorers who arrived in what is now Indonesia discovered the locals enjoying a distilled sugar cane spirit as early as the 15th century, before the word ‘rum’ became popular. Our vision in launching the Nusa Caña brand is to revive this forgotten story and share the Bali lifestyle we love with the rest of the world.
Are you still an independent brand, keeping it real in the bars?
Yes, we remain an independent brand with a mission to deliver our message, brand story, and delicious rum to the drinks trade worldwide. We are fortunate to have the support of partners around the world, including those in Indonesia, who are committed to spreading our vision. Our message and liquid have been well-received, as evidenced by the platinum and gold medals we received in the NYC Spirits Awards and the recent recognition from the Beverage Tasting Institute, one of the most prestigious and industry-relevant competitions in the US, within the past six months.
Your distribution network seems to have grown exponentially since we last spoke. Can you share more about it?
Indeed, it’s exciting to witness the expansion of our distribution network. Our Indonesian rum can now be found in some of the world’s iconic beach bars, rum bars, and events. For example, it is poured at Tropicana Beach Club and Nammos Beach Club in Mykonos, Greece. In London, the legendary Laki Kane rum bar embraces both Nusa Caña and its island home of Bali. Our Indonesian rum has also made its way to Thailand, where it is served in many famous rooftop bars, including the Banyan Tree, in Bangkok. In Australia, we are poured in various venues from the Court House Hotel in Port Douglas to Café Le Monde in Noosa Heads, down to Brisbane’s Story Bridge Hotel, and many more establishments in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. Some notable favorites include Jungle Boy in Melbourne’s Prahran, Cricketers Arms in Port Melbourne, The Hold in Manly Beach, and The Stuffed Beaver in Bondi. In Perth, we love Long Chim. Furthermore, we had the privilege of having Indonesian Nusa Caña Rum as the on-track rum at the Formula One event in Abu Dhabi last year.
Why should we consider drinking rum again?
Rum offers unparalleled versatility. It serves as the foundation for a wide range of delicious cocktails, from classic favorites like the Mojito and Piña Colada to the Dark ‘n’ Stormy and the refreshing Daiquiri. There’s a rum drink for every mood and occasion. Moreover, rum has an inherent association with tropical destinations, instantly transporting you to a state of relaxation and vacation vibes with every sip. Just close your eyes and imagine swaying palm trees, sandy beaches, and a gentle ocean breeze. Rum’s tropical vibes are irresistible. When you enjoy Nusa Caña Rum while in Bali, it allows you to extend your holiday experience. You can take a bottle home with you or purchase one when you return home.
Why hasn’t anyone else had the bright idea of making rum from Indonesia before?
It’s not that we came up with the idea ourselves. We are simply bringing back the forgotten story of Indonesian sugar cane spirit, also known as rum. In the 17th to 19th centuries, Indonesian sugar cane spirit was the most popular, crafted, exotic, and sought-after quality sugar cane spirit. It earned the reputation as the “World’s First International Luxury Spirit” and became the godfather to the world of rum. We are reintroducing this spirit to the world, showcasing its unique qualities and historical significance.
What collaborations have you fostered since we last spoke, and when is the next great event we can join?
We are constantly seeking to support the drinks community in Bali, including hotel bars, beach clubs, cocktail bars, restaurants, and clubs. We offer a liquid that is both local and global, a story that is uniquely Indonesian, and a brand experience that is memorable and replicable in your home country. You’ll find our rum bar carts popping up everywhere on the island, at festivals, beach bars, and music events. And if you’re in Bali, why not go online and have a bottle or two delivered directly to your villa or hotel?
Nusa Caña is drawing attention to an industry that fills Indonesia with pride! By reviving the forgotten tale of Indonesian Rum, Nusa Caña showcases the excellent quality of Indonesian rum. Hary Wahyudi – Desa Potato Head Bali
“Nusa Caña Rum is a stellar spirit that captures the essence of Indonesia and transports it to a bottle. With its smooth flavour and unforgettable aroma, it has become a favourite among rum connoisseurs.” Javier Martin, Oldmans, Bali
“Very ambitious Rum, professional team, you can feel the effort behind the brand! A big plus is that these rums are very easy to work with for cocktails, infuses and souse vide.” Nikita Fedchishin, La Favela Bali
“A perfect blend of Indonesia’s rich spice island heritage as one of the biggest sugarcane producers.” Ayana Rock Bar Bartender, I Gede Rae Wira Pranata Bali
“The tropical notes of Asian sugarcane in Nusa Caña really makes the drink stand out. It’s kind of the taste of Asia in a glass. We use it to make Island Mojito’s for our rooftop bar and it is very popular.” Deepak Soni, Beverage Manager, Banyan Tree Bangkok
“Nusa Caña makes me feel like I am on holiday! A mojito made with this rum transfers me directly to the sunny island of Bali, shirt off and barefoot in the sand. We’re a rum bar, and this is one of our most popular back bar labels.” Georgi Radev, Co-owner and operator, Laki Kane London
“I am drawn to Nusa Caña because of its unique brand story and how it reimagines the rich, longstanding heritage of Indonesian rum.” Paulo Quejano, Co-founder, The Sanctum Hong Kong
“Nusa Caña is the perfect base ingredient for many long drinks, making it an extremely versatile option. Great back story, great flavour and appealing aesthetic – it ticks every box.” Andrea De Vincenzi, Spirits Specialist / Category Manager DORECA Italy
“It’s great to see Nusa Caña give bartenders another sugarcane spirit tool to help make great cocktails. Nusa Caña ticks a lot boxes especially in a Daiquiri, which really showcases the flavour profile of Indonesian Rum.” Ian Burrell, world’s leading Rum spokesman and ambassador