Rum sales rose 7% year on year in 2019, contributing to a 6.2% rise in sales across the spirits category, new research from CGA has found.

According to CGA’s Brand Track survey, just over five million consumers now drink rum out-of-home (up 10% year on year), driven by popularity in rum based cocktails and mixers.

Outpacing other popular spirits – brandy sales were up 3.1%, whisky up 0.9% and vodka down 0.4% - the research predicts that rum could follow gin’s upward trajectory, which has seen on-trade sales more than triple in the last five years.

On average, rum drinkers have around 4.6 brands in their repertoire, 1.7 of which are considered premium.

With the spirit starting to penetrate mainstream consumer groups as well as early adopters, the research found that price influences two in five (40%) rum drinkers, closely followed by the availability of a favourite brand (34%) and visibility on the bar (29%).

“These figures show how rum is an increasingly popular choice for consumers on spirit and cocktail menus,” said Phillip Montgomery, client director at CGA. “Sales have got a long way to go to match the stellar performance of gin, but its variety and versatility makes rum a major growth opportunity for operators and suppliers in 2020 and beyond.”

“Compared to some categories, rum consumers are fairly limited in the number of brands they use and the ways they drink it. If operators and suppliers can educate and inspire people about the potential of rum, we could well see more and more people trading up and experimenting.”