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Top 10 best-selling rum brands

Producers are tapping into the premiumisation trend with exciting line extensions and investing in bold marketing campaigns to boost growth. We take a look at the performance of the world’s biggest rum brands.

SB presents the best-selling rum brands

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.

Looking across our best-selling list, four of the six brands witnessed declines, while one rum increased an impressive 49.3%.

Following our recently published Brand Champions 2019 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 2019.

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

10. Appleton Estate

2018: 1.1m
2017: 1.2m
% change: -9.8%

Place last year: 10

Witnessing its first decline in four years is Campari Group’s Jamaican rum brand Appleton Estate, which dropped to 1.1m cases in 2018.

In Campari Group’s 2018 full-year results, Appleton Estate was up 6.3%. According to the firm, the brand continued to “premiumise its offerings while communicating the qualities, heritage and craft credentials “of Jamaican rum and had “good growth” in core markets: Canada (3%), the US (9.3%) and Jamaica (22.4%). The brand also performed well in global travel retail.

In November last year, Appleton Estate rum tapped into premiumisation with the launch of a limited edition rum, which has an age statement of 30 years but contains liquid matured for more than 50 years.

9. Contessa


2018: 1.6m
2017: 1.8m
% change: -11.5%

Place last year: 7

It was a challenging year for Radico Khaitan’s Contessa rum, which witnessed the biggest drop across the million-case rum brands – falling by 11.5% to 1.6m.

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.

8. Ron Medellin

2018: 1.6m
2017: 1.6m
% change: -1.1%

Place last year: 8

Ron Medellin, owned by Fabrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia, continued to decline in 2018 – reporting a slight drop of 1.1%.

In 2017, the brand witnessed the fastest growth rate among any million-case-selling rum brand so we could see the brand return to growth in the coming years.

Made in Colombia, Ron Medellin is predominantly consumed in Latin America. Its core range consists of a 12- and eight-year-old expression.

7. Božkov

2018: 1.7m
2017: 1.1m
% change: 49.3%

Place last year: New entry

Owned by Stock Spirits Group, the Czech rum has grown volumes from 0.9m cases in 2014 to 1.7m four years later, reporting an impressive 49.3% sales surge in 2018 – the year it also launched Božkov Republica.

According to Stock Spirits, the brand’s “strong” growth was achieved through “compelling advertising support” and new line extensions including its premium offering Republica, which “competes in the premium rum segment”.

The brand has been gaining popularity in its native Czech Republic for a while and in November, Božkov was voted the “most trusted alcohol brand” in the country for a third time, as part of the Atoz Marketing Services’ Trusted Brands programme.

6. Barceló

2018: 2.2m
2017: 2.2m
% change: 0.0%

Place last year: 6

The brand witnessed a stagnant performance last year, when it remained at 2.2m cases. Barceló 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

2018: 4.6m
2017: 4.5m
% change: 3.8%

Place last year: 5

Pernod Ricard’s Havana Club brand has witnessed consistent growth, increasing by 3.8% in 2018. In the company’s 2017/18 full-year results, Havana Club increased by 6% with “good growth” mainly in Cuba. The brand also performed well in Germany and Russia.

Earlier this year, the rum released its 2019 Tributo bottling, a blend that includes rum aged in Cognac casks, while October saw the launch of the Havana Club Professional Edition series.

Speaking to The Spirits Business in May 2019, Havana Club CEO Christian Barré said “it’s going to be an interesting year” for new releases from the brand.

4. McDowell’s No.1 Rum

2018: 11.7m
2017: 12.3m
% change: -8.7%

Place last year: 3

Last year, Indian rum brand McDowell’s No.1 Celebration – owned by Diageo’s United Spirits unit – declined for the fourth year in a row with a drop of 8.7% to 11.7m. The brand is yet to relive its glory days of 2015 when it reached 17.2m cases.

The brand has slipped from its third place spot into fourth position among the best-selling rum brands with Diageo’s Captain Morgan overtaking McDowell’s for the first time.

3. Captain Morgan

2018: 11.7m
2017: 11.7m
% change: 0.2%

Place last year: 4

Last year’s Rum Brand Champion, Diageo’s Captain Morgan spiced rum brand witnessed sluggish sales in 2018, increasing slightly by 0.2% to 11.7m cases.

In the group’s H1 results, net sales of Captain Morgan fell by 4% making it the only one of Diageo’s ‘global giants’ to decline during the final six months of 2018.

More broadly, rum was Diageo’s only spirits category to decline in the period, falling by 3%. This was largely attributed to Captain Morgan’s performance in the US, which decreased 9% and “lost share in a declining category”.

Speaking at a roundtable for the results earlier this year, Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes said: “We’re very focused on getting the energy back into Captain Morgan.”

Looking ahead, the firm said during publication of the H1 results: “We continue to invest in the proven ‘Live like a Captain’ campaign through TV and digital media. And we are focusing on expanding consumption beyond the Captain & cola serve, educating consumers on new ways to drink original spiced rum such as Captain & ginger ale or Captain & iced tea.”

2. Bacardi

2018: 17.1m
2017: 16.8m
% change: 2.0%

Place last year: 2

Grabbing the title of Rum Brand Champion 2019 is Bacardi, whose drastic change of strategy resulted in its first volume sales growth in five years.

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.

Bacardí’s ‘Do What Moves You’ campaign would be its key focus for the next decade, according to Ned Duggan, global senior vice­-president of Bacardí Rum. Duggan says that rum is “in the early stages” of a revival. The next couple of years could see Bacardi take the top spot once again.

1. Tanduay

2018: 20.1m
2017: 19.5m
% change: 3.1%

Place last year: 1

Philippine brand Tanduay has held onto its spot as the world’s best-selling rum brand for the second year after reporting 3.1% growth in 2018. The brand has now surpassed the 20m-case-mark for the first time, creating an even bigger gap between it and competitor Bacardi.

The brand was almost neck and neck with Bacardi in 2017, but managed to experience an astounding increase to claim the top spot for the first time. Tanduay is the best-selling rum in Asia and is now available in the US.

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