One thing's for sure: Leblon appears to do more than most to educate the market and open the cachaça category in the U.S. for all brands. At some point, I have to believe that either 1) Leblon will tire of carrying everyone's publicity load for such campaigns, or 2) the U.S. cachaça-importing industry will simply run out of Leblon's ideas.
In the meantime, though, they have taken up the cause of fighting regulatory injustices, sclerotic bureaucracies, and prohibition-era legal anachronisms. How? By bringing attention to the fact that TTB requires that cachaça be labeled "Brazilian Rum", relegating the spirit's proper name to the status of mere secondary descriptor.
Leblon's effort takes the form of the "Legalize Cachaça" campaign, realized as "protests" (bar-crawls with hand-held signs, really) seen at Tales of the Cocktail and various cities around the U.S. Last Sunday, the effort came to the Windy City. (Video at bottom.)
Of course, as any trip to a decent liquor store indicates, cachaça is certainly "legal" in that it can be purchased, possessed, and enjoyed by anyone of sufficient age. However, the TTB insists that if you distill a sugarcane spirit of any sort, it must be called a "rum". Leblon seeks to ensure that cachaça be fairly afforded the same treatment as, say, cognac, champagne, or tequila.
Other events have already taken place in San Francisco, Boston, Orlando, Miami, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, and New York City. Upcoming events on September 18 include:Los Angeles
- ASIA de CUBA, 844 W. Sunset Blvd. @ The Standard Hotel, 4:30-5:30pm
- KETCHUP, 8590 W. Sunset Blvd., 6:30-7:30pm
- RED ROCK, 8782 W. Sunset Blvd., 7:30pm
- CYCLONE ANAYAS MIDTOWN, 309 Gray St., 8:00pm - 9:00pm
- UNION BAR, 2708 Bagby St., 9:00pm - 10:00pm
- OPEN CITY, 2416 Brazos St., 10:00pm - 11:00pm TIPSY CLOVER CITY, 2416 Brooks St., 11:00pm - 12:00am
I had a blast at their event. If you're in El Lay or Houston, be sure to check it out. There's also a DC event in the works.
Here's my video. Flickr is fighting me this evening, so watch for an update to this post if you want to see my slideshow.
UPDATE: Here's the slideshow: