U.K. Rum Market

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SWOT: U.K. Rum Market

The UK rum market has seen very strong growth in recent years, reaching £1 billion in 2017. However, there are signs that this growth may be flattening and could even decline as the spirit market shifts towards gin, which could leave the nearly 200 brands sold in the UK (up from just 50 in 2006) vulnerable during a period of contraction and consolidation.





  • WSTA predicts "that by the end of 2019, flavoured and spiced rums will knock white rum off top-spot as the most popular type of rum for shoppers picking up their tipple in shops, supermarkets and off-licenses."
  • Also, tastes are changing to golden and dark rum, with golden rum sales increasing 7% to £374 million (in contrast to the flat growth of the industry noted above), indicating rapidly-changing tastes in consumers.
  • Rum's 2018 market growth (+4.1%) was entirely overshadowed by a surge in gin's popularity (+52.2%).
  • With the UK's withdrawal from the European Union (aka Brexit), there are concerns that regulatory changes in both entities could have a detrimental effect on the UK's spirits market.


We began our research by seeking market reports for rum and/or liquor either focused on the UK or in which the UK is prominently mentioned. While these are most often proprietary and expensive to obtain, there are usually sufficient details in the public abstracts to guide our research further. This also has the benefit of allowing us to locate publicly published articles which comment on the contents of the report and provide additional details. In this case, due to the surge of popularity of rum in the UK, locating good and authoritative sources was not an issue. Indeed, most of our research time involved sorting through and collating the immense amount of information available.

We should note that the picture that we believe emerges from the data is somewhat bleaker than the exuberant market predicted by some experts, most notably those getting their information from the WSTA, though it is perfectly consistent with the predictions of Obis Research on the global rum market and the slowdown seen in the UK rum market in 2018 (see above). We hypothesize that the WSTA is spinning the data optimistically to avoid talking down the market and harming its members. Nevertheless, we have included the WSTA's observations about shifts in the tastes of the UK's drinking population, as there is very little public data on this subject that could not ultimately be traced back to the WSTA and we see no reason why their optimism would affect their observations in this regard.
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Bacardi: U.K. Brand Awareness

Bacardi is known by 95% of the UK population and is favored by women and Millennials. The brand is the 4th most popular alcohol brand among British people and the 2nd most consumed brand among rum drinkers. Also, approximately 718,000 people drank it in the UK in 2018.


  • Bacardi is the 4th most popular alcohol brand and the 4th most famous in the UK, based on a YouGov Ratings research which interviewed almost 9,000 people.
  • 95% of British people have already heard of Bacardi, according to the same research.
  • According to the Britain's Biggest Alcohol Brands 2018 report, Bacardi is now the second most drank rum brand in the UK.
  • The brand is liked by 44% of people in Britain.

Other relevant information about Bacardi consumers:

  • 35% of British people are neutral about Bacardi, and, only 16% of people have negative opinions regarding the alcohol brand.
  • A Statista research affirmed that 718,000 people drank Bacardi in the UK in 2018.
  • Bacardi is slightly more liked among women (45%) compared to men (43).
  • The generation that prefers Bacardi the most is the Millennials (47%).
  • Generation X is the second, with 45% of them having a positive opinion on Bacardi, and the third is Baby Boomers with 43%.
  • According to a Bevspot article, 6% of spirit drinkers prefer rum, and approximately 17% of rum orders are for Bacardi.
  • 537,000 people consumed Bacardi Breezer in the UK in 2018.

The overall U.K. rum scenario: