Bacardi looks to shake off rum’s ‘pirates and punch’ image with premium launch

Bacardi is making a major move into the premium rum market at it looks to replicate the success of other alcohol sectors including gin and vodka.

Bacardi is launching a premium rum in a push to dominate the premium rum market and replicate the success of gin and vodka.

Anejo Cuatro gold rum, which launches today 4 April, has been aged for four years and marks Bacardi’s attempt to dominate the premium rum sector.

Rum is the last spirit to “premiumise” according to Bacardi with premium rum only representing 15% of the total rum sector.

“This launch is the most disruptive product in the category for a generation”, Sarah Doyle, vice president of marketing for Bacardi Europe, says.

Doyle says rum has been slow to the trend due to its “misunderstood” image. “Its plagued by pirates and punch when it fact it has one of the most diverse flavoured profiles of all the spirits,” she explains.

“We’re really trying to educate people on why rum is having this great moment. It’s really this notion of accessible premium where before you had either very low or very high-quality rum, which is just for sipping. What Cuatro gives you is an interest in trying premium but without being intimidating so you can really elevate your cocktail experience.”

Bacardi will launch a new marketing campaign for Anejo Cuatro later this month, but in the meantime it’s focusing on the on-trade. Doyle explains: “Our philosophy is we build brands in the bar not in the boardroom. What you’ll see is we’re doing a lot of work with our bartenders because we want to bring the brand to the bar.”

Anejo Cuatro will also be available at a RRP of £25.

The current ‘drink less but better’ trend has contributed to Bacardi’s commitment to premiumising its categories.

Doyle has been in her role just 10 months but has already seen a clear push for more sophisticated storytelling around the products. She explains: “I’ve seen a big focus on what we do with premium and what we tell the consumer about premium. It’s really from a lifestyle perspective – taking a product and being in the lifestyle in the consumer.”

To capitalise on this Bacardi will be sponsoring festivals and partnering with artists throughout the year. Doyle says: “Rum is a spirit that really makes you want to get up and dance. It’s in your blood it makes you want to move, the same as music, so the two really go hand in hand.”

With Cambridge Analytica and Unilever’s Keith Weed’s speech the industry is concerned about digital Doyle says Bacardi aren’t worried. She explains: “I see digital as an opportunity because we see people communicating so differently now. People can’t put their phones down so when it comes to how to communicate with the consumer, it’s doing it in fun ways that make us stand out. It’s really about embedding ourselves in the day-to-day life of people in a way that seems authentic.”

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