RUM’S traditional image seems to be shifting, with producers and distributors saying the category is appealing to a younger age group.
Consumers, they say, are seeking more variety and choice – and are drinking rum in different ways, including cocktails.
James Wright, head of spirits and agency brands at Halewood International – the firm behind the Lamb’s brand, said: “The profile of the average rum drinker has changed dramatically and the sector now appeals to a younger demographic, for both dark and spiced rums.
“Consumers are looking for greater choice and quality in rums and brands must also offer versatility in terms of cocktail creation.”
Wright added that the firm’s spiced rums were performing well across Scotland.
Ian Baines, category manager for the on-trade at William Grant & Sons UK, whose rum brands include OVD and Sailor Jerry, agreed that spiced rums are making an impact in the Scottish on-trade. Quoting CGA figures, Baines said rum is currently outperforming total spirits, with sales up 7.5% versus 3.1% year on year in value terms.
“Spiced rum dominates the Scottish market, accounting for over 54% of total rum sales, though dark rum is another key winner,” he said.
Baines said an increase in the number of varieties and styles of rum available means more women are now drinking the spirit.
He also credited the rise in popularity of the spiced Mojito coupled with more experimental bar staff as contributing to the spirit’s growth.
“Rum is growing in popularity because spiced and golden variations are bringing in younger and more female consumers as well as featuring in more cocktails,” added Baines.
“The demise of the traditional Mojito and the rise of the spiced Mojito has played a large part in this. As a result, bar staff have become more experimental with rum due to their increasing knowledge of the newer categories and more bars increasing their total rum range.”
Wright at Halewood International said knowledge of the spirit is strong because rum is in vogue.
“Bar staff should be aware of different flavour profiles and suitability as a base for cocktails when recommending rums to consumers,” he said. “Cocktail serves are vital to an on-trade offering and operators should look at ‘classic’ rum cocktails which have remained popular with consumers.”