Speaking at The Morning Advertiser’s Future Trends: Spirits event in London today (Wednesday 4 October), global rum ambassador Ian Burrell told delegates that rum was “hot on the tail” of gin and would continue to thrive thanks to the knowledge and passion of bartenders.
“Rum is the latest spirit that is set to reach sales of £1bn later this year, with 34m bottles being bought by Brits this year,” Burrell said. “In the past five years, we have seen a 15% increase in sales.”
Categorisation by country or style
He added: "As a spirit, rum has a huge breadth of appeal; if you like spirits and don’t like rum then you just haven’t found the right rum yet.”
“Part of this is down to the enthusiasm of top bartenders. If you go into any of the top 50 bars in the world, all of them have a good rum programme. People want quality rums on their bars, not just white, gold, dark. We’re seeing bars now categorising rum by counties or styles and moving beyond the standard options.”
Burrell also pointed to the global trend of premiumisation and the revival of rum-based cocktails, such as Pina Colada as other factors behind the category’s popularity.
Emerging craft rums
On the subject of whether rum could be the new gin, Burrell said: “Gin is a spirit that has exploded on the market with a huge number of small, craft brands, but there are just as many rums available on the market.
"The problem is that they are not promoted and shouted about in the same way that gins are. A lot of rums are made in developing countries so don’t have the marketing budget.
“There are amazing craft rums out there that just haven’t emerged yet but they are coming.”
When asked what he thought the future held for the rum category, Burrell predicted more “boutique craft rum brands” would emerge from markets such as Asia and South America, and said it was likely we would see more innovative ways to serve rum cocktails being explored.
Elsewhere at the Future Trends: Spirits event, the rise of products from the rest of the world and an increased focus on personality were hailed as two key trends to look out for in whisky, while gin was predicted to retain its popularity through an increased focus on “discovery and accessibility".
Future Trends: Spirits was made possible thanks to headline partners Diageo and Schweppes; associate partner Pernod Ricard; and event partners Warner Edwards, Slingsby Gin and Willis Publicity