Rum crowned ‘the drink of lockdown’

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lockdown champion: 'Our latest numbers show that rum is lockdown’s champion, as the experimentation Brits liked to enjoy in pubs and bars carried over to their homes,' the WSTA's Miles Beale said
Lockdown champion: 'Our latest numbers show that rum is lockdown’s champion, as the experimentation Brits liked to enjoy in pubs and bars carried over to their homes,' the WSTA's Miles Beale said

Related tags: Rum, Spirits, Drinks, Finance, Wsta

New figures from the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) have revealed rum enjoyed the biggest growth across all spirits categories during lockdown.

According to WSTA data, 38% more rum was sold in the three months from April to June than during the same period in 2019, equating to an extra 1.3m bottles and takings of £119m in the quarter alone. 

This comes off the back of 8% volume gains for the rum, now worth £430m, in the last 12 months, placing it behind only whiskies, vodkas and gins in terms of value. 

What’s more, the popularity of flavoured and spiced rums during lockdown saw the variety outsell white rums over a three-month period for the first time.

The flavoured and spiced rum sub-category, which between April and June spiked 53% by volume to make up 3.4m bottles, was also found to have yielded the biggest growth over the past year.

Elsewhere, despite off-trade growth in gin slowing over recent months, this trend was reversed during lockdown with 22% volume gains and a 27% increase in sales by value.  

Additionally, total gin sales over the last 12 months reached ab unprecedented £1.1bn, growth of 15% over the past year.

Lockdown’s champion 

Rum has long been mooted as the main challenger to gin’s spirit sales, with CGA data in March 2020 revealing rum is on course to hit the same heights as gin, after sales rose by 7% year-on-year​ in 2019.

What’s more, alongside the emergence of smaller, craft rum makers, a number of established players – including Bacardi​, Dead Man’s Fingers​ and Kopparberg​ have responded to the recent run on rum by launching new serves.

New Manchester-based premium drinks firm Ten Locks also added Diablesse Rum and The Salford Rum Company​ to its on-trade portfolio this month.

“Our latest numbers show that rum is lockdown’s champion, as the experimentation Brits liked to enjoy in pubs and bars carried over to their homes,” Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA said of the findings.

“However, this also underlines the importance of on-trade venues as the shop window for new innovations in the spirits category. 

“With news just last week of further restrictions being placed on the hospitality sector, the climate for our distillers, many of whom are SMEs and have come to represent such a great British success story of recent years, continues to get tougher. 

“Last week, we welcomed the fact hospitality venues forced to close in this latest round of measures will receive financial support and that retail will remain open under all scenarios, but we continue to express our serious concerns that – once again - those who supply the hospitality sector are being overlooked. 

“They need access to the same levels of support and this includes our world-beating great British distillers.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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