Rum cocktails, along with drinkers’ thirst for new and different brands, are helping boost the spirit’s popularity in the UK.
Total sales in the UK had reached £991m by September 2017 - up 5% on the same period in the previous year - putting the spirit on course to break the £1bn mark by the end of 2017 after Christmas sales are taken into account, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.
Rum sales have increased 18% by volume and 38% by value over the last five years. The number of brands on the market has grown significantly as well: from 50 in 2006 to more than 150 in 2016.
Flavored and spiced rum has seen particularly strong growth: up 14% in both value and volume in the last year.
The ‘craft cocktail craze’ has also helped boost sales of rum, says the WSTA. UK supermarket Waitrose also notes the advantages of rum’s versatility and variety, having seem sales rise 11%.
“Rum cocktails are getting the retro twist treatment in hybrids such as a Piña Colada Old Fashioned in London’s hottest cocktail bars. The stories behind rums and their cocktails can be fascinating and feed into customers’ interest in provenance,” according to Waitrose’s Food and Drink 2017 report.
“And the variety is astonishing; sugarcane grows at different latitudes and under different conditions across the Caribbean and Central and South America, meaning that the molasses used in regional rums all produce distinct flavors. All in all, this trend looks like it’s here to stay.”
Miles Beale, chief executive for the WSTA, said: “Rum has packed a punch in terms of sales this year, benefiting from the nation’s thirst for craft cocktails.
“We are pleased to see a rapid growth in the number of distilleries in the UK which has enabled our innovative spirit makers to expand their ranges with many introducing a rum into their portfolio.
“In turn, this has led to more and more rum bars emerging and established bars stocking a greater range of rums behind the bar.”
The rise of rum follows the growth of gin, with the WSTA seeing this as further proof of drinkers’ curiosity and interest in new and different brands.
Rum is also enjoying a resurgence in the US, having generated $2.3bn in revenue in 2016 after declines in the previous years, according to the US’ Distilled Spirits Council.
UK rum sales
In the 12 weeks to 9/9/17, £76m ($103m) of rum was sold in shops and supermarkets: a rise of 6% compared to the same period the previous year.
Sales in pubs, bars and restaurants saw a 9% increase compared to the same 12 weeks in 2016.
Flavored and spiced rum has shown strong growth in UK shops and supermarkets, up 14% in both volume and value sales - selling over 9.2 million bottles, worth £123m ($167m) in the 12 months to September 2017.