Rum sales set to break the £1bn barrier

Rum sales set to break the £1bn barrier

Rum sales are rising following a bumper year in 2016 as the craft cocktail craze take sales to new heights, the WSTA’s newly released spirits report shows.

If current trends continue, rum is expected to break the £1bn sales barrier later this year – hot on the heels of booming gin which passed £1bn in sales last year.

This week the Wine and Spirit Trade Association publishes the 2017 annual spirits report, compiling all spirit sales from last year. Latest rum sales stats from the report show that in 2016, Brits bought almost 34 million bottles of rum worth £960m.

This is 5% more, in volume, sold in our supermarkets and shops compared to the previous year, and 6% more than last year in pubs, bars and restaurants.

In the last five years UK rum has seen sales increase 15% by volume and 32% by value.

The latest increase in sales attests to the growing appetite in the UK for rum and the increasing number of brands on the market.

In 2006, there were around 50 rum brands on the UK market, which has now increased to over 150 in 2016, showing that curiosity in new and different brands is not only confined to gin.

Growth can also be attributed to the fact that Tiki bars, serving exotic tropical-themed rum based cocktails such as mai tai and zombies, are seeing a revival.

Though gin tops the table in terms of growth, rum sold more by volume in pubs, bars and restaurants in 2016. The growing variety in the rum sector ensures the spirit is well placed to continue to feature prominently behind the bar in the future.

Total spirit sales last year amounted to more than £10bn with nearly half of UK drinkers - around 24 million people – choosing to drink spirits, up 8% on 2015, according to the figures in the WSTA’s new Report.

Chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, said: “Rum is another spirit punching above its weight and benefiting from the craft cocktail craze. We are pleased to see a flurry of new British rum brands popping up in recent years.

“As we have seen a rapid growth in the number of distilleries in the UK, a new wave of UK spirit makers are turning their hand to rum production.

"We are calling on the government to support our innovative spirit makers by freezing excise duty until Budget 2018 and reviewing its regressive policy of year-on-year inflationary rises in excise duty for the full term of the current Parliament.

“With 78% of an averaged priced bottle of rum made up of tax, UK consumers are being punished, and the potential of our internationally recognised spirits industry is damaged, too.

"Recent history shows that lower rates of duty are proven to boost business and bring more money into the treasury's coffers."

Peter Thornton, rum & cocktail category development manager at Cellar Trends, adds: "The general interest in rum has grown a lot over the past couple of years.

"I am seeing more faces at tastings and masterclasses, and people asking more questions too. People genuinely want to know more!

“Some of this is brand led, smaller/less known brands draw a lot of curiosity, but for most, its cross category knowledge they want, which can only be a good thing for rum."

Published: 26 August 2017

Article by Bryce Wilcock
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