India becomes Bacardi’s second- largest rum market by volume

Source:, Aug 19, 2019

MUMBAI: India has outpaced Mexico to become Bacardi’s second largest market for rum by volume, as consumers gradually shift to pricier products across the spirits segments in a largely whiskey-dominated market.

Bacardi sold about 1.7 million cases of its eponymous brand in India, compared with 1.4 million in Mexico in 2018. A year earlier, both countries had similar volume sales at 1.4 million cases, according to the International Wine and Spirits Research (IWSR). The US remained the largest market for the Bermuda-based company with rum sales of 6.4 million cases.

“We see lot of consumers upgrade to higher-priced rum and other spirits which helped us grow about 19% last year since most of our brands are into premium segments. India is also a top priority market for us globally, and we have been investing in bringing newer brands and supporting infrastructure last year,” said Sanjit Randhawa, the managing director at Bacardi India. “The market also bounced back after highway ban and regulatory issues a year ago.”

With sales of Rs3,215 crore, or 6.1 million cases, the maker of Bombay Sapphire gin, Grey Goose and Dewar’s Scotch, is the third largest international spirits company in India, after Diageo and Pernod Ricard.

The volume has nearly doubled over the past three years, after it launched a slew of products, especially in non-rum segments such as William Lawson’s Scotch, Dewar’s 15- and 18-year-old, Star of Bombay gin and sparkling wine brand Martini Prosecco.

Whiskey accounts for nearly 70% of India’s overall spirits market of 343 million cases in volume.

Bacardi doesn’t want to restrict its rum portfolio and is planning to launch higher priced versions — it has recently launched Reserva Ocho, an eight years aged rum in India and has plans to introduce four years and 10 years aged rum.

“Rum as a category is gradually shifting to aged products globally, similar to whiskey or the scotch segment where consumers like their drinks on the basis of maturation age. The trend will not be different in India which is premiumising rapidly,” added Randhawa.

Rum sales in India have historically been driven by the Canteen Stores Department or army canteens and consumers in southern and eastern India, mostly dominated by mass brands. Also, for older consumers, the category is seeing a slow ebb to whisky.

“The category is likely to premiumise given consumer sentiment and the increasing interest among local producers to launch premium products,” said the latest IWSR report.

Bacardi’s rum portfolio grew 22%. In comparison, Diageo, which owns McDowells No1 Celebration and Captain Morgan rum, saw a 3% decline in 2018 in the segment at a much higher base. Mohan Meakin’s Old Monk grew 7%, while sales of Khoday expanded 5%, said the report.

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