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Rum set to break £1 billion barrier

Published:  26 August, 2017

Hot on the heels of gin, rum is the latest spirit set to reach sales of £1 billion later this year.

Craft cocktails have been pushing up sales of artisanal spirits over the last few years.

And helped along no doubt by the Notting Hill Carnival descending on the capital this weekend, rum enthusiasts will be pleased to hear that rum will soon be worth £1 billion to the UK economy.

The prediction comes from the WSTA’s newly released annual Spirits Report, which shows that in 2016, Brits bought almost 34 million bottles of rum worth £960 million and is likely to hit the £1 billion mark later this year.

In the last five years, UK rum has seen sales increase 15% by volume and 32% by value.

The latest increase in sales comes from the UK’s growing appetite for rum and the increasing number of brands on the market, the WSTA said.

In 2006, there were around 50 rum brandsavailble in the UK, compared to the 150 on sale in 2016.

Growth can also be attributed to the revival of Tiki bars, popular for tropical rum-based cocktails such as the Mai Tai.

Although gin has grown more rapidly overall, rum sold more by volume in pubs, bars and restaurants in 2016.

Total spirit sales last year amounted to more than £10bn, with nearly half of UK drinkers – around 24 million people – choosing to drink spirits, up 8% on 2015, according to WSTA figures.

The number of British rum brands is also growing, with English Spirit Distillery’s Old Salt Rum, Spirit Masters’ Glorious Revolution White Rum and Dark Matters Distillers’ Spiced Rum to name but a few already in the market.

Flavoured and spiced rum remains the fastest growing category, with spiced rum increasing its share of the off-trade rum market from 25% to 34% over the past year.

Golden rum is also seeing strong growth in the off-trade – 13% by both volume and value.

Speaking of the growing number of rum brands being produced in the UK in recent years, WSTA CEO Miles Beale said, “As we have seen a rapid growth in the number of distilleries in the UK, a new wave of UK spirit makers are turning their hand to rum production”, and once again called on the government to support UK spirit makers by freezing excise duty until Budget 2018.

Currently, 78% of an averaged priced bottle of rum is made up of tax.