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Rum: the perfect travel retail category

There are few, if any, spirits categories better suited to travel retail than rum.

rum sugar cane field

*This feature was originally published in the September 2023 issue of The Spirits Business magazine.

Its many countries of origin are an asset, allowing producers to offer exclusives and gifting opportunities to travellers in local duty free stores, strengthening the link between the travel destination and the rum produced there. And for a category that’s leading the charge when it comes to premiumisation, there are few better places to showcase top-end expressions.

Recognising this, this year Jamaican rum Appleton Estate unveiled a permanent boutique at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, telling the story of the brand to travellers via an interactive, high-tech experience, and leading them to its top-end expressions. The brand’s latest release, Ruby Anniversary Edition, is prominent in the space, while a wall-sized screen presents a film detailing Appleton’s production process. Brand ambassadors at the bar offer tastings and demonstrations, and help shoppers with personalisation of premium expressions, such as Appleton Estate 21 Years Old.

“It’s a perfect premium location to engage shoppers by showcasing every facet of Appleton Estate,” says Marco Cavagnera, managing director of global strategic travel retail at brand owner Campari Group, when the boutique opened. “This omnichannel approach blends the right balance of technology and face-to-face interaction, creating a highly connected experience enabling us to track engagement and improve our understanding and relationship with our consumers.”

Taking a slightly different approach, this year Moët Hennessy chose Paris Charles de Gaulle for the inaugural travel retail outing of its Cuban rum Eminente. Teaming up with Extime Duty Free, the company created a temporary space in the airport reminiscent not only of Cuba, but of the brand’s recent pop-up in Paris, Casa Eminente.

Find an overview of the whole spirits travel retail market here.

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