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By bogotapost March 10, 2015

Rum Dictador, Colombian rumA world-renowned Colombian rum could finally be set to hit the shelves as part of a government plan to limit local alcohol monopolies that are used to fund regional governments.

Cartagena’s award-winning Colombian rum, Dictador, which is sold in over 50 countries worldwide, is currently not available for retail in 98 percent of the country, according to Bloomberg.

It is said that the rum gets its bold epithet from steely Cartagena colonist, Severo Arango y Ferro – nicknamed ‘Dictador’ – who had a passion for rum long before his descendent founded the distillery in 1903.

Despite Dictador winning the Double Gold Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Colombians looking to sample fine rum are forced to turn to Venezuela’s Diplomatico or Zacapa, from Guatemala.

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Currently, Dictador’s biggest markets are China, France and Russia. The bizarre system of local regulation and regional monopolies mean that the company sells short of one percent of its product within Colombia.

Additionally, the system has led to a spate of ‘internal contraband’, with companies selling their drinks without paying the relevant regional taxes. Under the government’s National Development Plan, though, local spirits and imports will be regulated and taxed equally.

Congress is yet to approve the proposal, however, with some commentators suggesting that regional governments and local monopolies will lobby hard to protect a vital source of revenue.