World's 50 Best Bars Brands Report: Rum

28 January, 2014

For the third installation of the Brands Report, we quizzed the class of 2013 on the rum brands moving through their bars.

We polled 100 of the top 250 bars that our academy voted for in The World’s 50 Best Bars 2013 survey.

We asked which are the best sellers and which brands are catching the imaginations of consumers for the trending list.


The Cuban giants tussled for the top spot in the best selling stakes. Last year, Havana Club reigned supreme but this year Bacardi has

taken the top spot. And yes, we know it’s no longer distilled in Cuba but there’s no ignoring the backstory – and the historic unrest between the brands over trademarks.

But that is well documented and we’re here to celebrate success.

Appleton is back again for another year and it will be interesting to see how it fares over the next 12 months now it is owned by rising global drinks star Campari.

Caña Brava is a new one on us – it hails from Panama and is made from local sugar cane. As with the top two, 

there is Cuban influence here. Caña Brava master distiller Don Pancho made rum in his native Cuba for 35 years before decamping to Panama in the early ’90s.

And guess what? Caña Brava was developed in conjunction with a certain New York-based spirits company that goes by the name of Eighty Six Co.


It’s no surprise Diplomatico is at the top of this list. In October 2013, both the rum and its master blender, Tito Cordero, were hailed world-beaters in the Golden Rum Barrel Awards, which is organised by Rum Fest.

Destilerias Unidas scooped the Best Distillery Award and Cordero, who has been master blender for 24 years, took Master Blender of the Year for the second time.

So the greatness of this Venezuelan rum is definitely on the trade’s radar. Zacapa from Guatemala is another of Diageo’s Reserve brands and the next three down are all stalwarts of the backbar.

Plantation has risen up from 10 last year to six this year and we welcome Dos Maderas. Like Plantation, this rum is aged first in the Caribbean then shipped to Europe.

Plantation goes to Cognac Ferrand’s Château de Bonbonnet in France and Dos Maderas heads to Spain. Dos Maderas’ parent company, Palm Bay International, describes this process as 5+3.

The rum spends five years in oak in Guyana and Barbados before arriving in Jerez to sit in Dos Cortados 20-year-old Palo Cortado sherry casks for a further three years. 

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