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The Rum Renaissance: Is Rum the new Gin?

Published:  28 April, 2022

A report by Campari Group UK explains why rum is a key growth area in the on and off-trade, as the category plays into central consumer and shopper trends influencing the market.

Globally, the rum sector has experienced sustained value growth, similar to spirits since 2000. Out of the top 10 rum markets globally, the IWSR forecasts the UK as having the highest CAGR growth rate to 2021 with a 4.8% increase, taking the total value of the category to £1.17bn – placing the UK as the third-largest rum market in the world.

The pull of premium
The trend for premiumisation is hugely prevalent within rum and is an important driver of the growth the category has experienced since 2021. Premium rum recorded an 18% increase in value sales in the off-trade in 2021, compared to a declining standard rum category (-1.7%).

The report also anticipates that growth will continue to come through the top end of the category in 2022 as consumers continue to show a greater appreciation for the quality of rum on offer, with the ‘drinking less but better’ trend playing an enhanced role.

Similarly, in the on-trade, consumer preference for quality has led to positive momentum for premium rum brands – premium rum grew its share of the category by 6.1% in 2019. 

Furthermore, over two-thirds of UK consumers noted they would spend more for a quality drink – with a third of these consumers drinking rum as a regular drink – further highlighting the opportunity for the trade to boost the frequency of these premium occasions by stocking a range of high-quality rums.

Linked to the draw of premium is the role of aged liquids, as consumers closely associate aged liquid with being a quality spirit. According to the report, 70% of consumers agree that if a rum has an age statement, they are more likely to view it as a high-quality liquid.

The role of spiced
Spiced has been the key growth driver of total rum in the UK over the last two years and is expected to continue to drive the category forwards in 2022.

In the On-Trade in 2021, spiced/flavoured rum achieved a 6.3% share of spirits, an increase of 1.2% compared to 2019, with taste the number one factor driving consumer interest in the sub-category. Meanwhile, in the off-trade, spiced rum has grown 9% compared to 2021, as younger shoppers continue to discover and explore the category.

Rum and cocktails
The research also found rum to sit at the heart of the ever-popular cocktail trend. The category’s versatility of service allows it to take full advantage of the growing cocktail movement across the UK. Rum features five of the top 20 cocktails across the on-trade and three of the top ten cocktails made at home. 

Brad Madigan, MD, Campari Group UK, said: “Our Rum Report shows just how much of an opportunity we see rum for the UK market in 2022 and the years ahead. The category elevates itself far beyond what has previously been perceived as a rum-and-coke-dominated category, to one with endless opportunities within high-end cocktails and beyond."

He added: “Rising consumer interest and discovery of rum aided through the rise of premium rums such as Appleton Estate, as well as the category’s growing role within the cocktail trend led by brands such as Wray & Nephew, means it’s a really exciting time to hero the rum category in the UK. We have a tremendous opportunity to continue to premiumise rum in this market and educate consumers on the vast potential of this fantastic category.”