With a growing cohort of consumers keen to create ‘bar quality’ cocktails at home, no self-respecting spirits selection within any off-trade department would be complete without an attractive complement of rums, writes Gillian Hamill
22 March 2021
There’s room in the rum category for premiumisation and product innovation. So says the IWSR, which stated that premium rum will re-position the spirit as a sipping drink, moving it away from its consumer perception as a party drink. Reflecting Irish trends, premium rum represents 15% of the total UK rum market, and the segment continues to grow with dark rum the category that’s premiumising the most.
Thanks to the rise of the middle-class consumer, demand for premium has been accompanied by a demand for exclusivity by way of luxury products from growing numbers of consumers. With flavoured rum, spiced rum and golden rum assuming increased significance, here we take a look at the brands piquing shoppers’ interest.
Q&A with… Richard Brickley, market development manager, Bacardí Martini at Edward Dillon & Co.
Q: How has Bacardí performed within the overall rum category in recent years in Ireland and what are the factors that have led to this result?
A: Bacardí has performed exceptionally well over recent years showing the tremendous strength of the brand in the Irish market. Retailers consistently report that Bacardí is a favourite amongst their loyal spirit shoppers and we are lucky to have so many faithful consumers who buy into and believe in the brand. Bacardí has also been a firm favourite with bartenders and they love to experiment with the versatility of the brand and make recommendations to consumers.
Our festival programme (Electric Picnic and Longitude) has been extremely successful in terms of recruiting new consumers into the brand. It gives them access to world class immersive experiential properties and opportunities to enjoy signature classics such as the Bacardi Mojito, while also allowing us to launch and trial new products in a more meaningful way.
Q: Who is the target audience for Bacardí and how are you appealing to a broader market in Ireland through brand extensions?
A: Bacardí’s core target is legal drinking age (LDA) consumers to 24-year-olds. Those people who live life to the full, like to have fun and seek out new experiences and products. As this cohort like to experiment and try new things, NPD and innovation is important to continuously recruit new consumers, while also engaging existing fans of the brand.
Q: Within the ready-to-drink sector, Bacardí has introduced ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails. Why is this an important area of focus?
A: If you consider the enormous success of Bacardí Breezer, it’s very apparent that Bacardi has lots of history and experience in producing pre-packed drinking solutions. Consumer demand has exploded for RTD cocktails in recent years and consumers expect a great tasting product. These convenient, on-the-go solutions satisfy a wide variety of need occasions. There is extensive insight on the fact Gen Z and Millennials are also more health conscious so an RTD option with a lower ABV provides an attractive entry point into the brand.
Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected consumer trends within the rum category and how are you meeting shoppers’ needs?
A: We have heard lots of speculation that during times of uncertainly (such as a global pandemic), consumers turn to brands they know, love and trust and the incredible performance of Bacardí across all retailers since the pandemic began is proof that this theory is absolutely true.
We have identified both ‘trade up’ and ‘experimentation’ as emerging trends where consumers are tapping into their inner mixologist and making great quality cocktails at home and we are therefore providing tools at the point of purchase to encourage this. We are working with retail partners to create bespoke video content to inspire and encourage consumers to make elevated serves at home. Kitchen Cocktails is also a social platform we have also developed at Edward Dillon & Co. Using our extensive portfolio, it offers easy to follow serving suggestions, therefore giving viewers the confidence to make ‘bar quality’ cocktails at home.
Q: How significant are your marketing plans for 2021?
It’s an interesting time for rum and for Bacardi. Over the next 12 months, we will continue to create relevance with our target audience through our Casa Bacardí Festival Programme. Bacardí Spiced will be a key strategic priority for the brand as interest in the spiced rum market intensifies and we grow our share in this segment. We will continue our roll out of flavours (Coconut and Raspberry), while also identifying trade up opportunities. Covid has presented us with both an opportunity and a need to up weigh e-commerce and brand and category education for consumers and trade will also be key. So, a busy year ahead but one we are excited about and prepared for!
Premium from cane to cocktail
Appleton Estate, established in 1749, is one of the oldest sugarcane estates and distilleries in the Caribbean. For over 265 years, Appleton Estate has been crafting premium, aged rums in the heart of Jamaica.
Appleton Estate crafts the finest premium rums from ‘cane to cocktail’, harvesting its own sugar cane, sourcing water from its own limestone spring, and meticulously managing each step in the production process.
Appleton Estate’s master blender, Joy Spence, has over 35 years of history at the estate and, in 1997, became the first female master blender in the spirits industry.
The group adheres to the highest standard of ageing, called minimum age. When there is an age statement on the bottle, it refers to the youngest rum in that blend. All Appleton Estate rums are aged entirely in Jamaica. This tropical climate ages liquid nearly three times quicker than if aged in a cooler climates or higher altitude. The result delivers more robust and complex flavour.
Appleton Estate’s rums are made without artificial colours, sweeteners or other additives that other brands use to enhance the taste or aroma of their rums. Its uniquely shaped pot copper stills give rums their signature orange peel note.
In 2020 Appleton Estate relaunched to support its vision to be the global leader in the premium rum segment. The new premium label design, which showcases the estate’s story, and celebrates Jamaican culture, will be accompanied by the introduction of a cork closure, as well as a contemporary version of its iconic bottle shape.
Appleton Estate now has an eight year old minimum age statement on its Reserve rum. This rum will now be named 8 Year Old Reserve and its 12 year old rare blend is now named 12 Year Old Rare Casks.
If you have any enquiries, contact Coca Cola HBC Ireland 1890 262 226 or your local Coca Cola area developer.
A new chapter
Mount Gay, the world’s oldest running rum distillery established in 1703, unveils a new chapter for the brand in 2020. Harnessing over 300 years of experience, Mount Gay will reset the brand to pay homage to its rich heritage of passing down craft and expertise in Barbados, the birthplace of rum. In doing so, Mount Gay will embrace more transparency, providing an in-depth look into the brand and its rum, and will look to the future ensuring continued innovation and growth honouring the genuine rum tradition of Barbados.
With the introduction of master blender Trudiann Branker in April 2019, the distillery’s and Barbados’ first female master blender, Mount Gay began a new chapter for the distillery’s rich history. In her new role, Branker revisited Mount Gay’s core blends whilst simultaneously considering the discerning palate of the high-end brown spirit enthusiasts and appreciating Mount Gay’s steadfast brand loyalty. As a result, Branker has created a new blend for Mount Gay Black Barrel and an enhanced blend for Mount Gay XO.
Mount Gay Black Barrel benefits from an older selection of rums being used for the blend, moving to a blend of three to seven-year-old rums as opposed to the previous two to seven years, with a higher content of double distilled pot still rums. The finishing period, still taking place in deeply charred Bourbon casks, will be extended to six months, greatly lengthened from the previous four week finishing period. These changes better reflect Black Barrel’s bold and robust flavour.
In addition to the work that she has done on Black Barrel, Branker revisited Mount Gay XO where she enriched the blend. XO benefits from a broader palette of rums selected for the blend, individually aged in three different casks – American Whiskey, Bourbon and Cognac – for five to 17 years, rather than the previous eight to 15 years. Overall, her adjustments to the blend aim to enhance the liquid’s ultimate complexity. Throughout the core range, each expression will be placed into new bottles with updated labels intentionally designed to give ultimate transparency to the rum inside showcasing further detail on casks used, style and tasting notes. Each change has been a conscious decision to appreciate the true value of Mount Gay and honour its significance on the spectrum of high-end rum.
Underpinning these changes is a refreshed creative platform that promises to honour the genuine rum tradition and focus on what makes Mount Gay ‘More than a rum’ through education, exploration and discovery. Each touchpoint of the platform pays homage to Mount Gay’s Barbadian heritage, the people who craft the rum and its unrivalled terroir carefully harnessed since 1703.
Mount Gay is proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Bridge between heritage and new ways
Plantation rums and iconic raffia-wrapped bottles are found at the world’s most prestigious tables and bars. Each expression showcases the flavours of a specific heritage and terroir whose double-ageing technique has become a trademark. As per centuries old tradition, Plantation Rum is first aged in the tropics, then further aged in French Oak casks in Cognac, France.
A bridge between rum’s heritage and new ways, Plantation Rum’s home at the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados is the epitome of resurrecting ancestral techniques to preserve rum excellence.
Thanks to its originality and quality, the Plantation range has won the hearts of rum lovers around the world. Expressions like Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple (named three times the best spirit in the world) and Barbados XO 20th Anniversary have become classics.
Alexandre Gabriel, Plantation’s founder and master blender is a committed perfectionist, and his near-constant research unearths historical production techniques that he shares with his equally committed team. Today, Alexandre Gabriel is recognized as a standard bearer among the great distillers and cellar masters.
Plantation Rum is imported in Ireland by Intrepid Spirits and distributed by Classic Drinks and Celtic Whiskey Shop. It can be found at Celtic Whiskey Shop, Irish Drinks Shop and Molloy’s Liquor Stores.