Business

Rum-Bar eyes rum cream, exports this year

Company aims to double sales in 2011, capture 25% of market by 2013

Steven Jackson Business writer jacksons@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2011    

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Worthy Park Estate, owners of Rum-Bar rum, plans to launch its own rum cream and export branded product to Europe this year.

The company is also set to more than double its sales in 2011 as the brand targets 25 per cent of the local market by 2013, according to distillery manager Gordon Clarke.

"Rum-Bar continues to grow at projected levels. We tripled sales last year and expect to grow 2.5 times this year," Clarke told the Observer in a Monday interview.

The brand plans to increase its marketing spend by 20 per cent this year in an effort to meet sales targets. Rum-Bar is mum on revenues but Clarke said that the brand needed to double its bottling plant to 15,000 square feet in order to maintain demand.

"We spent $36 million on the expansion of the bottling plant. We had to increase the size in order to keep up with the demand," stated Clarke about the company which invested US$5 million initially.

Rum-Bar operations currently employs 50 including 15 in the distillery, 15 in bottling and 20 in marketing and sales.

Jamaica consumes some 650,000 cases of nine litre white overproof rum and 250,000 cases of red rum annually, Clarke previously told the Observer. The local market is dominated by Wray & Nephew rum but competition intensified since the entry of Rum-Bar in 2007. Subsequently popular entertainer Vybz Kartel launched his own rum Street Vybz and this month Red Stripe launched its own rum -- Rum Fire -- which aims to take 20 per cent of the market in the medium term. In fact, Red Stripe was the original distributor of Rum-Bar but both quickly parted ways.

Rum-Bar continues to search for a UK distributor but will ship a container load of rum to Italy next month. The company additionally launched its aged Worthy Gold Premium Jamaica Rum six months ago. In 2009 Clarke revealed that he had over 4,700 barrels of rum aged rum which would be used for that purpose.

"We have broken into the US market and exported over 5,000 cases last year. We are also looking to other markets including Italy where we will export next month. We are also looking at India, UK and Canada," he said.

Rum-Bar's 65 per cent alcohol content is some two percentage points higher than main rivals. It recently won the masters medal (above gold) in Spirits Business Magazine's 'Rum Masters' tasting competition in the overproof category said Clarke, whilst its aged rum won the silver medal. The London based magazine ran the competition using some 55 rums brands from around the world.

Worthy Park produces on average 24,000 tonnes of sugar and 7,000 tonnes of molasses on several thousand acres of cane lands. The estate claims to be the island's most efficient producer of sugar cane at around 83 tonnes per hectare resulting in a 10 tonne per hectare sugar yield.

The distillery was constructed in 2005 with a daily production capacity of 7,000 litres at the time.

Worthy Park founded in 1670 has been producing rum intermittently since 1740s. It ceased production in the 50s under an agreement with the Spirits Pool Association of Jamaica to curtail production. The company relaunched its branded rum in 2007 in order to diversify its revenue stream hurt by the falling European Union sugar prices.

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