Well wouldn’t that be lovely…rum has got a long way to go but here’s why we think it could be.
Rum is old, it’s not a new invention, it’s been around for years and it’s not going anywhere. Phew!
But actually, it is going somewhere…it’s going places and this is why.
So first things first…a bit of history. It’s commonly believed that rum began life during the 17th century. However, there’s evidence to suggest that “wine sugar” was also believed to be rum and recipes including wine sugar date back to the 13th century meaning the rum business is officially very OLD.
Rum has a colourful and intriguing history. By the 1700’s the vast majority of the world’s rum production took place in the Caribbean and South Africa…today it is produced all over the world. The process of making rum involves boiling sugar cane and then fermenting and distilling this juice in wooden casks. The wood from these casks gives the rum its colour, in the same way whisky gets its colour…only it’s a bit quicker with rum. You need a lot of patience to start making whisky…so we’re a bit late to the party on that one and quite frankly we haven’t got any patience. Thankfully rum is a bit quicker to distil.
The ageing process of Caribbean rum takes about half the time than rum that’s aged in cooler climates.
Spiced rum is a fledgling in comparison to rum, so there’s loads more scope for it to grow which is great because the demand for it is very high today. It’s a category that’s on the rise and there’s more variety available today than there was two years ago. When we first started talking about starting a spiced rum brand we were shocked at how few spiced rums were readily available. Many we did try were unpalatable and required a mixer to cover up the taste of the rum, which quite frankly is silly, and what’s the point. If you love to drink a spiced rum you want to taste the beautiful flavours and spice infusions…not whack a load of Coke in a glass to take away the taste and the throat burn.
So back to the main event, think of spiced rum like a scotch, different types of rum are blended together to create the base of the spiced rum. Traditionally spiced rum was infused with vanilla and lime, with hints of other spices mixed in. But since the 1980s spiced rum has progressed (slowly) into a much more exciting category with the types and volumes of spices being played around with significantly. When we first started looking at spiced rums two and half years ago the variety just wasn’t there, but now it is on the up! Dammit, we should have got our act together sooner. But I’m sure you’ve heard that the cream rises to the top…just saying.
Is spiced rum the new gin? Yes from our very biased perspective it is. But with our reasonable, measured, and sensible hats on we’ll go with, it could be. It’s certainly an opportunity to give people who love a G&T a bit more choice. Over the last ten years or so we’ve seen the rise of gin drinkers, gin distilleries and flavoured gins, gins made in people’s homes/sheds, local gins, coloured gins, gins with sparkles in them, gin with Collagen in them. Gins that can fly (just kidding). Wow, gin really went to town with being gin! We’re not seeing any signs of this decreasing either because we are still witnessing launch after launch of gin brands and distilleries on social media. But we suspect this is the way rum and spiced rum will go too. In 2006, there were around 50 Rum distilleries in the UK, now there are over 200. There’s spiced rum infused with coffee, flavoured spiced rums, such as coconut, passion fruit, elderflower, and mango. There are now many artisan craft rum brands, premium and ultra-premium brands readily available to buy. Where does Rockfall sit? Hmmm, we would say we are an artisan Premium-priced rum with an Ultra-Premium taste, look and feel.
Well, we bloody well hope so because otherwise starting up a spiced rum brand is a bit daft if we don’t believe this to be the case. From our perspective, yes people will be drinking more rum in the future. Rum is a diverse spirit, and each type (spiced, white, light, dark) has a whole spectrum of different opportunities that are continuing to grow. This diversity is what makes rum so exciting…where can it go? Well, we say where can’t it go?
The trends are showing that year on year, spiced rum is the quickest growing spirit being sold globally. There was significant growth in 2020 which the WSTA (the Wine and Spirits Trade Association) said was due to consumers drinking more cocktails and exploring new flavours as the on-trade was forced to close during the Coronavirus lockdown.” So…will we see this growth continue when the on-trade venues re-open in the coming months? We hope so, there’s always about 1,000 (we exaggerate but it feels like it) gin options available in the pubs, hotel bars and restaurants etc so it would be great to look at a menu in a restaurant or sit in a bar and see more rum and particularly spiced rum options available. We do think the tide is turning though which is super exciting for Rockfall…so watch this space.