The rum brands to watch in 2018

19th December, 2017 by Amy Hopkins

As the rum category continues its route to premiumisation, The Spirits Business forecasts the future of the world’s third-largest spirits category.

Despite success in some key markets, rum’s sales volumes are predicted to stagnate in 2017. According to predictions from Euromonitor, the category will record 1.371 billion litres in 2017, compared with 1.372bn litres in 2016.

Nevertheless, producers remain optimistic, particularly as the category continues to premiumise. “Despite growth challenges in the white rum category, the rum industry has been boosted by a solid performance of the premium-­and­-above sector in the Americas, Europe, Australasia and the Caribbean,” comments John Georges, master distiller for Trinidad­-based Angostura.

Jordi Xifra Keysper, marketing manager for Beveland Distillers, maker of Relicario Rum and the recently launched Marama Spiced Fijian Rum, says his company has ramped up distribution in the past year, adding that he believes Asia is “opening up more to the [rum] category”.

In the UK – a key rum market – producers’ premiumisation efforts are certainly bearing fruit, and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association predicts that rum sales will exceed £1 billion (US$1.3) in 2017. Over the past five years, UK rum sales have grown by 15% by volume and 32% by value, possibly also because of the large number of brands now available on the market – up from 50 in 2006 to more than 150 in 2016.

Meanwhile, in the US, in the 12 months to July 2017, total rum volume sales marginally declined, but the ultra­-premium segment increased by 15.8% – signalling a “new wave of premiumisation”, according to analyst Nielsen. “[Rum] has plenty of options to meet the desire for premiumisation and experience that on-­premise visitors come to expect,”says Scott Elliott, senior vice­-president of Nielsen CGA.

Angostura’s Georges believes millennial consumers will crave more knowledge and a greater understanding of rum in the future. “Overall, for 2018, we foresee increasing consumer interest in experimenting with, and learning about, the rum category.

“Over the past few years we’ve seen the emergence of a modern consumer who loves to learn. They want to know more about the product they are drinking, its history, how and where it is made, and, most importantly, the people behind it. Younger consumers in particular are increasingly seeking brands that define them as individuals.”

Bacardi is one brand that has worked hard to recruit coveted millennial drinkers of late with its Sound of Rum campaign. The initiative has seen Bacardi partner with electro music trio Major Lazer to bring fans of reggae, dancehall, soca, hip­hop and electronic music together. Recently, the brand unveiled its Sound of Rum documentary, which explores the influence of Caribbean music around the world.

Despite a marginal volume decline, Bacardi was announced as the world’s best­-selling rum brand in 2016, with sales of 17.23m cases, according to SB’s latest Brand Champions data.

Click through the following pages to see which rum brands we believe are ones to watch in the year ahead.

2 Responses to “The rum brands to watch in 2018”

  1. Too bad Takamaka Rum in the Seychelles is not more prevalent. Their dark rum is the greatest unknown rum in the world.

  2. Dan says:

    Lemon Hart & Son rums are missing from this list! They’re on the rise in a big way, for good reason — they’re the richest, most complex rums out there.

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