Naga Rum CEO Sebastien Folloppe (Interview)

Published by The Rumlab ago about the Naga company

 Naga Rum CEO Sebastien Folloppe (Interview) article cover image

Sebastien Folloppe is the brand owner and developer of NAGA Asian Rums. He’s been in the spirits business since 1998. He started as Export Manager for a big french company producing spirits and among all their brands there are Depaz, Montebello, Père Labat, Saint James, Dillon, Old Nick, Negrita. Then he started his own business as a consultant for rum distilleries in 2011, introducing them to the European markets (Relicario, Riise, Cihuatan, Cañero, Optimus…)

In 2009, while he had dinner with some clients in Hong Kong, he tasted a rum from Thailand and discovered then that also Asian countries were producing amazing rums. That is what gives me the idea of NAGA Rums.

Learn more about Sebastien Folloppe, brand owner and developer of NAGA Asian Rums, in the next interview:

TRL: What does the rum mean to you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

I fell in love with rum in 1998 during my 1st trip to Martinique, visiting the distilleries and drinking cocktails in the lagoons…. Rum for me is synonymous with evasion, exotism, and an open mind because there are so many countries producing rums and so many different rums. For me, There is not a single definition of rum like there is for Cognac or Whisky.

TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.

For me, a good rum should be aromatic but not flavored, sweet but not too sweet (or not too much), and surprising like the cook of a great chef.

TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made in the rum industry?

I hope to help rum lovers discover Asian rums.

TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.

The opportunity to have fun while working!

TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about, in addition to rum? Why?

Food & wine without hesitation! Because I like drinking good rum: it’s a time with friends and family. Or maybe just because I’m greedy!

TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?

Any place but has to be with some friends

TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe

I love a good Bordeaux wine when eating followed by an old rum. Why not a Naga Siam Edition 10 YO?

TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?

I think that the rum category has a lack of credibility to compare with whisky or cognac for example because many producers are not respecting the rules. Some things have changed a few months ago while the E.U The European Community prohibited a sugar content higher than 20 mg, the presence of glycerol or vanilla, or the association of the words “ans”, “años” and “years” with the term “solera”. But no control is made on the sometimes excessive flavoring of rums which is prohibited when it is made in Europe but not controlled and therefore authorized in fact when it is made in a country outside the European Union.

TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?

I think the tasting is a very personal matter but if I had any advice it is not to taste any spirit like a wine.

TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?

It is one of the keys but not the sole one. Of course, nowadays respect for the environment has become paramount but not only for rum. For man and the whole planet. And again I believe in the authenticity of the products and this is obviously what the consumer is increasingly looking for. So the definition of rum must be the same for everyone. Otherwise, how can we be credible?

TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?

I would love to meet with the Indonesian authorities to convince them that rum, of which they are perhaps at the origin (sugar cane originating in South East Asia + distillation of alcohol from molasses on the island of Java by the Chinese in the middle of the Middle Ages) could be an additional contribution to the development of the country. However, the production is more or less hidden today…Reason why unfortunatly I cannot communicate of the distillery.

TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?

Continue to look for the rare pearl

TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.

I should be old then because I’m happy to do what I do. But I hope to have many grandchildren and to be able to make them discover the world in all its beauty and its completeness.

TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?

Well, I’m not just gonna make friends…But is the role of the bartender so important…? For famous brands maybe. But for new “small” brands, I do think that liquor stores, social networks, and influencers are much more important.

TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?

Have no limits. Be inventive, creative and I wish you independent of big players!

TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?

With NAGA Rums we have a website www.nagarum.com and social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn).