Rooted in Development
One of the two co-founders, Eric, moved to Benin in 2010 as part of his volunteer service in the Peace Corps, an American international development branch known for its extremely immersive integration approach. Immersed in local village life, he discovered the popular drink known as Sodabi, an artisanal liquor obtained from the sap of palm trees.
An ambitious bet
In 2011 Eric decided to travel to France to meet Jake and other friends, and hoped to bring a bottle of sodabi to share with them. Since sodabi only existed in an informal economy and was made in small villages, it was exclusively sold in reused plastic water bottles with no label, no list of ingredients, nor any company information.
Thus, when trying to check his luggage at the airport, Eric's unmarked bottle was flagged as a risk and he was called to the airport security office for questioning over the mysterious and unidentifiable bottle they found in his luggage. While being questioned by security, Eric explained that the liquid in the bottle was sodabi, and his only intent was to share sodabi with his international friends who had never heard of it or tasted it. In fact, to prove it was really sodabi and not another hazardous chemical, they made Eric take a sip of it right there in the security office! After some discussion, secuirty agreed that despite the risks of allowing the opened, unmarked bottle onto the plane, that the opportunity to share the sodabi with people internationally was a worthy initiative, and they approved Eric to travel with the bottle in his checked bag.
After landing in France, Eric shared the bottle of sodabi with Jake. Jake was intrigued by the flavors and story of this liquor, and was disappointed that he very nearly missed the chance to try it due to sodabi's lack of formality and industry standards. With Eric, they decided to take on a challenge: to formalize sodabi and share it with the world. For the next two years, they worked tirelessly to import machinery, refine distilling methods, and develop their product fit for international export.
Finally, In 2013, Tambour Original sodabi was ready to share with the world.
In our image,
Drum beats embody Beninese culture, marking milestones in life, resonating through every individual that hears it. Despite its simplicity, it can be played in infinite ways.
Tambour Original sodabi embodies the rigor, discipline and complexity of the drumbeats that have graced the African land for generations. It was with these values in mind that we developed Tambour Original, the new definition of sodabi that salutes the bright future of West Africa while preserving the richness of its traditions.
Fun fact: the python that encircles the drum in our logo symbolizes the voodoo religion which originates in Benin. In voodoism, the python is believed to have mystical powers and is highly revered.
Our guiding principles:
for superior quality.
To produce the best sodabi in the world, we rely on a network of local palm farmers who are carefully selected for their devotion to harvesting top-quality palm sap. We then carry out quality control tests and fermentation monitoring in our facilities. The entire supply chain is traced in order to guarantee maximum safety.
We use world standard distillation equipment imported from Europe and USA to distill palm wine twice. Although this process takes longer and requires more careful monitoring, it does remove bad spirits in the tops and tails , and excess water to keep only the core, pure. This helps make Tambour Original so different.
like our bottles.
We refused to make the choice of automation . Each Tambour Original bottle goes through the hands of our employees who assemble each part of the bottle by hand, from bottling to packaging, including capping and labeling.
On average, from the state of palm wine to becoming sodabi, it takes four months for the Arrangé during which we proceed to the distillation and maceration in contact with American oak.