Rum’s got punch

24 November, 2015

If and when Cuba starts freely trading internationally it will create a new interest in the rum category in general, and everybody will benefit

PH: Cuba is already trading internationally, albeit without the US market. That market is significant and will create impact but the rest of the world’s view on Cuban rum is pretty solid – why would the US’s view make a difference? I really hope the rest of the world doesn’t rely on the US to tell us how to enjoy our booze.

Nadége Perrot: The opening of Cuba will surely create a curiosity for Cuban rums and for the category in general. Consumers will try out Cuban rums but I don’t think it will penalise other brands.

JK: Of course it will create an interest  but we will see if this will persist. Havana Club has to lead this movement as a leader of Cuban rum around the world. But then, there are other brands that can offer an alternative to the US distributors.

In the future, with so many diverse and exciting rums from different islands and central American countries, rum may well go down the route of tequila and single malt whisky and offer consumers a varied and diverse portfolio

NB: The rum category is currently the most under-premiumised spirit category. The situation is the same as whiskies or vodkas – there are so many different geographical origins, even more in rums. That’s why rum has difficulties in establishing itself as a high-end spirit and a credible alternative to other major categories. The opportunities for premiumisation are clear. Rum has all the credentials to step up as the next experience in luxury spirits. Premium spirits have authenticity, heritage and character.

Karina Hermansen: Indeed. We are seeing that the category is moving towards greater variety driven by a high degree of consumer experimentation.

We experience that rum is moving away from having historically been associated with the high-energy drinking occasion to being considered enjoyment-focused on the taste experience. Penny Blue which has been described as a whisky drinker’s rum, is greatly benefitting from this wave where our consumers already are or become rum collectors and show a high degree of loyalty towards Penny Blue.

We see a boom in new rum connoisseurs who come from across our markets, thus underscoring the development of a rum sipping culture outside the local rum markets.

Our spiced rum Pink Pigeon is also riding the wave of consumers searching for different rum styles.

Our origin in Mauritius, and the fact that Mauritius has a rich rum history where the rum was produced well before it was taken to the Caribbean, is an extra dimension that adds to the credibility of our rum portfolio.

NP: One sign is that we see a community of rum experts growing worldwide, and more and more people are following these influencers. Moreover, around the world consumers’ interest in rums is growing and, in parallel, brands do their best to educate about their specificities and their elaboration.

JK: Maybe. But we have to take into account that in Central America and South America there are local products such as tequila, mezcal, pisco that are very strong and growing in terms of variety.

BH: The parallel is closest with whisky. Rum is segmented already and will be further organised into different categories separated by profile and style not much different to how whiskies are today, ie bourbon, Canadian, Irish, scotch (blend and single malt), and international (including Japanese).

PH: Jeez – I hope so. The style of rum in your glass is influenced by many things, from production style through to cultural perspective. Identification and celebration of the USP that the different rums offer is everything. I try to get this perspective over in my trainings. After all the drinking experience is far more than just the amazing chemistry in your glass.  

Keywords: rum

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