'Rough diamond' rum brand Sailor Jerry has been given a sexy new look and spicier flavour to help take its growth in the multiples to the next level.

First Drinks unveiled the updated design and recipe, which is more akin to the 1940s original, this week. It also announced that the rum, which was launched in the UK in 2004, had just won its first listing in Tesco and was now available in all the major multiples.

The relaunched rum was less sugary and slightly spicier than before, with stronger tones of vanilla and cinnamon coming through, First Drinks said.

Because the majority of consumers add cola, ginger ale or ginger beer to Sailor Jerry, there was less need for a sweet flavour in the pure spirit, said James Stocker, marketing controller for premium dark spirits at First Drinks.

"It's a more rounded and slightly more masculine flavour that is more similar to the original recipe Norman Collins invented more than 60 years ago."

The new recipe was very close to the US version of Sailor Jerry, he added, although it had an abv of 40%, compared with 46% for the American equivalent.

The label now features a larger image of the hula girl and a more prominent Sailor Jerry signature on a parchment-like label. "We wanted to evolve the brand but retain its authenticity," said Stocker.

Sailor Jerry would hit Tesco's shelves next month, he added.

Value sales of Sailor Jerry have grown 300% to £2.9m in the past year [Nielsen 52w/e 23 January 2010] thanks to new distribution deals with the multiples. "Retailers are giving more space to golden rum, which is the fastest-growing spirits category and being fuelled by Sailor Jerry [Nielsen 52w/e 23 January]," said Stocker.

Brand innovation analyst Claire Nuttall said the edgy image of the brand stood out from other spirits.

"Sailor Jerry is a rough diamond of a brand and perfectly captures the mood of the times," she said. "The 'bad boy, good soul' image effectively projects a down-to-earth realness that cuts through slick, manufactured offers that are often lacking in substance."