Consumers increasingly seeking brands with ‘discernible point of difference’
FROM virtual tastings and online research to creating their own concoctions – many consumers sought to broaden their drinks knowledge during the various lockdowns and restrictions; and, as a result, are said to be increasingly seeking drinks that offer a discernible point of difference now they are back in bars.
The good news for operators and bartenders is that rum is one category said to deliver diversity in spades. Whether for sipping or mixing, rum offers a spectrum of styles and flavours – not to mention a huge degree of versatility – which give the category broad appeal and plenty points of difference for knowledge-thirsty consumers.
Indy Anand, director of importer and distributor Skylark Spirits, which counts Black Tears and Montanya among the rum brands in its portfolio, said the “appetite for education has grown rapidly”.
“As we have seen in the last couple of years, education was a key part of lockdown,” said Anand.
“While people were spending more time at home, we found that they were using the time to explore the rum category to understand exactly what they were drinking and, naturally, this led to many discovering new products.
“The general consumer is paying more attention to what they both eat and drink. This will, and already has, started to lead consumers away from the entry level of the category into the more premium offerings.
“A brand’s history, legacy and social impact are becoming more important as drinkers realise they need a way to understand what is in their glass and how to understand value in what they purchase. We expect this trend to not only remain but accelerate as we enter 2022.
“We believe that customers will want points of difference, and an obvious increase in quality when drinking rum.”
This was echoed by Alison Bartrop, European brand ambassador for Banks Rums, who said the trend for ‘premiumisation’ is set to continue.
When it comes to deciding which rums to stock, she advocated a “quality over quantity” approach.
“Streamlining the back-bar with a versatile and high quality selection of rums means that the team can offer a full range of cocktails and turn over stock efficiently without taking up valuable space with multiple vintages and finishes or dealing with the hassle of multiple suppliers,” said Bartrop.
“It is so important for venues to offer variety, theatre and a memorable experience to ensure customer loyalty, especially as we continue to encourage customers to return to bars again.
“A small yet diverse range of versatile rums will allow for a wide selection of cocktails and encourage creativity.”
Rum’s versatility was underlined by Freddy Drucquer, part of the team behind Scottish spiced rum Brass Neck, which was launched last year.
Drucquer said when it comes to building a range “variety is definitely the way to go”.
“From aged to white, spiced to botanical, be sure to include rums from across the globe and ones produced near you,” he said.
“Rum is an incredibly versatile spirit, there’s a perfect serve for everyone.
“From a sophisticated rum Old Fashioned to a tropical rum punch, you’ve got a lot to work with when tailoring rum serves to suit your clientele.
“Maximise sales by ensuring that you make the most of rum’s versatility.”
Anand at Skylark Spirits agreed that the spirit’s diversity should be showcased in the range stocked and the drinks offered.
“We would recommend ensuring the range encompasses as many different categories to appeal to as many different audiences as possible – from spiced, fruit and flavoured rums, to barrel-aged, unique cask finished rums and not forgetting cane juice as well as molasses-based rums, there is an incredible array of rums to satisfy all kinds of customers,” added Anand.