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The top 10 best-selling rum brands

There’s been some jostling at the top of the rum leaderboard, and one category colossus has taken back its crown. How did the rest of the best-selling brands fare in 2016?

These were the best-selling rum brands in 2016

Our data shows that local rum brands were hit hardest in 2016, with a number of market forces – particularly demonetisation and other difficulties in India – impacting sales.

A few international names also experienced slight declines – but there were pockets of success. In particular, William Grant & Sons’s Sailor Jerry rum passed the million case sales mark for the first time, prompting The Spirits Business to name it Rum Brand Champion 2017.

Following our recently published Brand Champions 2017 report – our pick of those brands selling more than one million cases annually that are performing exceptionally within their category – we’ve compiled a list of the world’s best-selling rum brands on the market today.

Click through the following pages to discover the top 10 best-selling rum brands, listed in order of their nine-litre case sales.

10. Appleton Estate

2016: 1.22m
2015: 1.25m
% change: -2.40%
Place last year: 8

After increasing sales by 50,000 cases in 2015, Gruppo Campari’s Appleton Estate had a markedly different performance in 2016, when volumes dipped by 2.40%. The growth of Campari’s total rum portfolio was held back in 2016 by the US and Canada following to the transition to a new range, the group said in its latest full-year results. Appleton’s portfolio was restructured in 2015 to highlight a new naming classifications and packaging updates for three of its core expressions.

9. Ron Medellin

2016: 1.39m
2015: 1.04m
% change: +34.20%
Place last year: –

For the first time, Fabrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia has provided The Spirits Business with its sales data, showing that its Ron Medellin rum brand is the ninth best-selling rum in the world. The brand experienced an astonishing 34.20% growth in 2016 – the fastest growth rate among any million-case-selling rum brand. Made in Colombia, Ron Medellin is predominantly consumed in Latin America. Its core range consists of a 12- and eight-year-old expression.

8. Old Port Rum

2016: 1.69m
2015: 1.92m
% change: -11.98%
Place last year: 7

Indian brand Old Port Rum is owned by Bangalore-based Amrut Distilleries. The brand’s volume sales experienced a sudden drop in 2016, hitting a three-year low of 1.69m cases – most likely due to a number of factors that impacted its domestic Indian market last year, including demonetisation, the ban on the sale of alcohol within 500 meters of state and national highways, and creeping prohibition legislation.

7. Contessa

2016: 1.98
2015: 2.70m
% change: -26.67%
Place last year: –

Radico Khaitan-owned Contessa was also hit hard by different market factors in India, and as such experienced heavy sales losses. For the first time in a number of years, the brand dipped below the 2m case mark. Radico says that Contessa is the most popular rum brand in India’s defence segment, with a 25% market share. It also has a presence in Africa, South East Asia and Middle East and is now rolling out to the USA and Canada. Contessa’s stablemate – 8PM Whisky – had a very different experience in 2016 and significant sales gains prompted SB to name the brand Indian Whiskey Brand Champion 2017.

6. Barceló

2016: 2.07m
2015: 2.04m
% change: +1.57%
Place last year: 6

Produced in the Dominican Republic by Ron Barceló since 1950, Barceló is sold in more than 50 countries. The brand continued its solid performance last year, when it hit 2.07m cases. Brand Champions data shows that Barceló has not experienced any declines in the last five years, however its rate of growth has slowed.

5. Havana Club

2016: 4.19m
2015: 4.01m
% change: 4.49%
Place last year: 5

Havana Club continued to grab headlines last year as speculation mounted over the prospect of the US lifting its trade embargo against Cuba. At the same time, its legal spate with Bacardi over the Havana Club trademark in the US dragged on. After a stagnant performance in 2015, Havana Club experienced a 5% uplift in 2016. Alexandre Ricard, CEO of brand owner Pernod Ricard, told SB that a significant increase in tourism to Cuba since diplomatic relations “normalised” has had an “extremely positive impact on Havana Club’s sales in airports”.

4. Captain Morgan

2016: 10.70m
2015: 10.30m
% change: 3.88%
Place last year: 4

Diageo-owned Captain Morgan rum has retained its place as the world’s fourth best-selling rum brand after sales lifted almost 4%. The brand vastly increased its innovation offering last year, extending its line of flavoured expressions designed for shooting with the launch of a pumpkin and coconut flavour. Captain Morgan has also ramped up its market efforts for the year ahead, launching a new global campaign starring retired Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand.

3. McDowell’s No.1 Celebration

2016: 14.90m
2015: 16.20m
% change: -8.02%
Place last year: 1

2015’s best-selling rum brand now finds itself decidedly lower down the leaderboard. Last year, Indian rum brand McDowell’s No.1 Celebration – owned by Diageo’s United Spirits unit – experienced an 8% decline to 14.90m cases, a five-year low. The brand was likely hit by market difficulties in India, but USL also recently restated its historical data due to “recent business model changes” – meaning historical volumes are lower than previously reported.

2. Tanduay

2016: 16.60m
2015: 16.50m
% change: +0.61%
Place last year: 3

The new position of McDowell’s means that Philippines-made rum Tanduay is now the world’s second-largest rum brand despite witnessing relatively stagnant sales in 2016. The brand has experience solid volume gains since 2013, but is yet to record highs of almost 20m cases last seen in 2012. Tanduay is the best-selling rum in Asia and is now available in the US.

1. Bacardi

2016: 17.23m

2015: 17.42m

% change: -1.09%

Place last year: 2

After losing its position as the world’s best-selling rum brand in 2014, Bacardi reclaimed the title in 2016, despite witnessing a marginal decline. In recent years, the brand has been almost neck and neck with McDowell’s No.1 Celebration, but Bacardi was able to comfortably usurp its rival following changes to the former’s business model and historical sales data. The brand looks set to increase its presence in the key US market even further after moving the majority of its distribution contracts to a single entity within newly formed company Southern Glazer’s.

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