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Bacardi Targets Upscale Rum Segment With New Cask Finish Series

August 17, 2021

Bacardi rum has unveiled a new Reserva Cask Finish series, which will see the company introduce a new cask finish offering annually through 2025. The first edition in the series is Bacardi Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish, which aged in American oak barrels for eight to 12 years and finished in an Oloroso Sherry cask for just over two months. The 40% abv rum is rolling out nationwide next month, retailing at $33 a 750-ml.

“Despite signs that premium rum is on the rise, we still face the challenge that consumers for the most part associate rum with white and spiced variants only and think of rum as a spirit commonly found in tropical cocktails, which indicates a lack of awareness for premium rums,” Lisa Pfenning, Bacardi rum’s vice president, Americas, tells SND. “As the leader of the rum culture for generations, Bacardi has the opportunity to lead the rum premiumization movement.”

Bacardi’s cask finish series continues the enhanced focus on aged rums that the brand began in 2018, when it launched its Ocho and Gran Reserva Diez expressions. “We’re seeing strong performances in both the super-premium and ultra-premium rum categories, which are up 23% and 43% year over year according to Nielsen data, respectively, and our products are mirroring that same growth,” says Pfenning. “Bacardi Gran Reserva Diez, aged a minimum of 10 years, is up 42% year over year in the ultra-premium segment, and Reserva Ocho, aged a minimum of eight years, is up 5% in the super-premium segment since 2020.”

Pfenning adds that the Bacardi brand has continued to gain share in the rum market overall this year, after posting impressive 8.5% growth to just under 7 million cases in 2020, according to Impact Databank. That total places it as the third-ranked spirits brand in the U.S. overall, after Tito’s and Smirnoff. “We have big plans for the holiday season,” Pfenning notes, with the company aiming to leverage the versatility of the wider Bacardi portfolio to drive gifting and holiday sales.

Bacardi’s new cask finish series is being backed with a partnership with photographer Cam Kirk, including an NFT showcasing the new cask finish, interlaced with digital effects and interactive motion graphics, in the words of the company. Proceeds from the NFT sale will benefit “Backing the B.A.R,” which provides grants, education, and other services for Black-owned bars, restaurants, liquor stores, and small businesses.—Daniel Marsteller

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