Strong brands propel MONARQ Group to expansion and record business

MONARQ Group continues to go from strength to strength, growing its business in the Americas, and expanding its team to meet this rising demand.

“2022 was our best year ever and 2023 started equally strong. Our organic growth has been strong throughout all categories, channels and markets,” MONARQ Group founder Robert de Monchy tells TMI.

“We have been growing double digits since the inception of MONARQ in 2006 and have become the leading independent player in the region.”

MONARQ has expanded its team in multiple departments to help cover all of the markets in the region where MONARQ operates.

“In the last few years, we have invested in our CRM and order-processing systems, while at the same time we expanded our Customer Service team as well as supportive roles such as Compliance. We have also expanded both our Regional and Marketing Team, which also includes a digital marketer and a trade marketer,” says de Monchy.

“Our commercial team, based out of the Miami office as well as in St Maarten, Mexico and Chile, covers all domestic markets and duty free channels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean as well as USA Duty Free.”

MONARQ will also be moving its Miami office to a much larger space in Coconut Grove in the next few months.

“It’s quite an amazing spot which we are currently renovating,” de Monchy.

De Monchy says its recent growth has been led by the success of the United States duty free and the return of cruises to destinations throughout the region.

“Over the past years there have been many bright spots as our business got stronger throughout all markets and channels in the region from Bermuda in the north to Argentina and Chile in the south. If you ask me to pick one particular highlight, I would say the USA DF channel including cruise ships. This channel has almost fully recovered, and MONARQ is seeing very strong growth here.”

MONARQ is targeting these cruise ships with its Uncle Nearest whiskeys, which the company brought into its spirits portfolio last year

“We are excited to be launching Uncle Nearest on all Royal Caribbean Cruise ships, in all their bars and restaurants, starting April 2023. Starboard has also listed the full range of Uncle Nearest for all their locations onboard Carnival Cruise Line as well as Royal Caribbean Cruise ships. This just goes to show that the brand is showing real momentum across all channels,” says de Monchy.

“We welcomed Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey to our portfolio, which honors the world’s first-known Afro American master distiller, Nearest Green. The brand has been the most awarded American Whiskey or Bourbon for the last four years.”

MONARQ has also added to its portfolio in a number of strategic categories, says de Monchy.

“We have looked at the Sake category for many years but were not happy with the brands that came along, until about a year ago. We now represent SOTO Sake as well as Heavensake and are pleased with the performance of these two amazing brands, which both fit right in our portfolio, being premium and innovative.

“During the last year, we also expanded our gin portfolio towards ‘World Gins’ and recently added three exciting new gin brands: Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Saigon Baigur from Vietnam and Condesa Gin from Mexico City. Last but certainly not least, we started working with Bollinger Champagne, a brand that needs no further introduction.”

De Monchy says the iconic Barbancourt Rhum from Haiti recently underwent a packaging upgrade.

“The brand is performing very well, both in the domestic markets of the Caribbean and Latin America as well as USA Duty Free. The brand is listed at DFA stores and on Carnival Cruise Line’s latest and largest ship, Celebration.”

DFS Masters of Wine & Spirits

MONARQ is excited to feature some highly rare bottles of Japanese whiskey at DFS’ wine and spirits event, says de Monchy.

“We are participating in the super exclusive DFS Masters of Wine & Spirits event in Macau, where as part of the Gala dinner there they will be the opportunity to purchase two bottles of the ultra-rare bottles of Shirakawa 1958 Japanese Whisky. The Shirakawa distillery operated for nearly six and half decades before being demolished in 2003. Some barrels of the Shirakawa, distilled in 1958 were preserved after being aged for many years in barrels, these were first transferred to clay pots and later to stainless steel tanks. The team at Tomatin Distillery, whose parent company Takara Shuzo Co. discovered this lost liquid, is now releasing a very limited number of bottles of The Shirakawa 1958, with an MSRP of US$30,000 per bottle.”