Don’t rum before you can walk – lessons from gin boom can boost rum sales

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Winning rum: the same approach to the gin boom can help operators make rum an on-trade success, according to Bacardi's Marie Peyto
Winning rum: the same approach to the gin boom can help operators make rum an on-trade success, according to Bacardi's Marie Peyto

Related tags Rum Alcoholic beverage Public house

Bacardi UK’s marketing manager Marie Peyto told operators at MA500 London how mastering rum basics can help them make the most of gin’s nearest challenger.

Peyto told delegates at The Morning Advertiser​’s MA500 conference in London that while rum presented a “massive” opportunity for operators, the key to runaway rum sales was applying the same basic knowledge that had been applied to the gin category. 

What’s more, Peyto added that rum sales are predicted to continue growing at a rate of 6.3% until 2023.

“There’s been a lot said across loads of trade press that rum is accelerating,” she explained. “It is following in the footsteps of gin. It achieved £1bn in 2018, just one year after gin did.”

Maintain a trusted product core 

According to Peyto, licensees need a strong range that includes a number of recognisable “beacon brands” to ignite rum sales. This includes stocking a “white staple” rum behind the bar.

While white rum sales have remained relatively flat in the on-trade year-on-year – registering a 0.8% decline over the past 12 months – it still sells in massive volume given its involvement in key cocktail serves such as the Mojito.

What’s more, Peyto added that spiced rum was a key inclusion on any pub’s back bar, with the sub-category expected to grow by 14.3% over the next few years.

“We launched Bacardi Spiced almost a year to the day and have sold almost 1m bottles,” she told delegates. Category growth of 14% makes it a really exciting space to be in.”

New rum trends 

Peyto added that the rum sub-categories she was most excited about were premium and flavoured – hedging her bets that coconut-flavoured variants would crack the on-trade in the not-too-distant future, given the rise of coconut waters and flavoured spirits. 

Forecasting that flavoured rums would offer operators the chance to be “a bit more playful” with rum mixers beyond the stalwart rum and coke, Peyto explained that flavoured rums were on the cusp of 43% growth over the next few years.

However, she explained that the fastest growth in the rum market was enjoyed by premium spirits, which she predicted will grow by 47% by 2023. 

Excite and inspire

“One of the biggest successes of gin has been achieving the perfect serve,” Peyto explained. “Once you know you can get a good G&T, you’ll keep going back.”

Adding that more than two thirds of on-trade rum (69%) is drunk with a mixer, she explained that operators have a unique chance to upsell on rum by broadening the range of serves on drinks menus and educating consumers on pairing and flavour profiles.

“Trading up with cocktails can really help grow sales as four cocktails in the top 10 most popular involve rum.”

Related topics MA Leaders Club

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