Rum sales are surging in Australia, with spiced and flavoured styles predicted to be the next big thing in spirits. So it’s hardly surprising that Rockstar Spirits, an award-winning independent rum brand based in Manchester, UK, is releasing its award-winning range Down Under.
The brand has secured a distribution deal with Endeavour Group that will see four Rockstar Spirits brands – Captn Webb Two Swallows series, with Citrus & Salted Caramel, Cherry & Salted Caramel and Orange & Ginger, and Banana Bomb, a 57% Navy Strength rum – sold in 226 Dan Murphy’s stores across the country.
The brand, was recently awarded triple gold at the Rum & Cachaça Masters 2021 for its Captn Webb’s Two Swallows Citrus & Salted Caramel, Pineapple Grenade and Banana Bomb rum, and saw a sales increase of 550% in 2020.
Talks with Dan Murphy’s started in July 2020, when a buyer from the Endeavour Group contacted founder Tom Hurst after seeing the Captn Webb Two Swallows series online.
Rockstar’s Two Swallows range uses rum from Diamond Distillery in Guyana as its starting point, while Banana Bomb is made with fair trade rum sourced from a distillery in Panama that is carbon neutral and run entirely on renewable biomass energy.
Drinks Digest spoke to Hurst to get the lowdown on the Australian launch and discover why he said goodbye to a 20-year corporate career in the drinks industry to realise his dream of launching his own rum brand in 2018.
Hurst says he spent many years in the drinks industry – working for companies including William Grant & Sons and Heineken – before deciding to pursue his dream to create the “perfect rum to drink with Coke and ginger offerings”.
“I am over the moon to be entering the Australian market,” he said. “My number one business target for 2021 was to complete our first major export deal and so I’m delighted that it is with the mighty Woolworths Group. I can not wait until we are able to travel again so I can see the product on shelf in Dan Murphy’s stores for myself.”
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. Over the last three years, the demand has been growing for craft and premium rums, with the category increasing by 16% since last year. Spiced rum is currently the third fastest-growing spirit category in Australia and there are signs craft flavoured rums are on a similar trajectory.
“I know Australia has a long history in terms of its love affair with rum and hopefully Rockstar can add to this,” Hurst said.
“We use only the finest spirit and super premium ingredients to deliver rums that taste great on their own but also combine easily with all your favourite mixers.”
Hurst said he believes the versatility and unique flavours of the rums – together with their creative labelling – will held them stand out on shelf in Australia.
“At Rockstar we infuse a huge amount of flavours into our rums, which make it really easy to make great tasting drinks at home just by pairing with your favourite mixers,” he explained.
“We also add a wide ranging amount of subtle background notes that make them super versatile in cocktail recipes which allows mixologists to take them to the next level in bars. All our rums have to pass the following tests before they they get released. They have to taste great on their own, they all have to mix perfectly with Coke, lemonade and ginger beer and to work perfectly in a classic daiquiri.”
Banana Bomb, for example, is aged for two years in oak ex bourbon casks and distilled to Navy Strength 57% ABV. It is then infused with natural banana, spices and salted caramel that works well with mixers or makes what Hurst describes as “a killer Banana Daiquiri”.
Initial Rockstar stock is currently being shipped to Australia to be in stores early May. According to Hurst, the value of the first orders secured at Dan Murphy’s will deliver $220,000 worth of rum through the tills initially, with a goal of $500,000 in the first year.
Categories: New releases