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Bacardi Leverages Canned Cocktails, Upscale Extensions To Boost Growth

April 19, 2022

Bacardi’s namesake brand remains the largest player in rum, holding 30% of the U.S. category by volume, according to Impact Databank. The brand has fared well overall through the pandemic, with volume up 4% compared with 2019, even after a 2.7% dip last year to 6.8 million cases. Lisa Pfenning, vice president, Bacardi, for North America, tells SND the company is looking to continue the steady performance of the flagship Bacardi Superior while boosting the franchise on two fronts: through branded RTDs and super-premium extensions.

The overall pre-packaged cocktail market in the U.S. totaled 27 million cases in 2021 on 73% growth, according to Impact Databank, and Bacardi is playing an increasing role in the segment. Bacardi’s total premixed cocktail volume jumped 49% to 871,000 cases last year. The brand initially released its line of Real Rum Cocktails in May 2020 in three flavors: Rum Punch, Lime & Soda, and Limon & Lemonade, each available in 4-packs of 355-ml. cans ($13). A year later, after a particularly strong rollout, it added three new flavors—Bahama Mama, Mojito, and Sunset Punch—as well as a variety pack. Bacardi has already added to its Real Rum Cocktails range again in 2022, with a Piña Colada flavor and a new Mojito Variety Pack featuring Mango Mojito and Strawberry Mojito variants.

“It’s no secret that the ready-to-drink category has seen a major uptick in consumer interest over the past few years, especially as people started to drink more and better at home—so naturally we listened to consumer demand when approaching product innovation,” says Pfenning. “Spirit-based RTDs are driving significant growth of spirits value overall, and Bacardi already consistently outperforms the competition.”

Bacardi has also doubled down on its dedication to the super-premium space in recent years, including the launch of Ocho and Gran Reserva Diez expressions. “Rum overall has been in a period of premiumization for a few years now, and it’s currently the second largest pillar of growth in the category, with ultra-premium spirits up 17% in Nielsen,” says Pfenning. “We see this as a huge opportunity to educate rum drinkers and are excited to see what’s to come with the rise of more premium-driven consumers.”

Bacardi unveiled a new Reserva Cask Finish series last year, which will see a new cask-finish offering launched annually through 2025. The first edition was Bacardi Reserva Ocho Sherry Cask Finish, which is aged in American oak barrels for eight to 12 years and finished in an Oloroso Sherry cask for just over two months ($33 a 750-ml.). More new product activity is on the way, according to Pfenning. “We’ll be releasing the next limited-edition variant as part of our Bacardi Reserva Ocho Cask Finish series and have plans to introduce a new flavor innovation later this year,” she notes.

Most recently, Bacardi kicked off a new ad campaign called “Move Like It’s Summer.” The new campaign falls under the wider Bacardi “Do What Moves You” umbrella and features the 30-second titular main ad as well as two 15-second shorts titled “Beach Day” and “Block Party,” running across social channels as well as national TV and cable channels, including during the NBA Playoffs.

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