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“Hot Prospect” Blue Chair Bay Thrives Amid Largely Stagnant Rum Category

October 9, 2015

While the rum category has been largely flat lately, higher-proof expressions and new flavor offerings have been successful in achieving growth. Among the newer rum labels demonstrating solid progress is Fishbowl Spirits’ Blue Chair Bay, launched in 2013. Last year, the Caribbean-produced rum blend grew more than 58% to nearly 60,000 cases in the U.S., earning Impact “Hot Prospect” honors. Looking ahead, the Rochester, New York-based company, founded by country singer Kenny Chesney, tells SND it plans to shift focus to gaining quality placements in the on-premise channel to complement its success in the off-premise.

Retailing around $19 a bottle, Blue Chair Bay’s lineup was recently extended with Vanilla Rum (26.5% abv) and Banana Rum Cream (15% abv) entries, which joined White, Coconut, Coconut Spiced, Banana and limited edition Coconut Spiced Rum Cream in the range. The brand saw a promising initial response in 2013, selling 36,000 cases in only partial distribution before going national last year.

Fishbowl Spirits executives say Blue Chair Bay has benefited from actively engaging Chesney’s fan base, including its core of females in their 20s and 30s. “We had on-site activation on Kenny Chesney’s Big Revival tour across 40 cities this summer and events across the country, with a strong emphasis on both on- and off-premise sampling,” says Fishbowl Spirits president David Farmer, formerly Chesney’s tour manager. “Our social channels have served as the thread tying everything together.”

While the rum segment has found growth tough to come by overall, Farmer sees further progress ahead for Blue Chair, particulary through its targeting of on-premise menu placements. The key to future growth will be finding the right opportunities at the premium end of the category, he says.


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