World’s largest rum marketsBy Amy Hopkins
Rum is is seeking to enhance its luxury credentials and appeal to sophisticated sippers the world-over – for now, here are the spirit’s largest markets.
Often afflicted by the same irreverent “good time” party label as Tequila, rum has been endeavouring to convey a more grown-up image in recent years, and lose the coke.
For Alberto Fernandez, global brand director for Diageo-owned Zacapa rum: “As consumer knowledge of the category increases, so does the appetite for more top-end offerings.”
As is the case with many spirits categories, the effort to establish a mature representation is often coupled with a necessity to release mature expressions.
The industry has therefore recently seen a swell in the amount of older, more luxurious expressions launched, inevitably with a price point to match.
Last October, category colossus Bacardi hit the market with four sipping rums priced up to US$250, The Facundo Rum Collection.
As well as potential growth in value resulting from the trend of premiumisation, rum volumes have also been forecast to continue to soar.
According to data agency Euromonitor, global rum volumes will experience a solid 17% rise between 2011 and the end of 2009, to 1.7 billion litres – while every region is anticipated to contribute to this growth.
Based on Euromonitor’s findings of how many litres of rum were consumed in 2012, we count down five of the world’s largest rum markets.
Often at the forefront of pioneers for any spirit in the flux of premiumisation, France sits fifth on our list of the world’s largest rum markets.
Despite its economic turbulence, numerous rum producers have identified Northern Europe as a “region to watch” as the spirit continues to increase its premium image across the world.
While focus has recently been on the value end of the spectrum – since premium rum is outperforming the entire rum category in Northern Europe – France is also performing well at volume end, selling 36 million litres in 2013.
4. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic – an island at the heart of rum’s motherland, the Caribbean – stays true to its staple spirit.
With booming sugar cane and tourism industry, it’s no surprise that the country comes in fourth on our countdown, selling 54.7 million litres in 2012.
In particular, with its own set of world famous island brands, known as the ‘3Bs’ – Brugal, Barcelo and Bermudez – the Dominican Republic entices visitors seeking fun in the sun with tiki cocktails.
While the Philippines has already proved it has a rapacious thirst for gin – purchasing 265 million litres of the spirit in 2012 – it is also one of the top performing markets for rum.
The country’s own top rum brand Tanduay was primed to overtake Bacardi’s 19.8m case sales and become the largest rum brand in the world this year after it launched in the US last summer.
Furthermore, the continued growth of premium international spirits in Asia could also mean that rum experiences value as well as volume growth in the Philippines.
As the world’s largest market for spirits across the board, the US is an enthusiastic market for rum and, in particular, holds great potential for its premium end.
In November 2013, Bacardi exclusively targeted US consumers with is Facundo Rum Collection – a range of hand crafted expressions priced up to US$250.
However, despite the attention paid to the US by rum producers, the spirit failed to make it into DISCUS’ annual report citing the fastest growing spirits in the US in 2013.
According to Euromonitor, India was the world’s largest market for rum in 2012, buying 404.2 million litres of the spirit.
Boosted by an availability of affordable local brands and and growing demand for premium international spirits, both ends of rum’s spectrum recorded impressive results in India.
Furthermore, figures released by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India in 2012 revealed that the sale of imported spirits in India was expected to grow 25% a year until 2015, reaching 55 million litres. Rum could therefore experience further growth in India over the next two years.