The ‘lambanog’ possibilities
A global coconut craze continues, transforming coconut-derived raw materials into branded finished products. One example of this is Lakan extra premium Philippine lambanog, which Philippine Craft Distillers Inc. (PCDI) launched in October 2015 as “the true Filipino spirit… now ready for the world.”
Indeed, Lakan appears ready for the world. As can be seen from its website at www.lakan.com.ph, Lakan won medals in all eight international wine and spirit competitions it joined over the last three years. This includes two golds in Europe’s prestigious Monde Selections (in 2015 and 2017) and a double gold in a recently concluded China contest. Lakan also garnered three silvers and two bronzes in European and American competitions, proving global competitiveness.
Part of that competitiveness stems from PCDI’s multidistillation technology which assures the quality of this traditional Philippine alcoholic beverage from coconut nectar. Discerning drinkers who sample Lakan marvel at the immediate warmth from its 90-proof potency and lack of a hangover the morning after a night of too much lambanog. Cognac and single malt aficionados should taste Lakan!
Given financial and marketing support, entrepreneurs can elevate lambanog into a separate international liquor category like those derived from fermented grains (whisky or vodka), made from other agricultural sources (brandy from grapes or tequila from agave) or pursued because of local culture (like China’s baiju or Korea’s soju). At present, PCDI is set to introduce Vino de Coco, fermented from coconut nectar, to the US market and is
negotiating with a Japanese group to offer cocosake (a lambanog variant in sake strength) in Osaka. With these, coconut’s alcoholic beverage sector may get busy soon — especially with the launch of local lambanog brands catering to specific Philippine market niches.
Coconut opportunities are by no means restricted to alcoholic beverages. Other new manufacturers await entrepreneurs daring to market branded finished products as mundane as buko juice, cocosugar, cocochar or geotextiles and as advanced as pharmaceutical VCO. Hopefully, entrepreneur champions will take on this coconut challenge, starting with lambanog.
And if one Filipino tycoon’s group can take over some of the world’s largest brandy and whisky operations, there’s no reason why another Pinoy group can’t make lambanog a new international liquor category.
JOSE Z. OSIAS, convenor, BalikProbinsiya, [email protected]
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