Think Rum awards honour leading lights in the burgeoning category
Gerry’s Wines and Spirits, Waitrose and Sly Augustin were among the big winners at the second annual Think Rum Awards this week.
Augustin’s west London watering hole Trailer Happiness was named Bar of the Year and he also walked off with the Rum Champion of the Year gong.
“I am a once consumer and long-term fan of rum,” said Augustin. “Coming from a St Lucian and Jamaican heritage, rum is just in the DNA. I was lucky enough to be in a position to control of Trailer Happiness just over five years ago and maintain what we consider to be a familiar home for rum experts and also a safe space for the ignorant.
“I love meeting people who know nothing about rum, who are ignorant about rum, who have only ever drunk Captain Morgan or Bacardi. For me, it’s exciting, because it’s such a new world.
“It’s like when you meet somebody and they have never seen Game of Thrones. One part of me is like, how is this possible, and the other part is like, you are so lucky, you are going to be in for a real treat.
“The rum category at the moment is amazing. It’s as strong as it has been and it’s a great time to get ahead of the game.”
Drake & Morgan won Multiple On-Trade Operator of the Year, while the gong for the best independent retailer went to the famous Soho store Gerry’s.
Waitrose was voted Multiple Retailer of the Year by our judging academy, and spirits buyer John Vine said: “Last year we grew rum as a category by 13%, compared to the market that has grown at 2%, so we have done a good job in the last year.
“Most of that has come through the growth of spiced rum, golden rum and dark rum. We have seen value decline in white rum, where big brands are deteriorating.
“White rum is circa 40% of our sales so there is an opportunity to return this sub-category to growth and build the overall category.
“But spiced rum is going great guns and because of our older demographic we are seeing growth in dark rum as well.”