Caribbean rum producers are looking to make substantial inroads into the UK following the launch of a new marque of provenance.

More than 20 brand owners, including Mount Gay, Cockspur and Chairman's Reserve, have signed up to the Authentic Caribbean Rum marque, developed by the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA), which will act as a seal of authenticity and promote the development of Caribbean rum as a distinct sector in UK rum.

Golden and dark rums are showing impressive growth in the UK as consumers become increasingly experimental in spirit choices. Sales of golden rums were up 26% in the year to 21 February 2009, with dark rum up 12% to £54m and white rum up 7% to £129m.

Cockspur is in the second year of its three-year sponsorship of the English Test Match Cricket grounds and has achieved listings with four major retailers - Asda, Somerfield, Waitrose and Tesco. Meanwhile, Barbados-based Mount Gay has developed a new rum brand, Mount Gilboa, specifically for the international market, which will be launched in the UK this summer.

"The Caribbean is the recognised home of rum and offers a hugely diverse range of brands," said Neil Morris, head of marketing at WIRSPA. "With the popularity of rum rising, consumers are not only looking to explore brands but are also seeking help with selection. The marque will help meet both these objectives, while giving further weight to the development of a Caribbean category."