Brand pirates plague Jamaican coffee

Sunday, May 17, 2015

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — The boast is that Jamaican coffee, particularly the Blue Mountain brand, is the best there is.

A huge challenge for the industry regulator, the Coffee Industry Board, is holding the brand pirates at bay.

"It is challenging, very, very challenging," confessed Chairman of the Coffee Board, Delano Franklyn, as he toured Jamaica Standard Products' Baron Hall Estate in Cave Valley, St Ann recently.

"We are faced with protection of the name, we are faced with protection of the brand. Like everything else in the world, once it is sought after people are going to try to duplicate it; try to replicate it," Franklyn said.

A task force of "relevant stakeholder agencies", including the police, Jamaica Bureau of Standards, Jamaica Customs and others are working "collaboratively to try and ensure that in Jamaica what we have on the shelves are real authentic stuff", he said.

"We have undertaken raids on (retail) shelves because we must signal to the public that whatever they are picking up ought to be Jamaican coffee. The worst thing you can have is duplicate or illegal coffee being paraded. It ultimately affects the brand, taste profile, the quality and everything," said Franklyn.

According to the Coffee Board chairman: "We are having an even bigger challenge outside of Jamaica..."

" ...Once the coffee leaves Jamaica and it is on the shelf we have to find a way to be able to police it. We have not yet got that totally right, we have been trying to work with agencies, entities and, in some cases, lawyers to try and ensure no brand infringement but it is not an easy challenge," he said.

-- Garfield Myers

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