Why did Brown-Forman buy Diplomático?

01 December, 2022

“The rum category has a great history and cultural legacy and now there is a great opportunity to regain rum’s reputation as a refined spirit of special interest.”

Often the drinks industry is a perceptions game. So often brands talk about the need for them to be altered or updated and spirits categories can often be constrained or misrepresented by stereotypes. Being so ingrained, changing perceptions isn’t quick or easy, but premium rum has been able to somewhat navigate it.

“The change in perception of rum from a spirit that is drunk mixed to one that can be sipped continues,” says Hermoso. “Premium-and-above rum is therefore growing at the expense of lower qualities.”

Martin adds: “In recent years, rum has established itself as a fashionable and credible alternative to high-end classics such as Scotch and Cognac.

As such, a growing number of consumers are buying into the category and rum is demonstrating it has all the necessary credentials to establish a stronger foothold in the premium spirits market.”

Increasingly, the category is proving to have the collectability of other luxury categories, with bottlings of Caroni, Foursquare, Dictador and other sought-after brands regularly fetching thousands in the secondary market.

Not just a spirit to be sipped though the category has found itself an audience in the cocktail world, and as bartenders and guests become increasingly distinguished globally, there is a demand for ingredients that can offer more.

“Its versatility means it can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, with a mixer or in a refined cocktail,” says Martin.

In the latest Drinks International Annual Brands Report, which surveys the 100 best bars globally according to the World’s 50 Best Bars list, all of the 10 bestselling rum brands were premium.

Premium rum has gone from being a ‘one-to-watch’ to a bonafide big hitter in the premium and premium-plus spirits world. Its variety has made it the perfect benefactor of so many of the wider trends of the industry.

Diplomático Rum is a wildly popular brand and, under the stewardship of Brown-Forman, if handled correctly, that popularity will only increase, but the ramifications for the wider category are exciting too.

Big money purchases go to show that there’s a category here that has made strides but still has further to go.

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