A recent article in European CEO stated, ‘According to a new report by the Whisky Exchange (TWE), sales in rum have skyrocketed by 165 percent in the third quarter of 2019. This feat marks the first summer in five years that the spirit has outstripped gin in terms of sales growth. Analysts say this is no summer fling, either: a better classification system by TWE makes it easier for consumers to understand the many categories of rum.’
The SA Rum Jury has been banging that drum since the first SA Rum Jury in 2017. We may have been a bit presumptuous then, but the South African craft and premium rum category has very definitely grown in leaps and bounds.
Retail research in early 2016 found around 44 rums available on the shelves in SA retail stores and there were three craft distillers. Today there are over 100 offerings available on the shelves with around 20 craft distillers in South Africa making rum. The good news is that there are at least another five craft distillers coming on stream during the next year and some fantastic premium rum being imported.
How can we, in the industry, expect the public to be excited about rum if we are not excited and knowledgeable about the products and offerings available? That is the aim of the Industry Enrichment Conference, organised by SA Rum Jury to coincide with the awarding of medals to the products that were evaluated in a blind tasting by nine impartial judges.
The RumBro, Andy Kiloh, is making it his goal to get the rum message, and more particularly South African craft rum into the frontline with the industry. Brand ambassadors, sales people, mixologists, trainee bar and hospitality staff, distillers and industry experts will all be gathering at the Randpark Golf Club in Randburg on 25 February 2020 to participate in a workshop and be enthused by the opportunities in the growth of rum.
Our current economic climate and unemployment crisis presents us with an opportunity to bring more people into our section of the hospitality industry. As craft rum grows, as bartenders become cocktail barmen and mixologists we will open up opportunities for new people to be employed from barbacks to bartenders to owners, the progression and potential is enormous.
The Industry Enrichment Conference & Rum Jury Awards will be held on 25 February 2020 at Randpark Golf Club in Randburg. For more information, visit rumjury.co.za.