MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine lambanog now finds itself among the top liquors of the world.
Lakan Extra Premium Philippine Lambanog, is the first Philippine lambanog brand to be awarded a Gold Medal certification by Monde Selection, one of the most prestigious international quality-certifying bodies in the world.
The certification document, sent to Rappler by Monde Selection, shows that the institute gave "Lakan Extra Premium Lambanog" a Gold Award after submitting to the World Selection of Spirits and Liquors 2015.
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This award, according to their website, means Lakan obtained an average result of 80% to 89% in scores from a series of evaluation and tasting sessions.
The Gold Quality Award is the second highest among 4 awards: Bronze (60-69%), Silver (70-79%), Gold (80-89%) and Grand Gold (90-100%).
The award can be displayed in Lakan's packaging for 3 years with a required mention of when the award was given, according to Monde Selection.
"Such a quality award represents a perfect marketing and advertising tool. It also means an indisputable guarantee of quality to the consumer," reads their website.
An awards ceremony will take place in Lisbon, Portugal on June 1 and 2.
From more than 3,000 submitted products, only a few hundreds are given awards.
The founders of Lakan, only a 6-month-old brand, are thrilled about the recognition.
"Lakan's gold at Monde affirms that lambanog has an export potential. But it will still take a lot of sales and marketing to achieve that," said Jose Osias, a partner in Philippine Craft Distilleries, Inc (PCDI), the company behind Lakan.
The award will hopefully convince government agencies like the Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, and Department of Tourism to spur the development of finished agricultural products that can compete globally, he told Rappler.
Philippine drink to be proud of
Lambanog, or liquor distilled from the nectar of a coconut flower bud, has gained a small following due to its potency and high alcohol content – typically 80 to 90 proof.
It is commonly produced from backyard distilling operations which has earned it a "dirty" reputation as a street liquor, said Osias.
Regular lambanog can be bought off the side of a street for as low as P250 ($5.6) a gallon. One 750-ml bottle of Lakan, meanwhile, costs P3,500 ($79).
Lakan hopes to elevate lambanog into a distinct, high-quality alcoholic drink the Filipinos can be proud of. It hopes to live up to its tagline, "The True Filipino Spirit."
The goal, Osias told Rappler, is to make lambanog the Philippine counterpart of Japan's sake and Korea's soju.
Monde Selection relies on "world-renowned" master sommeliers, oenologists, and professional tasters to individually grade the submitted products.
Aside from spirits and liqueurs, Monde Selection tests the quality of beers, softdrinks, food, and cosmetics.
The beers of San Miguel Brewery Inc have also won many awards from Monde Selection in previous years, including an International High Quality Trophy for Cerveza Negra in 2009 and 2012. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.