Think Rum rewards leading retailers in dynamic spirits category

17 January, 2017

The UK’s leading retailers, bar operators and communicators were rewarded for their hard work in making rum one of the BWS trade’s most dynamic categories at OLN’s inaugural Think Rum event yesterday.

Rum sales are up 12% in the on-trade and 3% in the off-trade (Nielsen and CGA) and we want to maintain and even accelerate this growth.

We devoted an entire day to promoting all things rum, bringing together leading multiple retailers, bar owners and executives from large bar chains, suppliers, producers, bloggers, journalists and other industry insiders at The Folly in London.

After a day of debates, masterclasses and tasting sessions, which will be covered more thoroughly on OLN at a later date, we handed out five awards.

They were the result of a thorough, rigorous and independently audited process in which we recruited a broad panel of industry experts and asked them to vote for the best in the business in a closed voting process.

It has been an exciting year for rum in the grocery trade, with strong sales growth, and retailers are doing more than ever to seize a share of this lucrative market. Sainsbury picked up the award for best rum retailer with multiple sites, and spirits buyer Louise Loveder was on hand to collect the award.

Independents are tapping into the wonderful array of craft spirits being produced around the world and imported into the UK, offering more adventurous, exciting and exclusive ranges than ever. They are really getting behind the category with passionate sales techniques, and we have some very strong

London institution Gerry’s of Soho won the award for best independent, much to the delight of store manager Allen Daly.

Rum is often the most frequent pour in bars and pubs and our shortlisted multiple operators are really making the most of its popularity while driving innovation, experimentation and value. Best rum bar with multiple sites went to Mitchells & Butlers, and spirits category manager Jeremy Manterfield accepted the gong.

Rum has had a fantastic year in the on-trade, where sales are growing fastest, and there are great opportunities for operators that offer strong ranges, high standards of customer service and well-made cocktails. Our finalists all showed that if you get it right, you can do brilliantly in this burgeoning market and the best independent rum bar award went to Merchant House.

Finally, Rum Communicator of the Year went to Ian Burrell, global ambassador to the rum category, for his vital work in educating consumers and trade alike and helping to keep the spotlight on rum firmly in place by sharing his knowledge, passion and advice.

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