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World Spirits Report 2023: Rum

Once upon a time, rum might have been the mixer at parties, but the spirit is now carving a name for itself in the serious-and-sippable bracket.

rum cocktail
Drinkers are open to trying rum in twists on classic serves, such as a Rum Mule

The Business Research Company’s Rum Global Market Report 2023 projected that the global rum market could reach a value of US$17.68 billion by 2027.

So, why are people buying into rum? Christian Barré, CEO of Havana Club, offers reasons: “Craftsmanship, provenance and heritage are becoming key purchase motivators for discerning rum drinkers.’’

The category has had an image makeover, which, according to Patrizia Damiani, global brand director of Diplomático Rum, has seen its perception shift in the minds of consumers from “a spirit mostly seen for mixing in fruity cocktails to a spirit that can be sipped or mixed in sophisticated drinks, enjoying a quality comparable with that of the finest whiskeys”.

According to Euromonitor International, rum is predicted to sell 173 million nine-litre cases in 2024, up from 2022’s figure of 158m. It’s not the cheaper bottles that are doing the heavy lifting. “The latest IWSR figures show growth of super-premium (up by 7.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) 2019-22) and ultra-premium (up by 15.1% CAGR 2019-22) rums are fast outpacing that of the standard/premium category (up by 2.8% CAGR 2019-22)”, says Barré.

He adds: “We are witnessing a surge in the demand for premium rum in our key markets – including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain – and we’re not expecting this to slow down any time soon.”

Havana Club CEO Barré also notes that the spirit is starting to break out of its traditional comfort zone.

He says: “Beyond Europe, we’re seeing an untapped opportunity offering a strong growth potential for the future for our rums across new and emerging markets such as China, India and Turkey.”

While the desire for high-end expressions is a major reason for its current popularity, cocktail culture has played a part too – especially with people’s interest in experimentation and rum’s subsequent versatility. Damiani believes consumers continue to enjoy classic rum cocktails such as Daiquiris, and are open to trying twists on classic serves, such as a Rum Old Fashioned and a Rum Mule.

Other trends to keep an eye on include collaborations, which makes rum accessible for the younger generation. Havana Club has worked on limited edition bottles with the likes of musicians Burna Boy and Skepta, and Barré believes “this stream of product innovation drives excitement among existing rum fans, while also resonating with a new audience of Gen Z consumers – of legal drinking age, of course”.

Click here to read our World Spirits Report for the gin category.

Rum brands to watch in 2024

Dead Man’s Fingers

From a collaboration with fast-food chain KFC to a line of canned expressions and a foray into the low-and-no category, Halewood Artisanal Spirits-owned Dead Man’s Fingers was seemingly here, there and everywhere in 2023. The brand showed it is clearly not afraid to play around with new ideas, and you can expect even more intrigue for the year ahead.

Ten To One Rum

Having received investment from Diageo-backed incubator Pronghorn in 2022, Ten to One, the Caribbean brand co-owned by American singer Ciara, received another financial boost in September when private equity firm InvestBev decided to pump a further US$1 million into the brand. With InvestBev’s aim to establish Ten To One as a “premium market leader in the rum category”, don’t expect it to slow down anytime soon.

Don Papa

Don Papa’s 2023 got off to a fast start when Diageo acquired the Philippine brand for an initial €260 million (US$281.5m). Considering Diageo’s track record as the world’s biggest spirits company, as well as its ambition to take the brand “into the next exciting chapter of its development”, it’s looking like another massive year for Don Papa is on the cards.

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