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Premium Golds made it a rum Christmas

Premium rum and spirits company J Wray & Nephew UK has reported sales for 2010 substantially above expectations.

General manager Diane Edwards says that sales in December exceeded expectations, with the trade reporting excellent and unexpected customer throughput.  Those that stocked higher value premium golden rums such as Appleton Estate V/X and Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old, together with specialities such as Alize Cognac, have seen their confidence rewarded.

“Buying patterns have certainly changed over recent years, with the trade being ultra cautious, and generally buying in much, much later. The move is more and more to JIT inventory and lengthening credit terms.” explains Edwards, “It is therefore very exciting that consumer pull through has really held up. The concern expressed by all when it came to the December starting gate, was certainly well founded, but the year-round buoyancy of the golden rum category  – especially the premium sector, has been very pleasantly surprising.

“For 2010, our premium golden rum business has returned a phenomenal increase of almost 25%, a year on year level that would indeed have been impossible to forecast. Our overall product sales have increased by 15% over the same 12 month period,” explains Edwards.  “This follows the 8% corporate increase that we reported for 2009.”

The golden rum sector, though starting small, has excited all by delivering against the odds progressively over the past five years. It appears that the independent smaller retailer or on-premise has used their cash and carry accounts more by buying bottles rather than cases, but making more frequent ‘snow weary’ trips as trade gathered momentum.  The major multiples again have discounted harder at the lower end of the market – notably leading again by ‘slashing’ the big brands. “Like last year, the smaller brand companies simply have not been able to compete,” explains Edwards, “but they have proved that they can hold their own when it comes to the quality end products - where consumers wish to maintain quality of consumption at home and even in the on-trade, and where they will increasingly accept a formal pricing structure for the quality product now featuring amongst the multiples.”

Sales for the rum, whisky and liqueur company saw an ‘exciting’ December giving a record return for the year following an already positive November. “For our aged Appleton Estate golden Jamaica rums the last quarter’s depletions were the best UK quarter ever and December the best month ever of our 20 years in the UK market.” reports Edwards. “All reflective of a degree of confidence, albeit perhaps VAT increase caution led, returning again at the last minute. For us the real key is that golden rums, and aged golds in particular, are still the engine of our category, and continue to grow well ahead of expectations.”




1 January 2011 - Felicity Murray