With summer fast approaching, operators should take advantage of the change in season to launch new drinks and change up their cocktail menus.
And rum looks set to come into its own in the coming months, with the warmer weather giving licensees the perfect opportunity to encourage customers to trade up to premium brands – and increase margins, according to the firms behind some of the biggest rum brands in the Scottish trade.
Offering a range of seasonal rum-based long drinks and cocktails is key as customers seek new and unusual serves, according to Faith Holland, head of on-trade category development at Diageo, whose rum brands include Captain Morgan.
“People are no longer content with standard drink options; they’re looking for new experiences and refreshing long drinks, especially over summer,” said Holland.
Stocking rum brands with an interesting back-story can also help drive sales as consumer interest in the heritage of products continues to grow. “The history of rum is rich, diverse and fun and when they are brought to life in this way a bartender can’t help but remember them and pass them on to consumers,” said Gwilym Cooke, senior brand manager at William Grant & Sons UK, whose portfolio includes the Sailor Jerry, OVD and Wood’s rum brands.
“Premium sipping rum is increasing in credibility driven by the introduction of more high quality sipping brands and the general consumer trend towards new products with stories of provenance and heritage.”
Bartender training is vital, however, if operators are to take full advantage of the thirst for knowledge.
“Our Wood’s rum specialist, Stephen Rutherford, is educating bartenders through storytelling sessions that include anecdotes around our brand’s naval history, as well as tasting and cocktails of course,” added Cooke.
The importance of staff training was underlined by Diageo, whose Spirits Revolution initiative aims to educate licensees and help them drive spirits sales. “With continued growth of 1.8% in the spirits category year-on-year, there’s a massive opportunity for licensees to drive the category even further with Diageo’s latest ‘Inspire, Sell, Serve’ advice,” added Holland.