The flavoured and spiced rum sector will overtake white rum as the most popular type of rum bought in the off-trade by the end of 2019, according to the WSTA’s latest Market Report. 

Total UK spirit sales last year were worth £11 billion and the standout performers within this were rum and gin, according to the report.

The UK’s total rum market is now worth just over £1 billion with almost 35 million bottles sold in 2018.

White rum is still the most popular rum in the off-trade but sales of flavoured and spiced rums are growing fast, with almost 10 million bottles sold in the last 12 months, which is around half a million bottles less than white rum.

Meanwhile, in the on-trade, golden rum is the most popular choice.

The growth of this sector has been bolstered by an increasing amount of new brands on the market and a growing interest in premium craft spirits in the UK. 

In 2006 there were 50 rum brands in the UK but this number is now close to 200.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: “It’s been another great year for rum sales in the UK. British drinkers have more choice than ever before when it comes to rum. Craft spirits are ‘of the moment’, and an increasing number of artisanal spirits producers are crafting their own interpretations of the spirit- often alongside their gin range.

“The decision by the Chancellor last Autumn to freeze spirit duty was the right one, and further supportive action is vital in 2019 to ensure that the craft spirits boom can continue, and British drinkers can continue to enjoy experimenting with their drinks choices.”

Dan Buckland, co-founder, Drum & Black Rum Co, added: “Consumers are becoming more adventurous with their beverage choices, and the more exploration they do, the more knowledgeable they become. They’re seeking brands that define them as individuals, and the craft rum movement in the UK is showing more people that rum has the potential as the drink of choice.

“Until now, spiced rums have been associated with lower quality mixing spirits. However, if crafted as a premium sipping rum with an innovative flavour profile, spiced rum can become an accessible alternative for spirit drinkers with more refined tastes as well as a new, exciting luxury drink for those exploring the rum world.

“Whilst Drum & Black and a small number of British rums are actually distilled on home soil, we will see that most new brands rely on bulk imports. I am looking forward to seeing more distilleries open here in the UK. As with the gin movement, this is when we will start to see real creativity in the craft of new British brands.”