The rum brands to watch in 2014By Becky Paskin
With premiumisation driving quality and diversity in the category, there are several rum brands to keep an eye on in the year ahead.
At the tail end of 2012 we saw two rum releases that highlight the direction the category is moving in. The launch of the US$5,000 Appleton Estate 50 Year Old and US$1,500 Brugal Papà Andrés underline rum’s aspirations to shirk off its party image and draw in traditional Cognac and Scotch drinkers.
The two releases were swiftly followed by the unveiling of Angostura Legacy in April 2013, which at US$25,000 a bottle made its mark as the most expensive rum in the world.
But the premiumisation of the category doesn’t stop there. At the more affordable super-premium end of the spectrum several players have notably chimed in this year with new releases designed to be sipped, as opposed to chugged with cola.
As you will have read in our rum feature on page 59, Bacardi has introduced its Facundo Collection, a series of four sipping rums priced between US$45 and $250, while Angostura is poised to introduce the first in a new series of limited edition rums in the US early next year.
“There’s a move away from a low-cost image,” Frank Quinones, now managing director of Botran Aged Rums, told The Spirits Business earlier this year. “Three or four years ago, rum was rum. Now people are more knowledgeable about rum. They read about it, they want to improve their rum experience.”
Premiumisation and spiced drive growth
Despite global rum volumes falling 0.4% in 2012 (IWSR), this premiumisation is expected to contribute to the category’s modestly projected 17% volume growth by 2016, to 1.7bn litres (Euromonitor). Rum volumes in Asia will jump by 30% by that time, although local brands will continue to dominate.
The Philippines is one region drawing a question mark over everybody’s lips. As rum’s third largest market behind India and the US, with volume sales of 15.6million litres, the recent devastation of Typhoon Haiyan, which thankfully avoided the vicinity of Tanduay’s distillery in Manila, is more than likely to have an effect on 2013/14’s volume figures.
Despite spotting an opportunity at the aspirational end of the category, producers are still grasping tightly onto the volumes proffered by rum’s spiced cousin. This year Pernod Ricard made a significant move for the space still very much available in the burgeoning spiced rum arena with Malibu Island Spiced, while Diageo has extended its Captain Morgan range with the punchier Black Spiced and limited edition Sherry Oak Finish Spiced, in an attempt to diversify the category.
Meanwhile, in more political news, the raging debate over the US’s “cover over” for Puerto Rico and USVI continues, with several Caribbean states still intent on taking the matter to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Diageo has reportedly warned that should a complaint to the WTO be made over the alleged subsidies, it would “re-evaluate” its Caribbean interests.
Click through the following pages to discover our pick of the three rum brands to watch in 2014.
Having launched in the US in August, Philippine rum Tanduay was primed to overtake Bacardi’s 19.8m case sales to become the largest rum brand in the world this year. Its positioning, coupled with the recent crisis caused by Typoon Haiyan, may effect whether Tanduay reaches its goal in 2014, but either way this exciting brand is undoubtedly one to watch.
Following its high-profile launch in the UK this year, super-premium Colombian rum brand La Hechicera is going back to its roots with a release in its home market in January 2014. The boutique brand has worked hard to establish itself within the bartending community and will run its first cocktail competition in the New Year.
Making an appearance as a brand to watch for a second consecutive year, Botran is positioned perfectly to gain from consumer demand for premiumisation in rum. The super-premium Guatemalan brand is also taking advantage of a recently-awarded geographical indication for rums of Guatemalan origin that adhere to strict production guidelines, allowing it to also tick the provenance box.