|Country of origin||Brazil|
|Alcohol by volume||40%|
|Related products||List of Cachaças|
Leblon Cachaça is a luxury brand of the alcoholic beverage cachaça (pronounced ka-SHA-sa) sold in the United States. Leblon is an artisinal cachaça produced in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil. Cachaça is the primary ingredient in Brazil's national cocktail, the caipirinha. The name "Leblon", refers to an affluent neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, as it is depicted inside the bottle.
Leblon Cachaça was founded by Robert Stoll, Steve Luttmann, a former LVMH brand manager, new-product scout Gerard Schweizer, and master distiller Gilles Merlet in 2005. Leblon, which is produced in Minas Gerais, was first introduced to the US in September 2005 and was subsequently introduced to markets in the UK and France in 2006 and to the Brazilian market in 2007.
The company has seen steady growth since 2005 in the United States, Brazil, Western Europe and Thailand.
99% of cachaça is consumed in Brazil, and of the 1% that is exported, Leblon claims a significant share. At $30 a 750-ml bottle, Leblon is the largest player by value on the US market. Before Leblon hit the US market, industrial cachaça brands like Ypioca and Cachaca 51 were two of the only cachaças familiar to Americans. Leblon has helped raise the drink's positioning in America from a basic spirit to an exotic luxury import.
Leblon Cachaça was a Gold Medal Award Winner at the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, a 7-consecutive-year run, which is a first for any cachaça. (In 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Leblon was awarded the Double Gold Medal for Best Cachaça.) It was also the Best in Class Winner at the 2007 International Tasting Competition in London and was awarded the 2010 Rising Star Growth Brand Award. It also won Sounds and Colours' favourite cachaça in their Caipirinha Challenge in 2011.
In June 2008, Leblon established an artisinal distillery in the fertile cachaça-producing Minas Gerais region of Brazil. The distillery is dubbed Maison Leblon, and co-founder Gilles Merlet serves as master distiller. Merlet approaches the distillation of Leblon Cachaça as if it were a fine wine. The cane is hand-harvested from a nearby field and delivered to the Maison in less than three hours for pressing. The juice is fermented for 15 hours before being transferred into the Alambique copper pot stills for single-batch distillation. The distillate is then rested up to 6 months in Vintage XO Cognac Casks from France. The various batches are then master blended, and the final batch is triple-filtered and bottled in glass. Since Leblon Cachaça is distilled in Alambique copper pot stills in smaller batches and not in faster, cheaper column stills, it is classified as an artisinal cachaça. Leblon is certified by the Instituto Mineiro de Agropecuária as an artisinal Cachaça de Alambique.
Their motto is Live, Love, Leblon and Leblon is leading the growth of cachaça in the United States, as well as leading the creation of new luxury cachaça segments in top establishments. It is now exclusively the house cachaça of such chains as Morton's Steakhouse, TGI Friday's, and Sushi Samba, as well as on several luxury cruise lines and top US accounts. Luttmann is quoted as saying he expects Caipirinhas to sit side-by-side with other classics like the margarita, mojito and cosmo as a trendy US drinks, and that in the US and Europe the drink is already nicknamed the 'Caipi'.
Luttmann has made American awareness and consumer education an essential element in establishing Leblon and the presence of cachaça in the United States. In the summer of 2008, the company launched Cachaça 101, caipirinha-making classes, in major US cities to educate bartenders and consumers on cachaça and the art of the caipirinha. Leblon Cachaça also produces educational videos to promote the versatility of cachaça.
Legalize Cachaça Campaign
Despite the fact that cachaça is the official spirit of Brazil and the third-most consumed spirit in the world, the US is one of the few countries that defines any spirit derived from sugar cane as rum. Accordingly, cachaça sold in the United States must say "rum" somewhere on the front label. Many makers, including Leblon, refer to their product as Brazilian Rum on the label. Cachaça is made from fresh cane juice, not molasses like rum, predates the invention of rum by over a century (a.c. 1550), and has an entirely different cultural connotation.
Leblon Cachaça has made changing the Brazilian Rum moniker a priority, and the Legalize Cachaça campaign targets bartenders, the trade, consumers and the press with the purpose of educating the masses about the distinctions between cachaça and rum. The campaign is also lobbying the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to recognize cachaça as a class or type of distilled spirit under the authority of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act.
- Cachaça, Leblon. "Leblon Overview and History". Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- O'Neil, Darcy. "It's the national drink of Brazil, and maybe summer". That's The Spirit. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- "Luttmann Brings Brazilian Cachaça to the U.S. Jan 14, 2009". The Wall Street Journal. January 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Vorasarun, Chaniga (May 21, 2007). "Energy Drink". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Curtis, Gibson (July 15, 2009). "Cachaça Still a Commodity, But Premiumization Potential in Brazil, Abroad Appears Enormous". Impact. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- "Leblon Cachaça". Wine Compass Blog. April 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Cachaça - The Caipirinha Challenge
- Kaarlas, Tatu (May 9, 2009). "Cachaca review: Leblon Cachaca (Brazil)". EveryJoe.com. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Young, Naren; Jacob Briars (2008). "Naren and Jacob Go To Leblon Beach". Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Luttmann, Steve. "Leblon Cachaca on Youtube". YouTube.com. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- M., J. (June 2008). "Cachaca's Moment". Market Watch. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Boudreau, Jamie (January 19, 2009). "Jinha and Leblon". Spirits and Cocktails. Retrieved 2009-08-19.
- Leblon Cachaça Official Website
- www.LeblonTV.com Videos
- Leblon's Caipirinha Recipes
- Museu da Cachaça
- Wiki-Cachaça - Leblon Profile