Australians have always loved their rum – it was even our official currency during convict days, so it’s hardly surprising that its popularity is booming in 2021.
According to Maylis Berger, the APAC Brand Manager for Maison Ferrand (Plantation Rum), Australians are also becoming more adventurous when it comes to exploring new drinks and are moving beyond the typical rum and cola serve.
“Over the last three years, the demand has been growing for craft and premium rums,” she said. “The category has increased by 16% since last year. Spiced rum is currently the third fastest-growing spirit category, and I’m hoping we can see a similar uptake in craft flavoured rums in the years to come.”
Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum is unique in the flavoured rum category, as it is made with fresh chunks of tropical pineapple – rather than syrup – macerated in the Plantation Original Dark rum, while pineapple rinds are infused in Plantation 3 Stars White Rum and then further distilled. Finally, both are blended together.
“It sets a new bar for a category that has been incredibly mediocre,” Rob Ficks from The Hawthorne in Boston, told Forbes. “This is what a flavoured rum should be. I scoffed when I first heard about it. Man, did I eat my words. I’ll drink it in a daiquiri, old-fashioned, or just in a cup.”
At-home mixology trend
COVID-19 has also brought an increased interest in at-home mixology, which skyrocketed during lockdowns and has been sustained ever since, which has given an added lift to rum sales.
“We have observed a considerable interest from consumers to online tastings and masterclasses during lockdowns,” Berger said. “We were active to engage with our followers by providing virtual tastings, cocktail making videos, or home mixology masterclasses, and offering Plantation Experience kits (with bottle samples) to stay connected with our consumers at home.
“The interest in online masterclasses and at-home mixology continues to grow: this trend of having your own bar at home has emerged, and with it, a new-found love of do-it-yourself cocktails at home. COVID has fast-tracked the obvious need to utilise online content to improve our own skills and how brands connect with people. So, I believe this is only the beginning of this at-home mixology trend.”
The prediction that rum will be the next big thing in spirits has been gathering momentum for several years now, with perceptions rapidly moving from it being a drink to simply be mixed with cola or ginger beer to a premium drink to be sipped.
“This interest from consumers for premium rums has helped Plantation rum to grow considerably,” Berger said. “We are now facing consumers who want to be more educated in this rum category; looking for a better knowledge towards the different rums, wishing to discover new styles, new terroirs of rum. Plantation offers to rum or spirit lovers not only a beautiful diversity of rum styles and terroirs: from the Caribbean to Fiji to Central America; but also a transparency of what they are drinking with clear information on the labels.”
Plantation celebrates 10 years in Australia
This year is the 10th anniversary of Plantation arriving in Australia and there are plans under way for a celebration to mark the milestone.
“We are planning this year to hold a team bartending competition for our beloved trade members of the hospitality industry,” Berger said. “Bartenders all over the country will compete as teams from their venues to create a masterpiece of digital and mixology creativity, flair and fun in pursuit of a team final event due to happen in a wanderlust location in Australia. The idea is to leave any ego at the door and allow bartenders to work together and have fun as a team!”
As for her own favourite cocktail, Berger loves making Plantation Stiggins Daiquiris, made with 60ml of Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum, 20ml simple syrup and 30ml of fresh lime juice.
“I often make Plantation Pineapple Daiquiris as welcome cocktails when I invite guests at home,” she revealed. “They are super easy and quick to make, you just need someone brave enough to squeeze the fresh limes!”
This month, Plantation Rum has also announced a new limited edition bundle to showcase its pineapple blend bottle in all-new recyclable packaging, containing complementary metal straws and pipe cleaner, designed to make at-home cocktail nights a little eco-friendlier.
The bottle’s new packaging includes a cocktail recommendation:
Stiggins’ Rum Punch
30ml Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum
30ml Fresh Orange Juice
30ml Fresh Pineapple Juice
30ml Dry Ginger Beer
Available for $69.99 RRP, the limited-edition bundle is available from Dan Murphy’s and BWS.
Drinks companies race to make rum acquisitions
As the rum revolution gathers pace, drinks companies are scrambling to get a piece of the action. This week, Pernod Ricard acquired a majority stake in Colombian brand La Hechicera for an undisclosed sum.
La Hechicera was launched in 2012 by the Riascos family, who have been producing rum for three generations. The brand name, which translates as ‘the enchantress’, encompasses a portfolio that includes blended rum La Hechicera Reserva Familiar, which is aged in ex-Bourbon barrels; La Hechicera Serie Experimental #1, finished in Muscat casks; and Serie Experimental #2, a rum infused with organic banana.
Miguel Riascos, co-founder and managing director of La Hechicera, said: “Due to its previous successful collaborations, Pernod Ricard has shown itself to be the partner of choice for La Hechicera. Pernod Ricard’s passion for terroir and its extensive distribution network will ensure that our brand remains true to its Colombian roots and the vision of its creators, while reaching new consumers.”
The rum brand is currently sold in Europe and the US as well as through the global travel retail sector. La Hechicera joins the group’s rum portfolio which includes Havana Club and flavoured rum liqueur brand Malibu.