Close Menu
Top 10

Rum Brand Champion 2019: Bacardi

Bacardí’s core expression, Carta Blanca, witnessed “stabilisation and growth”

2018 was a big year for one of the world’s leading spirits brands, Bacardí, whose drastic change of strategy resulted in its first volume sales growth in five years. According to Ned Duggan, global senior vice­-president of Bacardí Rum, the growing success of Bacardí and the wider rum category are inherently intertwined.

“It’s no secret that rum has been on the decline for the past 10 years, but there’s been a renewed sense of interest in the category, partly because of what Bacardi has been doing,” he says. “The reality is, as the largest player, the category wins if we succeed and there was a massive opportunity to address.”

Duggan admits the brand’s past declines were largely “self­-inflicted” as it had “lost touch” with its identity. Previously speaking to SB, Bacardi Limited CEO Mahesh Madhavan said frequent changes in top management and marketing strategies had resulted in a disjointed image for the brand. Bacardí’s ‘Do What Moves You’ campaign would be its key focus for the next decade, he said. Duggan adds: “Rum was boxed in – consumers thought of us as a one-­dimensional spirit that you enjoy on holiday, and now we are busting out. We are fortunate to have an iconic brand that people are willing to embrace.”

As rum continues its premiumisation journey, the broader category is witnessing impressive results in developed cocktail markets. In the UK, sales of rum surpassed £1bn (US$1.3bn) for the first time last year, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. Dedicated rum bars and menus are boosting the visibility and perception of the category, while brand messages around heritage, provenance and quality production are also making an impression on consumers.

In 2018, Bacardí’s core expression, Carta Blanca, witnessed “stabilisation and growth”, while additional volume was secured through the launch of a new premium line. “It’s great to see consumers rediscovering Bacardí Carta Blanca while at the same time introducing dark spirits lovers to our premium portfolio, and honestly, these aren’t people that we’ve spoken to in the past,” Duggan says. But there is still work to be done in developing the category’s high­-end status, as Duggan notes: “Rum is the last spirits category whose volume remains predominantly within the standard segment. Only 15% of the value of the rum category is at the premium-­plus level.

“What we’re seeing right now is the early stages of a rum revival. The reality is, for the category to turn around, Bacardí needs to lead everyone there. The good news is, we are, and I think we’re surprising a lot of people along the way. In the same way that we’ve seen Tequila evolve over the past 15 years with a focus on premium, we see a similar path for rum.”

*The Brand Champions data is listed to one decimal place for ease of reading, but the percentage changes are based on the full data supplied. All brand data is supplied in millions of nine-­litre cases.

Rum (figures: million 9l case sales)

BRAND OWNER 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 %+/-
Tanduay Tanduay Distillers 17.0 16.5 16.6 19.5 20.1 3.1%
Bacardí Bacardi 18.2 17.4 17.2 16.8 17.1 2.0%
Captain Morgan Diageo 10.4 10.3 10.7 11.7 11.7 0.2%
McDowell’s No.1 Rum United Spirits 8.9 17.2 15.7 12.3 11.2 -8.7%
Havana Club Pernod Ricard 4.0 4.0 4.2 4.5 4.6 3.8%
Barceló Ron Barceló 2.2 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.2 0.0%
Božkov Stock Spirits Group 0.9 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.7 49.3%
Ron Medellín Fábrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia 1.0 1.0 1.4 1.6 1.6 -1.1%
Contessa Radico Khaitan 2.7 2.7 2.0 1.8 1.6 -11.5%
Appleton Estate Gruppo Campari 1.2 1.3 1.2 1.2 1.1 -9.8%
Negrita La Martiniquaise-Bardinet 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0%

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No