Taking advantage of seasonal tastes can boost sales, firms say
Born from a part of the world where warm weather with sunshine is the rule rather than the exception, it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that rum is a spirit which goes down well with customers at this time of year.
That’s the view of a number of rum makers, who suggested that, although the spirit is enjoyed throughout the year, licensees can use seasonal tastes to their advantage to boost sales at this time of year.
Nick Williamson, marketing director for Campaign UK, the firm behind Appleton Estate in the UK, said there are “seasonal trends in the ways in which people are enjoying rum”.
“During the warmer months cocktails served with plenty of fruit and ice are popular,” said Williamson.
Spirits giant Diageo, the firm behind Captain Morgan, agreed that the summer presents the perfect opportunity for publicans to boost rum sales through cocktail serves.
A spokeswoman for the firm said the coming weeks provide “an opportunity for licensees to trade customers up”, allowing them to boost margins through long drinks and “an exciting cocktail menu”.
Faith Holland, head of on-trade category development at Diageo GB, claimed that adding cocktails to the menu “can increase spirits sales by 36%”, offering “a real opportunity for licensees to surprise and delight summer customers with an inspiring new drinks offering”.
Holland said licensees must consider “all opportunities to amplify sales”, and suggested operators diversify not only their drinks list, but the way in which rum serves are promoted.
She suggested a number of ways operators can promote their range, from creating “the perfect sharing pitcher” to using eye-catching POS and “inspiring menus”, food promotions, “and even outdoor games, making sure every occasion in summer is covered”.
Brandon Leib, co-founder and partner for Atlantico Importing Company, echoed Holland, suggesting that there are simple steps operators can take to ensure their rum offer catches the eye.
“Ice and garnishes go a long way,” said Leib.
“Whether it is crushed ice like in a swizzle or a single large cube, ice can make a big impact.
“Additionally, garnishes certainly draw attention in terms of presentation.
“Tiki accounts have all taken this approach to a whole new level but the approach works in all types of bars.”
In terms of rum serves, Leib said rum mules are “still very popular” as well as cocktails that traditionally use bourbon and “simple drinks with fresh juices”, which are all “easy to make”.
“For example, we see a lot of accounts now serving Atlantico Reserva with pineapple juice and a dash of Angostura bitters,” said Leib.
“Very simple and delicious.”
Setting up the right menu of rum serves is key, but a strong cocktail list needs to be backed up by the right spirits range.
Leib offered operators some key points to consider when building their rum range.
“The first segmentation should be made between white, aged, and spiced,” said Leib.
“All three types serve very different purposes when it comes to rum and cocktails.
“Then within each of those segments, English-style, Spanish-style and French-style rums are all very unique.
“Ideally an operator will have a white and aged version of each style (and at least one bottle of spiced rum) so a minimum of seven different rums.”
On Captain’s orders
• 50ml Captain Morgan
Original Spiced Gold
• 25ml lime juice
• 15ml sugar syrup
• 75ml soda water
• 6 to 8 mint leaves
• Sprig of mint
Slap the mint leaves in the palm of your hand and add to a highball glass. Pour in the liquid ingredients and a small scoop of crushed ice. Mix through with a bar spoon. Cap with another scoop of crushed ice. Garnish with the sprig of mint.
Williamson added that operators would benefit from stocking a range “that includes a premium blended rum” which can “form the base for delicious cocktails”.
And with the right range in place, Williamson suggested it will be down to bartenders to give brands the final push to drive sales.
“Bartender knowledge is key in ensuring that customers are being recommended the best rum for their tastes,” said Williamson.
“Operators should talk to their sales representative about product training for their bartenders.”