StateWays - July/August 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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29 StateWays ■ ■ July/August 2015 Moscow Mules and Margaritas. "Rum mixes well with fruit juices, too," he says. To aid customers in this cocktail quest, the retailer has posted more rum recipes to its website and is adding them on shelf talkers. "Mixologists are fi nding that aged rums make a great substitute for Bourbon," says Eason at Don Q. "And there is a defi nite interest in tiki rum drinks with some amazing tiki bars opening up around the country." "Serious craft bars have embraced tiki and are bringing back the Daiquiri and Mai Tai, which had been bastardized," echoes Floor. "If you are drinking a classic rum cocktail like Daiquiri, using a premium brand adds complexity and fl avor, takes it to the next level." Geography Lessons One of the biggest challenges facing the rum category is education. Even though the in- dustry is largely centered around the Caribbean, the spirit can be and is made just about anywhere. Even within the tropical sphere, it's hard to discern the differences between Haitian rum and Barbados rum, Guatemalan and Nicaraguan rums. And Dictador, based in Cartagena, makes premium aged Colombian rum from cane syrup. Then there's the rhum agricole category. Even industry pros, while knowledgeable about their own products, are less conversant about other rum producing areas. Obviously, more education is needed. "Generally, most consumers do not have a broad knowledge of the differences between rums. Their choices tend to be driven more by brand familiarity than by production and provenance," Krishnan says. The launch of the "Bacardi Untameable Since 1862" cam- paign in late 2014 was the latest effort to communicate the brand's "larger-than-life her- itage in a way that truly resonates with like-minded irrepressible spirits." That campaign continues to evolve this year with new content. For its part, Niche Import has hired fi ve additional people to the marketing team, and engaged mixologist and author Warren Bobrow as Mezan brand ambassador. "The problem with rum is not every country plays by the same rules," explains Eason at Don Q. Various countries' aging requirements—or lack of them—can lead to consumer con- fusion. In some countries, you can have a very small amount of 23-year-old rum in a blend and market it as 23 years old. Some companies add sugar after the fi nal distillation process to artifi cially sweeten their rums," he adds. For its part in educating the public, the Don Q "Unquestionable" campaign will have more TV time and a bigger digital presence this year. Appleton Estate launched its "From Jamaica with Love" campaign a year ago, which focuses on the place and the people who make the rum, from the world's fi rst female master blender to the coopers who make the barrels. "It's about the terroir and the people who have dedicated their lives to producing this rum," Floor says. The VP believes that retailers should use a geographical approach in shelving their rum sections, and use more shelf talkers to educate customers. A picture is worth a thousand words. Universal Pictures will be releasing a movie about rum runner Bill McCoy, known for never adulterating his alcohol and leading to the phrase, "The Real McCoy." Pryor authored the screenplay for the fi lm, which is coming to theatres in 2017 starring Chris Pratt. Quality Sells Overall, producers are bullish on the future of top-quality rum. "We often hear how rum is poised to be the next big category, and hopefully that's true," says Cohen at Patrón Spirits. "The category is very dynamic, and there's truly so much to discover in this spirit." Predicts Floor at Campari, "I think premium aged rum is going to be the next big thing." For retailers, it's still all about hand-selling, says Vaughn at Liquor Mart. "If we guide customers through the rum selection, they tend to choose more of the barrel-aged and small-batch products." THOMAS HENRY STRENK is a Brooklyn-based freelance writer with over 20 years experience covering the beverage and restaurant industries. In his small apartment-turned-alchemist-den, he homebrews beer kombucha, and concocts his own bitters and infusions. Cuban Connection There may be more rum in the U.S. to talk about in the near future. As the United States and Cuba move towards normalizing relations for the fi rst time in 50 years (and possibly lifting the trade embargo), interested parties speculate on what that will mean for Cuban rum in the U.S. market. Pernod Ricard, which markets the Havana Club brand globally, has reportedly invested in its Cuban distillery and registered the Havanista brand in the U.S. Bacardi retains the Havana Club trademark in the U.S. "Bacardi is proud of its Cuban roots. We have the utmost respect and sympathy for the Cuban people with whom we share a common heritage," says Amy Federman, di- rector of Global Corporate Commu- nications at Bacardi-Martini, Inc. "Regarding the current Cuban front, it is too early and would be highly speculative to comment on the embargo, sales, return and/or any actions relating to Cuba," she adds. "We will need to wait and see what the impacts are. We hope for meaningful improvements in the lives of the Cuban people and will follow any changes with great interest. In the meantime, we continue to sup- port the restoration of fundamen- tal human rights in Cuba." RUM

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