Rum & Cocktail Week In Review – 7/3/15

Brugal_Shelf Scotch whisky group Edrington said Brugal, in which it owns a 61 per cent stake, had significant difficulties in its core markets of Spain and the Dominican Republic due to falling rum consumption and fierce competition. As a result, the group has revised down its growth forecasts for Brugal and taken a £239 million write-down on the brand.

Finance director Alex Short, who joined last year from Irn-Bru maker AG Barr, said the firm’s performance was “significantly” affected by the downturn at Brugal, although a 5 per cent fall in overall volumes was offset by higher prices per case. (Read more at:

Pernod Ricard’s Havana Club distillery in Cuba has rum ageing in stacked oak casks while 12,000 bottles per hour are boxed to be shipped around the world. The future of Havana club Rum outside is dependent on the future of Cuba’s socialist economy. Currently there is an intense corporate battle waging that is already effecting the Castro regime, the US Congress, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization.

For more that two decades, Pernod has been producing and distribute Havana Club around the world…except the US market. Meanwhile Bacardi has been producing their own Havana Club Rum, in Puerto Rico, to sell in the US exclusively.

With the United States and Cuba agreeing to mend diplomatic relations, the Havana Club struggle has been reignited with big money consequences. Since 1993, Pernod has raised their Havana Club sales 10 fold. Opening the Cuban export to the US market, the largest premium rum market in the world, would have a significant economic impact for the company.

With the changing situation, we hope to sell Havana Club rum into the US. – says Jérôme Cottin-Bizonne, chief executive of Pernod’s Havana Club

But Bermuda-based Bacardí maintains it maintains global rights from their pre-Cuban revolution along with all US rights. (Read more at:

Rum is resilient. For more than three centuries, the rum industry has seen its way through market forces, changing tastes, and the world of international politics.

Rum, long known as the drink of sailors or beach-goers, has been transformed into a drink of prestige. The multimillion-dollar industry stretches from the Americas to Asia. Rum is produced from a variety of methods. has an interesting history of the industry and its struggles.

It’s overcome war, revolution, and slavery. Event in today’s competitive environment, rum has needed resilience to remain compete in the spirits industry. For decades rum was dominated by tow brands, Bacardi’s light Puerto Rican rum and Captain Morgan’s Spiced rum. They were the standard.

Over the last few years, however, rum has seen the release of a number of luxury “sipping rums” that are growing the industry and raising the spirits profile. The goal is to attract scotch and whisky drinkers and lift global rum sales (Read more at:

Kahfua_FakeKahlua_2015KahluaLogo Brooklyn-based Happy Hearts Wine LLC agreed to the preliminary injunction after Pernod subsidiary The Absolut Company sought damages for alleged violations including infringement, dilution, unfair competition and trademark counterfeiting. Happy Hearts agreed not destroy any documents, records or products relating to Kahfua and that it would report to the New York district court within 30 days.

Absolut contends that Kahfua’s label “contains fonts, colours and a design that is similar to its Kahlua brand.” They also claim Happy Hearts failed to respond to numerous cease and desist letters. (Read more at:

The rum industry continues to introduce ultra-premium rums in an attempt to rival whiskey and other luxury spirits. Markets vary but rums priced at more than $50 a bottle are often regarded as ultra-premium. Currently Zacapa Rum stands a top the rising category.

One of the first brand to launch into the category still leads the pack in global sales even though it is not made from molasses and is not produced in the Caribbean.

We are the pioneers in ultra-premium rum. I don’t like to say ‘we are the best’, but I think we’ve set the pace in this category. – Lorena Vásquez, master blender of Guatemalan-based Zacapa

Years ago Guatemala banned molasses as a rum distillate believing the sugar byproduct was only fit for cattle food. Zacapa uses first-pressed sugar cane concentrated juice, known as “virgin honey”, grown exclusively on the company’s own plantations.

The proudly artisanal Zacapa built international prestige thanks to the deep pockets of Diageo, the world’s biggest drinks company. Diageo sealed a distribution and marketing deal with Zacapa in 2008 and since 2011 has held a controlling stake in the Guatemalan rum maker.

“We started investing in the brand [in 2008],” says Rudy Aldana, global marketing director for Zacapa. “Zacapa started to become more widely distributed and to break the rules of what rum was usually considered to be. In 2008, there wasn’t an [ultra-premium] category and it’s still very under-developed.”

According to the IWSR, the London-based authority on wine and spirits, Zacapa is the top ultra-premium rum in the world, with sales growing 122 per cent in volume terms over the past five years and 150 per cent in value over the same period.

Rum is forecast to be the third-fastest growing spirit in the premium-and-above segment globally in the 2013-19 period, behind tequila and gin or genever, the IWSR predicts. Overall, the ultra-premium rum category has seen sales volumes more than triple in the past five years, with annual sales volume rising more than 37 per cent. (Read more at: Financial Time)

McDowells-No_-1-Celebration-Company-Featured listed the Top 10 Best-Selling Rum Brands for 2014-2015

Bacardi has been knocked from its thrown as world’s largest rum brand after reporting declines in 2014. Bacardi’s declines allowed an Indian rum to seize the coveted Rum Brand Champion 2015 title.

Most of the Top 10 saw sales increases while Negrita rum – the 2014 Rum Brand Champion – fell completely off the list as it was not able to move beyond the 1 million case mark.

1. McDowell’s No.1 Celebration (India)
2. Bacardi (Puerto Rico)
3. Tanduay (Phillipines)
4. Captain Morgan (USVI)
5. Havana Club (Cuba)
6. Contessa (India)
7. Barcelo (Dominican Republic)
8. Old Port Rum (India)
9. Montilla (Brazil)
10. Appleton Estate (Jamaica)

El Presidente

Chilled Magazine reminds us of four “old school” cocktails that are worth remembering:

1. The Jack Rose Cocktail (Applejack, Lemon Juice, Grenadine)
2. Japanese Cocktail (Cognac-Style Brandy, Orgeat, Angostura bitters)
3. Scoff-Law (Rye Whiskey, Dry Vermouth, Lemon Juice, Grenadine)
4. El Presidente (White Rum, Dry Vermouth, Orange Liqueur, Grenadine)

Sparkle and Shine Punch (Photo courtesy of shares some “Essential Cocktails For July Entertaining

– Guava Rose (cachaça, guava puree, rose syrup and lime juice)
– Martha Washington Punch (aged rum, fresh citrus juices, orange liqueur, and heady spices)
– Por Me Amante (Strawberry-infused rum, Strawberry Demerara syrup, Tabasco, and lemon juice)
– Grand Tea (iced tea, lemonade, and Grand Marnier)
– Montford Spritz (gin, Cynar, Aperol, Lillet Blanc, Peychaud’s bitters, and Champagne)
– Sparkle And Shine Punch (grenadine, coconut milk and blueberry juice ice cubes, moonshine, lemonade, and Champagne)

Pennsylvania’s Legislature approved a bill to sell all state rum liquor stores privitizing the industry. Twice before the House has approved a “liquor divestiture bill” with the bill failing in the Senate. The Republican-backed bill phases out all state stores and leases the state wholesale system to private companies. The passed bill will also allow for direct shipment of wine from other states.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has not announced weather he will veto the bill or not. He opposed privatization under a previous House-passed bill. (Read more at:

RockAct81rCreative Whisky Company announced the production of ROCKACT81R an Moqwai single-cask Demerara Rum. “A 12 year old single cask Demerara rum from the Diamond Distillery in Guyana, the 50% alc. rum is bottled by the Creative Whisky Co. This release is limited to 330 bottles in total. Purchases are limited to 2 bottles per customer. Shipping is limited to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.” (Go to:

Don Q Distillery (Photo courtesy of

Discover rum’s pleasures and complexities by enjoying a new variety of distillations that shine when sipped neat, as you would Cognac or fine whiskey.

Chilled Magazine shined a spotlight on “Sipping Rums”. Finely produced and aged rums can be enjoyed “at any time of year. In the heat of summer, rum feels tropical. In the chill of winter, it feels exotic.” When encountering a fine rum, terroir has an impact as it extracts the essence of sugarcane. The Ultra-Premium rum category is expanding with major releases from Foursquare Distillery, Zacapa, Diplomatico, DonQ, and Bacardi’s Facundo collection (to name a few).

Photo courtesy of Monkey Rum
Photo courtesy of Monkey Rum
TV drinking personality Zane Lamprey is promoting his Monkey Rum in various parts of the country. His two expressions, Spiced & Toasted Coconut, were originally launched in New York in 2014 but recently expanded into New Jersey, California, and Florida. In addition to the high-quality flavored rum, Monkey Rum sports a unique barrel-shaped bottle to reinforce that the rum is barrel aged. The bottle also serves a dual purpose in that its designed to . The bottle can be cut into either a rocks glass, a pint glass, or daiquiri goblet. (Read more at:

Zacapa XO (Photo courtesy of lists The 7 Sipping Rums That Will Take Your Summer Experience To Another Level:

Angostura 1824
Ron Abuelo Centuria
Zacapa XO (Picked Best Overall)
Myers’s Original Dark
Santa Teresa 1796
Dos Maderas 3+5 (Best On A Budget)
Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva

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