The 2006 Rum Report, by consultancy The Insight Connection, revealed a growing trend in premium bars in the UK towards using rum in cocktails,as well as an increased feeling of 'vodka fatigue', which it said would spill into the off-trade.
The report, commissioned by Jamaican rum producer J Wray & Nephew, showed strong growth for flavoured rums such as the coconut flavoured Malibu and Koko Kanu, as well as flavoured extensions like Apple and Berry Bacardi. This goes against Pernod Ricard's announcement last week that it was withdrawing its Malibu flavour extensions Mango and Pineapple due to weak sales. "They need to be clearly positioned and relatively premium to be successful," said Insight's Judith Steinart.
The report showed that while white rum still takes up more than half of UK rum consumption, golden and spiced rums are now gaining ground.
J Wray & Nephew's own V/X Appleton premium golden rum brand was pinpointed as one to watch, along with smaller brands such as Goslings Black Seal.
Appleton's brand manager James Robinson said the brand had just moved into the number three position in the off-trade golden rum sector with just less than 50% growth in the past year, overtaking volume sales of both Bacardi Oro and Havana Club and lining up behind Morgan's Spiced and Mount Gay [ACNielsen w/e 24 December 2005].
"The huge uplift in sales for V/X has been fuelled by the increasing popularity that rum is currently enjoying in the UK and growing consumer awareness for the Appleton brand," said Robinson.
But while the report identified 'vodka fatigue' in the on-trade, the off-trade continues to see growth in the vodka category at 14% in volume for premium and 7% for total vodka, according to ACNielsen [year ending January 2006].