Tanduay rum builds its presence in the Australian market

The world’s biggest-selling rum brand, Tanduay, has revealed its growth plans for the Australian market.

The Filipino distillery has partnered with Jonathan Paige International (JPI) to bring its internationally acclaimed rums to Australia and has already seen strong interest from retailers and consumers.

“It was quite the compliment to be approached to represent this global icon,” said JPI Managing Director Sean Ekanayake.

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce Tanduay’s incredible rum range to Australian consumers. It was simply a formality for us to take on this challenge and bring new excitement to the rum category in Australia.”

Rum sales are booming globally. Growth is being fuelled by the continued spread of cocktail culture, but also by a change of image for rum, which is increasingly being taken seriously as a high-quality spirit to rank alongside Cognac and single malt Scotch whisky.

According to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, the global spirits category grew +5% in volume in 2021-2022, with rum growing 9% ahead of whisky at +8%.

Australians can’t get enough of the spirit, with the local rum market currently worth over $600 million.

The Tanduay story

With more than 160 years of history and a dedication to craftsmanship at its heart, Tanduay is well placed to capitalise on the premium rum opportunity in Australia.

“The well-travelled Aussie consumer would be well aware of Tanduay’s presence in Asia and its dominance within the rum category,” Ekanayake said.

“Tanduay’s production and maturation process is second to none, and for Australia, with its large rum consumer appetite, it just makes perfect sense to expand here.”

Tanduay sources its sugarcanes from Negros Occidental, which has a long tradition of sugarcane farming and is one of the Philippines’ sugar capitals.

The sugarcanes are refined in Tanduay’s sugar mill to produce molasses, which is the key ingredient to the company’s fine-tasting rums.

Tanduay uses only first-syrup A-grade molasses, which is extracted from the initial boil of the sugarcanes. The liquid is then stored in Kentucky bourbon oak barrels for ageing.

The end result is the world’s biggest-selling rum brand, with huge growth recorded each year. Tanduay reported a double-digit increase in 2022, soaring by 16.1% to 27.4million cases.

The brand was a smash hit when it was introduced to Australian rum lovers at the I Hart Rum tasting event in March 2023 at Whitehart Bar in Melbourne.

“Consumers loved the liquid and it was well regarded by all who experienced it,” Ekanayake said.

“This was predominantly a spirit tasting competition and attendees were thrilled with the news that there would be a new player within the category in Australia.”

How Tanduay is working with venues

Melbourne will also host the brand’s official launch party at Bar Bambi on November 16. The event will be an opportunity to introduce the brand to JPI customers and consumers, with executives from Tanduay flying from the Philippines to take part in the celebrations.

“There will be a lot of fun and excitement, we are working through some exciting ideas and look forward to having evening. Watch this space,” Ekanayake said.

But it’s definitely not all about Melbourne for Tanduay, with JPI keen to share the brand with venues nationally.

“Consumers and venues in the know have seen this as a very important addition to the rum category, we will continue to drive interest through the on trade venues nationally, highlighting the significance of an Asian-inspired rum in the mix,” Ekanayake said.

“We are working with on-trade venues to help provide unique drinking experiences to their customers through both rum cocktails and sipping spirits.”

Creating cut-through in retail

Tanduay is now available across Australia via both major and independent liquor groups. Among the banners and groups stocking Tanduay are Liquorland, Costco, ALM, ILG, Thirsty Camel, IGA, Bottlemart, Ritchies and Bayden Powell Cellars.

The brand was also featured at the ILG Trade Expo in Brisbane from 17-19 October, where it received huge interest from independent retailers who were excited about Tanduay challenging the status quo.

Ekanayake (above) said educating consumers will also be key to the brand’s growth in Australia.

“Clearly we need to let our consumers know there is a new offering within the rum segment and we will execute many over and above activities including trade and consumer incentives,” he said.

“We will aim to remain top of mind through billboards and in-store displays, while collaborations will also be top of mind – we are in discussions with premium mixer brands to partner up on new initiatives in the new year. Stay tuned!”

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