Rum, spirits group seeks new ways to grow global sales

Rum, spirits group seeks new ways to grow global sales

Sunday, December 22, 2019

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Regional rum manufacturers are targeting premiumisation to grow their business and capitalise marketing opportunities globally.

The wines and spirits connoisseurs, representing distilleries from all across the Caribbean are currently gathered here for West Indies Rums and Spirits Association (WIRSPA) meetings to deliberate on the way forward and a ceremony held on Wednesday, December 18, to honour industry stalwarts, R Evon Brown and Lloyd Forbes. Both served WIRSPA in an executive capacity.

The industry giants were present, along with leading players in the rum business, at a reception and tasting of authentic Caribbean Rums at Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel recently, where Clement “Jimmy” Lawrence, Chairman of the Spirits Pool Association (SPA), also representing the Jamaica Rums and Spirit Producers Association (JRASTA), highlighted advantages that are opening on the international market through branding rums of premium quality.

“The concept of premiumisation really imputes improved value, it's a value proposition. We've a liquid and a brand that is recognised for that. So what you want to do is ensure that everything is aligned for premiumisation; perfect pricing, perfect appearance, making sure its presentation is perfect and communicated to the consumer,” explained Lawrence, chairman, J Wray & Nephew Limited, which has a wide range of premium Appleton Estate brands.

“The Caribbean Rum and Spirits Industry is in the midst of executing strategies to reinforce the premiumisation of rums, which for too long was perceived as standard, ill-defined and playful,” Lawrence continued. “Our window of opportunity is wide open and we must grasp it with urgency.”

This position received strong backing from WIRSPA chairman, Komal Samaroo.

“We have transitioned a lot of our production to the branded business, but in the international marketplace there is a growing segment for premium brands that require sophisticated packaging and ageing and quality. So it requires a lot more investment, but it also gives the industry a larger margin and a margin that could be used to further market the brand,” noted Samaroo.

The WIRSPA chair highlighted that while they hail from different territories, they are “bonded together by a common cause, a cause that will see the Caribbean rum industry be the leader in the premiumisation of rums across the world. That process has only just begun and I believe as we continue to work together, over the years to come we will continue to make a very significant contribution to the economies, to the countries of the Caribbean.”

Samaroo added: “By developing our brands globally, we will give shape, image and substance to this region as the region of quality, high value and the region that from humble beginnings, in the world we can be proud of.”

Both extended words of gratitude to Brown and Forbes, for their contributing 130 years to the regional rum and spirits industry.

Vaughn Renwick, WIRSPA's CEO, also paid honours to both stalwarts for championing the cause and helping to develop key strategies in moving Caribbean rums to the global marketplace.

Looking ahead to their meetings, Renwick urged unity, stating that “when we're deliberating about where we should go, we should look at where we're coming from.

“We are stronger together and we must see the congruence of our interests first before we see the difference in our interests.”

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