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The top 10 best-selling rum brands

Overall growth for the world’s third biggest spirit category may have been marginal last year, but there’s excitement to be found among rum’s largest producers. SB looks at how the big players are performing.

These were the best-selling rum brands in 2017

According to figures from market research provider Euromonitor, total rum sales experienced an increase of 0.7% to 144m cases in 2017.

Meanwhile, data published in our Brand Champions 2018 report showed a mixed performance for brands across the rum category in 2017.

There was some jostling for the top spot, while a number of international brands, such as Captain Morgan and Havana Club, witnessed soaring sales.

However, the impact of demonetisation and a highway ban on alcohol in India continued to affect the performance of local brands in 2017.

Following our recently published Brand Champions 2018 report – our pick of those brands selling more than one-million cases annually – we run through 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.

Data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied to The Brand Champions 2018.

As there is no globally recognised definition of rum, brands featured on this list are all marketed as rums. 

10. Appleton Estate

2017: 1.2m
2016: 1.2m
% change: 0.0% 

Place last year: 10

Gruppo Campari’s Jamaican rum brand witnessed stagnant sales in 2017, remaining at 1.2m cases. The company’s total rum portfolio increased by 6.4% in Gruppo Campari’s 2017 full-year results, boosted by Jamaica, the UK, the US and Mexico.

In November 2017, Gruppo Campari unveiled a new campaign for Appleton Estate rum inspired by the brand’s Jamaican heritage at New York’s JFK Airport.

9. Old Port Rum

2017: 1.3m
2016: 1.7m
% change: -22.3% 

Place last year: 8

Indian brand Old Port Rum is owned by Bangalore-based Amrut Distilleries. The brand witnessed the biggest drop in sales across the best-selling rum brands, falling by -22.3%.

The brand most likely continued to see its sales slip due to the impact of demonetisation and a blanket ban on alcohol sales within 500 metres of any highway in India in 2017.

8. Ron Medellin

2017: 1.6m
2016: 1.4m
% change: 15.7% 

Place last year: 9

Ron Medellin, owned by Fabrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia, experienced an impressive 15.7% growth in 2017 – 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.

7. Contessa

2017: 1.8m
2016: 2.0m
% change: -10.1% 

Place last year: 7

Radico Khaitan-owned Contessa was hit hard by different market factors in India and continued to experience declines in 2017. The brand was unable to reach the 2m case mark it witnessed in 2015.

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 the Middle East, and is now rolling out to the US and Canada.

6. Barceló

2017: 2.2m
2016: 2.1m
% change: 6.3% 

Place last year: 6

The brand continued its solid performance last year, when it increased by 6.3% to hit 2.2m cases. Barceló has continued to witness consistent sales and hasn’t declined in five years, according to Brand Champions data.

Produced in the Dominican Republic by Ron Barceló since 1950, Barceló is sold in more than 50 countries.

5. Havana Club

2017: 4.4m
2016: 4.2m
% change: 4.8% 

Place last year: 5

Pernod Ricard’s Havana Club brand has witnessed consistent growth, increasing by 4.8% in 2017. In the company’s H1 results, Havana Club increased by 7% with “good and improving growth”, driven by Cuba, Russia and Germany.

The brand’s legal row with Bacardi over the Havana Club trademark intensified last year after the latter company launched a Forever Cuban campaign that contained “misleading statements”.

4. Captain Morgan

2017: 11.7m
2016: 10.7m
% change: 9.3%

Place last year: 4

This year’s Rum Brand Champion, Diageo-owned Captain Morgan, boasted the highest rate of growth for any international rum brand.

Global brand director Nik Keane attributes Captain Morgan’s success to innovation and its growing presence in markets including the UK, Germany, Australia, South Africa, Mexico and France.

Diageo recently launched a number of shot-inspired flavour extensions, including watermelon and coconut, and tweaked the bottle design to create a “more modern brand visual identity”.

3. McDowell’s No.1 Rum

2017: 12.5m
2016: 14.9m
% change: -16.1%

Place last year: 3

Last year, Indian rum brand McDowell’s No.1 Celebration – owned by Diageo’s United Spirits unit – experienced a double-digit decline of -16.1% to 12.7m cases.

Unfortunately, the world’s best-selling rum brand in 2015 continued its rapid decline last year, while successfully holding onto third position among the best-selling rum brands.

2. Bacardi

2017: 16.8m
2016: 17.2m

% change: -2.7%

Place last year: 1

It’s a new position for Bacardi as it slips from the top spot to become the second best-selling rum in the world.

Bacardi recently shifted its focus to more premium positioning, releasing two new products with higher price points in April this year. But will its premiumisation efforts pay off this year?

1. Tanduay

2017: 19.5m
2016: 16.6m
% change: 17.5%

Place last year: 2

Philippine brand Tanduay has overtaken Bacardi to become the world’s best-selling rum brand after reporting 17.5% growth last year. The brand was almost neck and neck with its rival Bacardi in 2017, but managed to experience an astounding  increase to claim the top spot for the first time. The brand is getting ever closer to the 20m case mark it once held in 2012. Tanduay is the best-selling rum in Asia and is now available in the US.

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