Diageo has given its dark rum brand Captain Morgan a packaging revamp to make the seafarer "more handsome and authentic", and further boost already buoyant sales.

The new design, rolling out now, is intended to emphasise the brand's heritage, with additional gold coins, crossed swords and Henry Morgan's signature surrounding his picture.

Diageo hopes the ­revamp will continue to drive Captain Morgan's sales which have shot up 26% to £18.4m in the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 12 June] and cash in on a growing interest in dark rum.

Younger consumers were drinking more dark rum after becoming accustomed to gold, said Rachel Taylor, senior brand manager for rums at Diageo.

"Anecdotally we're now seeing a trend for younger people to try dark rum because of its perceived retro appeal," she said.

Despite that, she predicted golden rum sales would outstrip dark rum by 2015. Over the past year, sales of dark rum have risen 7% to £58m, while gold rum sales have jumped 32% to £37m [Nielsen MAT 12 June].

Almost all the growth in dark rum was being driven by Captain Morgan, said global brand director Russell Jones, who predicted the design would help it grow in global markets.

The grocery channel was driving Captain Morgan's growth, while strong sales over Christmas had also boosted its value, claimed Taylor. Dark rum was also benefiting from a trend for consumers who normally drank white spirits to experiment with spirits with more taste, "but without the challenging profile of something like whisky", she added.