Meet Cleo Farman – founder of the first female owned rum brand in the UK

Manchester-based Diablesse rum is inspired by the legend of La Diablesse, a ‘female devil temptress’ straight from Caribbean folklore

Manchester entrepreneur Cleo Farman, who ran the Odd bar group in the Northern Quarter until 2018, discovered her love of all things rum in the noughties while taking press trips to Necker Island. 

“I used to work in the Caribbean and after a daiquiri or two I launched myself off the top of the mast of a galleon ship that had been converted into a bar!” recalls Cleo.  

“Fortunately I’m still here to tell the tale…   

“I then rekindled this love of rum when I had the bars and discovered more and more about it.”

Cleo Farman

Cleo found that the rum industry was widely male dominated, seeing a distinct gap in the market to create a rum that represented female inclusivity. 

She now works alongside a strong team of women to champion her Diablesse brand, which is available to purchase online, in selected Manchester bars, and in selected Morrisons stores in Manchester, where you’ll also find a special competition – see below for details.

“I found many rums to be quite male branded, with sea gods, pirates and sea beasts, plus it tended to be limited to the same flavours, so I decided to make rums that I’d want to drink – unique, natural flavours made with the best quality Caribbean rums that you could mix with interesting mixers,” she says.

“Being the first female owned brand in the UK, it was also important to me to have a female on the bottle – the only other female at the time was sitting in a bikini in a martini glass on Sailor Jerry bottles!

“After months of research I couldn’t believe it when I discovered the legend of La Diablesse.    

“A ‘female devil’ she comes straight from Caribbean folklore and as well as being a Caribbean temptress she stood for female empowerment …perfect!”

Seeing what was popular among customers and understanding why and how bars make buying decisions has been “invaluable,” says Cleo, whose Diablesse rums have gone on to win numerous awards.

And she deliberately set out to make rum more inclusive, “appealing to not only women but to anyone that hasn’t tried rum before; gin drinkers who want something a bit different or those that want to try unique flavours and explore a bit more,” she says.

Cleo, whose favourite rum is Enmore 96 (“it’s outrageously good!”), has now been in Manchester for 23 years, and feels the city is the perfect home for her brand.

“In my experience there’s no other place that is so supportive of new ideas and businesses nor that is so welcoming,” she says.

“It’s a very innovative city.

“it’s great to be based here and I’m proud this is a Manchester brand.    

“There’s no place I’d rather be!”

Diablesse rum is available to purchase online, in selected Manchester bars, and in selected Morrisons stores in Manchester, where you’ll also find a special competition – just look out for and scan the I Love MCR tag from the bottle to be in with a chance of winning. The Morrisons stores are: Eccles, Dukinfield, Oldham, Denton, Cheadle, Whitefield, Bredbury, Reddish, Swinton and Chorlton.


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