Why rum will be the next big trend in spirits

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Soaring spirit: sales of rum are on the rise and hot on the heels of the current tipple of the moment – gin (image credit: allgord/iStock/thinkstock.co.uk)
Soaring spirit: sales of rum are on the rise and hot on the heels of the current tipple of the moment – gin (image credit: allgord/iStock/thinkstock.co.uk)
Traditionally the spirit of pirates, rum is the tipple operators should be stocking up on, according to booze experts.

Data insight professionals CGA predicted golden rum to be the next big trend in the spirits category, outpacing gin by 2020, at The Morning Advertiser​’s Future Trends: Spirits last year.

CGA commercial director Graeme Loudon said then: “Golden rum is forecasted to grow faster than gin​ by 2020, with Tequila and malt whisky also performing well.

“Forecasted volume percentage change also shows that gin volumes will rise by 28%, Tequila by 13% and malt whisky up 9%.”

In fact, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) predicted sales of rum were expected to exceed the £1bn mark for 2017,​ just behind gin, which totalled £1.2bn in the 12 months to September 2017.

According to WSTA figures, rum sales rose by almost one fifth (18%) in volume and 38% in value terms in the past five years.

Soaring consumer interest

The sales increase was indicative of a soaring consumer interest in rum, which is also driving the number of brands on the market. In 2006, for instance, there were 50 rum brands on sale in the UK. Now there are more than 150.

Cellar Trends rum and cocktail category development manager Peter Thornton said 2017 was a good year for rum in the UK, with consumer interest continuing to grow,

Saying he had high expectations for this year, he added: “All the signs seem to suggest rum will continue to prosper in 2018 as the number of rum brands and styles increases further.”

According to WSTA figures, in 2017 golden rum sales in the on-trade were 14% up on 2016, to £76m.

Flavoured and spiced rum sales in the retail sector grew, up 14% in value and volume terms for the 12 months to September 2017 – selling 9.2m bottles, worth £123m.

Rum demand

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “Rum has packed a punch in terms of sales this year, benefiting from the nation’s thirst for craft cocktails.

“We are pleased to see a rapid growth in the number of distilleries in the UK, which has enabled our innovative spirit makers to expand their ranges with many introducing a rum into their portfolios.

“In turn, this has led to more and more rum bars emerging and established bars stocking a greater range of rums.”

The demand for rum is being driven by the enthusiasm of top bartenders​ and a growth in the interest in cocktails, global rum ambassador Ian Burrell said.

“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,” he added.

“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 are seeing bars now categorising rum by countries or styles and moving beyond the standard options.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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