all enjoyed success, giving spiced rum an
edgier, more rebellious image than that of
milder white rums still favored for Cuba
Libres, piña coladas and simple tropical
concoctions. Of course, just because a
rum’s name links to sea-faring does not
mean it’s any less authentic than other
rums. Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum is a
perfect example of a serious flavored rum
portfolio—spiced, vanilla, coffee, mango
and coconut—that has shown tremen-
dous growth since its founding on the
island of St. Kitts in 2002.
“Spiced rum in the past five years
has definitely taken on a lot of innova-
tions and there has been a explosion
of brands,” says Toby Whitmoyer, vice
president, brand managing director of Ba-
cardi’s rum portfolio that launched their
spiced expression Oakheart in late 2011.
“The leaders of the category are struggling
to continue to grow with the many brands
coming in. We see an attractive opportu-
nity to expand the category and we ex-
pect continued innovation.”
The innovation seemed limited to
price, proof and the incorporation of
additional flavors until the announce-
ment from Captain Morgan, already
with nine line extensions that include
premixed cocktails (Long Island Iced
Tea), high proof (Black) and mixed fla-
vors (Lime Bite).
“Our robust innovation agenda con-
tributes to our growth, which is how the
limited edition Captain Morgan Sherry
Oak Finish came to be,” says Diageo’s Tom
Herbst, vice president and U.S. Captain
Morgan brand director. “It’s a rich and fla-
vorful take on the brand’s signature blend.
Our overarching goal remains to become
the number one rum brand by 2015.”
It’s that activity along with other new
brands that has pushed spiced rum so
far so fast; without its growth in 2012,
what was essentially a flat year for rum
might have turned negative, according
to recent data. Rum, the second largest
category after vodka, grew just 1.5% in
2012, to nearly 25.5 million cases, ac-
cording to numbers provided by the
Distilled Spirits Council of the United
States, while brands like Kraken, Sailor
Jerry and Oakheart showed double- and
triple-digit growth last year.
The innovation is fine with people in
charge of fast-rising spiced rums, includ-
ing Sailor Jerry, says Ken Reilly, category
marketing director at William Grant. “A
rising tide lifts all ships, and the fact that
consumers are discovering spiced rums
through a lot of strong brands differenti-
ated in the segment bodes well,” he says.
That tide is rising with loads of new
spiced rums entering the market: this
spring, Malibu debuted a low-calorie, 30%
ABV spiced iteration with a light spice,
smoked vanilla, and cinnamon flavor
profile targeted to female consumers. Fol-
lowing the launch of the George Clooney-
partnership Caliche Rum last year, the lat-
est celebrity rum comes from singer Kenny
Chesney, who in May launched in 32 mar-
kets Blue Chair Bay Rum in three expres-
sions: white, coconut and coconut spiced.
And earlier in the year, the Gallo folks
turned their hands to rum with Shellback
White and Spiced. “Millennials are en-
gaged in the category and over-index with
Blue Chair Bay’s expressions; inside the pavilion visitor center of
Cruzan Distillery; and Atlantico, star-powered by Enrique Iglesias.
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