Gin has been an on-trend spirit, particularly in the UK, since 2009 when the ‘gin boom’ began. However, rum is set to dominate going forward, with impressive sales growth and category innovation witnessed over the past few years. According to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, the value of the rum market in the UK grew at a rate of 7.5% between 2017 and 2018, compared to the gin market which saw annual grow at a rate of 3.8%. This clearly demonstrates how rum is capitalizing on the slowing gin market after years of growth.
Matthew Coates, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Sales of rum reached over £1bn in 2018, around one year behind gin. Currently, white rum is the most popular but the Wine and Spirits Trading Association (WSTA) predict that spiced and flavoured rum categories will becoming the leading product type for consumers by the end of 2019.
“The growth is driven by consumer demand for craft spirits, similar to the growth seen in craft beer over the past decade. In 2006, around 50 rum brands were available to the British public, compared to nearly 200 in 2019.”
Resurgence in gin’s popularity was largely driven by the cocktail revival seen in the 2000s, the versatility of the spirit within those cocktails and the rise of small-scale distilleries. In comparison, rum will face a greater challenge in gaining widespread popularity due to the higher cost, the greater difficulty involved in producing varieties, and the longer periods of time needed to age.
However, innovation in the category is helping to reposition rum as a premium luxury spirit. For example, Damoiseau uses fresh slices of tropical fruit to flavor its rum, while Diablesse uses traditional pot and column distillation methods to produce a more authentic taste – two key sensory trends among consumers.
Coates concludes: “These shifts within this category are repositioning rum from being a cheap party drink or sailor’s favorite to a premium luxury spirit. Rum is entering an exciting and diverse production era to be explored by consumers and manufacturers alike.”