Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local distiller ready for infusion of funds

Local distiller ready for infusion of funds

Bottles of Samai rum sit on a counter at the company’s Phnom Penh distillery in 2014.
Bottles of Samai rum sit on a counter at the company’s Phnom Penh distillery in 2014. Hong Menea

Local distiller ready for infusion of funds

Samai Distillery, Cambodia’s first and only rum producer, is close to securing upwards of $1 million from foreign investors to expand its business operations and production capacity, a move that could see its products sold internationally, the company said.

Daniel Pacheco, co-founder and director of Samai, said he is in late-stage discussions with a group of angel investors, and the company could soon secure a commitment for $550,000 to $700,000 in funding. He said that beyond the financial support, the investors would offer invaluable business advice for the start-up that first began producing rum in 2014.

“We are also aiming to raise another $600,000 from other individual investors to [expand] our business,” he added.

He said the first priority was to increase the production capacity of the distillery, which would require purchasing land and constructing a larger facility. As part of the company’s expansion plan, Samai rum would be marketed and exported abroad.

Pacheco said he intends to restructure the operation into a holding company with two subsidiaries, keeping the Samai brand name while operating an independent distillery. “This will allow for us to distil products for other brands, and some companies have already reached out to us expressing interest in our distillery operations,” he explained.

Steve Landman, managing partner of Lotus Fund, and one of the potential angel investors that would provide funding, said that he was optimistic that the rum’s Cambodian origin would add to its appeal in more developed consumer markets.

“The Samai brand is associated not only with helping farmers increase their income – as they source all of their ingredients locally – but also the fact that it comes from Cambodia makes it really special, especially as it is not a place that is known for producing rum, like in the Caribbean,” he said.

Landman, a member of the Mekong Angel Investor Network (MAIN), noted that the Cambodian rum distillery has raised a lot of interest from other investors he spoke to who are seeking a return on their capital commitments.

“Everyone has been really excited in the brand, even people who did not meet [Samai] directly,” he said.

“Premium spirits are increasing in demand and becoming really popular and I’m hoping to get the deal done by this year.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting