Building a brand around the world

Charlie Maas, global brand manager for rum liqueur RumChata, talks to SLTN

Q: How would you describe RumChata?

A: RumChata is inspired by horchata, an amazingly refreshing, sweet yet spicy soft drink found all over the Spanish speaking world. When our founder, my father (pictured above with Charlie), first tasted horchata at a street food stand in the US, he was inspired to create a spirit that was light and exotic enough to transport drinkers from the cold and dreary, to moments of sunshine. And so with five times distilled premium rum and a dash of real dairy cream, cinnamon, and vanilla, RumChata was born.

Q: How long have you worked with the brand and how did you start?

A: I’ve been working for RumChata for almost five years now. I started my career producing television commercials, eventually making my way to the biggest ad agency in the world – Saatchi and Saatchi. At the same time, my father created and launched RumChata.

By the time the brand was five years old, he needed some significant advertising in the United States. He called me up and said: “Charlie, I need to hire an ad agency for RumChata, or you can just do it. What do you think?” I’ve worked for RumChata ever since, producing TV commercials, new websites, digital ads, social media content, bus wraps, print – we’ve done it all. Over that time period we’ve more than doubled our global sales, and introduced RumChata into twenty five new countries.

Q: What’s one fact bartenders should know about RumChata?

A: RumChata is the mixable rum cream. It’s so versatile and a really great ingredient to change up the traditional Espresso Martini or classic Piña Colada. The real dairy cream and vanilla in RumChata are the perfect tools to help showcase other flavours. Many people love a RumChata on the rocks or in a cocktail after dinner as it’s the perfect way to end a meal or enjoy on a warm day as part of a more tropical cocktail.

Q: What is your favourite way to drink the product?

I love RumChata with coffee — especially as part of an Espresso Martini, which we call a Lattini once you’ve got RumChata in it. It’s also great in hot coffee when it’s cold outside and the cinnamon flavours really come through. In the summer, I’m also quite a fan of RumChata with citrus flavours when entertaining friends — there are some delicious pairings with orange and pineapple. I think the base of Caribbean rum is part of what makes RumChata so versatile. The key is to keep it really cool, and to mix with plenty of ice.

Q: How is the product currently performing in bars around the world?

A: RumChata has had a lot of success in bars across the globe, especially in the US. The bartending community has been especially helpful in creating new serves. We love people experimenting with RumChata, there’s always another amazing way to mix it. In new markets, our greatest challenge is figuring out how RumChata fits into the local palate. It can be a bit overwhelming to tell someone “pick your favourite from these 100 recipes”, so instead we try to get RumChata into the hands of creative locals, they always have the best ideas to suit local tastes.

Q: How important is a liqueur’s adaptability across serves for bars?

A: If a product can’t be served in multiple forms, then it isn’t worth its space on the back-bar. There is an increasing choice of spirits for bartenders to choose from, and limited space to store them, bartenders are picking products that allow them to satisfy more customers.

Q: What are you currently doing to promote RumChata?

A: We are very excited to start consumer advertising soon to get the word out about RumChata. We see our partners in the UK as very important to help share that story with the consumer and look forward to revealing more on this later this year – watch this space!