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Appleton rum programme continues apace

J Wray & Nephew UK are leading the winter programme for its Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum range with a combination of new initiatives - led by its progressive Appleton Estate Academy concept which established the sector’s tutoring system over four years ago.

“The Appleton Estate Academy created a formula that has become the standard for the UK industry,” observes Barnaby Rodgers, brand manager for rums at JW&NUK. “What we have done now is to take the lead again, with an exciting programme to educate sommeliers and hotels so that they understand the whole premium rum category and how the Appleton Estate Jamaica aged expressions fit within it. Treating our more aged expressions as fine sipping rums may be a foreign concept to many, but there are signs that people genuinely see this as an interesting alternative to whisky and cognac as an after-dinner serve.”

The Appleton Estate Bartender’s Challenge
Another aspect of the Appleton Estate programme this year is The Appleton Estate Bartender’s Challenge which will seek 12 ‘Masters’ from regional heats in Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester, Bristol and London. Following these heats, a two-day final will leave three Grand Finalists that will compete at an event at which the consumers will then made the decision – rather than trade peers – of the winner, who will then travel to Jamaica to represent the UK against the best in the World drawn from other markets.

“This contest operates in a unique manner where consumers make the ultimate decision,” reports Rodgers. 

With so many competitions around, they can be quite insular so we thought we would show consumers just how skilful, knowledgeable and professional the modern day bartender has to be.”

Rumroyalty website
Another major part of the programme is the launch of a new website which is specifically for the trade. In the past, Appleton Estate has led the way in mixology and innovation in the Golden Rum category.  “Now that the category is increasingly crowded,” explains Rodgers, “we chose to take the lead again and create a community for bartenders to communicate their craft online.  As well as carrying all the information on the Appleton Estate Bartender’s Challenge there will be in-depth product news and information that will only be available to the trade.”

Importantly, this virtual concept will be evident in meetings of the new Appleton Estate Bartender’s Panel. This will comprise of meetings of groups of bartenders across the country. Open to bartenders, mixologists and other leaders in the field to interact while at the same time learning of new initiatives created and introduced by the company. 

The family of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums recently benefited from the addition of Appleton Estate Reserve 8 Year Old, that has provided a transition between the revered Appleton Estate V/X and the super-premium Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old. This 8 Year Old expression offers the depth of tropical ageing for intense and flavoursome cocktails as well as  a blend that delivers on its own or over ice.

The work by J Wray & Nephew UK is also to continue with such activities as RumFest participation, and other local events. Although the consumer is becoming more of a focus than in previous years, there will be more trade activity than ever in the year ahead. As Rodgers puts it, “at the end of the day bartenders have helped grow the golden rum category into what it is today so to forget their importance would be a mistake.”

1 November 2009 - Felicity Murray