Close Menu
News Sponsored story

SB meets… Ned Duggan, Bacardi

With more than 20 years in the industry, Ned Duggan, chief marketing officer at Bacardi and president of Bacardi Global Brands, shares insights into the company’s premium portfolio, the two categories he finds most intriguing, and what success means to him.

Ned Duggan Bacardi
Ned Duggan, chief marketing officer at Bacardi and president of Bacardi Global Brands

What are your key observations regarding rum’s premiumisation?

We’re seeing new occasions, especially in places like Europe such as France and Germany. Those markets are a little out in front in terms of people who perhaps once looked at whisky, but are now looking more and more to a premium rum. It’s exciting that people are starting to see a more aspirational side of the category. We’ve been observing an increase in demand in the premium rum segment for several years and by 2026, 26% of the rum category will be premium.

We are very proud of our Puerto Rican ageing. In addition to our age statements, we’ve also been doing cask finishes with our eight‐year‐old expression. It invites exploration within the category to allow consumers to experience different flavours. We’re at a tipping point, and the premiumisation we’ve been talking about for 15 or 20 years is starting to accelerate.

Have any markets surprised you?

One market that jumps out is Mexico; in the past six years we’ve been accelerating at a rate that continues to outperform my expectations. It depends on the month, but we’re now the number‐one spirit brand there by volume and value. The Netherlands loves rum! And Bacardí has about a 65% market share there. The final market we’ve been very pleased about is India; we’re seeing a lot of growth of the middle class and dominance of the Gen Z consumer who’s coming of age.

Which category in the Bacardi stable is intriguing you most?

I have to say Tequila. The Patrón brand has been a fantastic acquisition for us. We’re very focused on the brand in the US and Mexico, and also looking to expand beyond those two core markets. We’ve just launched our new Cristalino variant in Mexico (with the US later this summer), which is a segment of Tequila that drives the most value in Mexico representing 68% of all super‐premium Tequila consumption.

Plus, Patrón is synonymous with the most coveted and influential events in culture. Patrón kicked off the summer in Monaco last month at the esteemed F1 Monaco Grand Prix by cultivating an unforgettable weekend of elevated luxury, exclusivity and energy for high‐profile VIPs from across the world including singer Becky G, who is one of our long‐term partners.

The apéritif occasion is another exciting area. Searches for ‘apéritif drinks’ have risen by 70% in the last 12 months (Google Trends April 23‐April 24), and our St‐Germain Elderflower Liqueur is riding the wave of this trend. The St‐Germain Hugo Spritz is an increasingly popular apéritif drink, with the Hugo Spritz garnering 4.5 million+ views on TikTok, and the trend continues to grow. We are seeing explosive growth in Europe across Italy and France, as well as in North America. We’re seeing gin sales slow in the UK.

What’s your outlook for gin?

Gin has slowed down more in the value and standard segment. We still see big opportunity in the premium‐plus segment where we play with Bombay Sapphire. We see cocktails as a big driver; we also see a lot of crossover with vodka and people leaving vodka and coming into gin, looking for those complex cocktails. In the US, it is still a relatively small category. Bombay Sapphire is a citrus‐forward gin, so it’s great for mixing, meaning we have huge opportunities to tap into that market space.

How are you seeing demand for Bourbon grow outside of the US?

Bourbon is still a love of Americans. The growth we’ve seen for Bourbon over the past 15 years in the US is beginning to reach into other markets. The super‐premium and ultra‐premium price tiers of the category have experienced the strongest growth, especially for an ultra‐premium Bourbon like Angel’s Envy.

What are you most excited for in 2024?

2024 is already proving to be an exciting year for Bacardi. We’ve launched a number of different campaigns, including our partnership on Bacardí rum with singer‐songwriter Camila Cabello. We also just launched a campaign for Angel’s Envy in the US called ‘Worth the Envy’.

Aside from campaigns, we have new innovations including ultra‐premium Grey Goose Altius – a remarkably smooth vodka made with pure alpine spring water and our winter wheat from Picardie, distilled at -24oC. Continuing to see the success and engagement around our campaigns and new product innovations is really rewarding.

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