Rum turns to the dark side

05 September, 2008

T here was a time when summing up the rum market could be done in one word: Bacardi.

The global rum power is still the dominant brand in the UK, with 44% of off-trade sales, but it doesn't quite have it all its own way any more.

Hall & Bramley's Expedition is the only white rum challenger in the top 10, but the growth of darker styles of rum has seen other brands close the gap.

Bacardi remains the only rum in the top 25 spirits brands overall, but Diageo's twin Morgan brands are both poised to join them if current growth patterns can be maintained.

Morgan's Spiced was boosted during the year by revamped packaging and a £1.5 million press and outdoor ad campaign positioning it as " out of the


Growth of 6 % in total rum sales in take-home are largely a knock-on from the upper reaches of the on-trade, where bartenders have increasingly chosen rum over vodka for cocktail recipes.

As a result, rum's public image has been upgraded from "awkward and challenging" to "flavoursome and versatile" and marketing teams have been adopting on-trade cocktails into simpler rum-

and-mixer long drinks as part of their marketing strategies.

No rum brand has made mileage out of cocktail culture more than Havana Club, which added an extra £500,000 to its

off-trade sales and consequently moved

up from 10th to seventh in the rum chart.

Long-running antagonism between the Cubans and Bacardi meant the latter was never going to take any form of Havana Club success lying down, and sure enough Bacardi has come back this summer with a cocktail campaign of its own, linking the brand to the original creation of the Mojito.

Rum in


Value: £196 million

(2007: £185 million)

Change: + 6%

Volume: 1 34,000 hl (2007: 1 28,000hl)

Change: +5%

Source: Nielsen year to Aug 9 2008

Top 10 rum brands

1 Bacardi +3%

2 Morgan's Spiced +17%

3 Captain Morgan +7%

4 Lamb's Navy Rum +2%

5 Morton's OVD +1%

6 Mount Gay +15%

7 Havana Club +49%

8 Appleton Estate +64%

9 Expedition +18


Wood's Old Navy -7%

A golden future

While Bacardi continues to ensure that white rum sales chug along, the real excitement in the category has been generated by golden rum.

Overall rum sales are growing at a respectable

rate, but those of golden rum are forging ahead in the mid to high 20s.

Appleton Estate, led by its VX style, has benefited from the support of retailers such as Sainsbury's, and a six-month press campaign could yet see it add to its 64% advance in sales.

Morgan's Spiced has overtaken sister dark brand Captain Morgan, and Mount Gay has closed the gap on Morton's OVD, whose strength lies in sales in Scotland.

Bookmark this

Site Search


Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know