Manatii rum debuts to help Bahamian communities

by Georgie Pursey

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, a UK-based brother-and-sister duo has launched Manatii rum with a mission to help recover and rebuild local communities in the Bahamas.

Founded by Tom and Emma Mercer in 2021, the ‘environmentally-conscious’ Manatii is distilled in the UK to diminish international transport. The signature dark rum is produced using bespoke stills using a 300-year-old St Lucian family recipe and process that brings out ‘deep and immense’ flavours. It offers aromas of sweet, ripe breadfruit with early, grassy notes of sugarcane. On the palate are subtle hints of vanilla before a bold banana finish. The brand’s first batch has been consciously named 'Hope Town', with all bottles numbered by hand. Tom Mercer said of the launch: “Above all else, we founded Manatii after the devastation Hurricane Dorian inflicted, with a goal to help communities recover in the wake of natural disasters.” In 2019, Hurricane Dorian became the most intense tropical cyclone on record to strike the Bahamas, initially making landfall as a category five hurricane. It caused an estimated US$3.4 billion of damage, making it the costliest hurricane in the Bahamas to date. Each bottle of rum is priced at RRP £40 (US$50.25) with 5% of each sale being donated to the IDEA Relief charity, a Bahamian-based marine disaster response and preparation organisation that uses lessons learned during previous disasters to lead the country in developing and documenting best practices for future events such as these. The bottling celebrates the region’s colourful culture through its fun and vibrant branding. The ‘eye-catching’ label has been designed by south London-based artist, Kit Lintin. Her inspiration was drawn from surrealism, Greek myths and interior design as well as the culture of the Caribbean. “As most people know, rum originates in the Caribbean, so Manatii was brought to life as a fun and vibrant brand (with a bottle you might think twice about before throwing away) that has a charitable mission at heart,” Mercer continued. “We are so excited to launch and finally be able to share Manatii with the world.” Everything but the synthetic cork is 100% recyclable – with a recyclable cork in the works – and the bottle has been purposefully designed to be reused. In 2019, Bacardi donated US$1 million to Hurricane Dorian relief.