Diageo aims to make Captain Morgan 'global mega brand'

Diageo intends to grow Captain Morgan into a "global mega brand", according to Ed Pilkington, the group’s global category director for vodka, gin and rum.

In a webcast to journalists, Pilkington said the brand is "key to our [Diageo's] rum strategy."

According to the company, global rum sales have shown a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.4% over the last five years, with spiced and flavoured rums increasing 13%, dark and golden rums 9% and white rum 2%.

Euromonitor figures in DI's Millionaires supplement show Captain Morgan to be the second largest international rum brand with nine litre case sales reaching 8.6m in 2009. This is second to Bacardi's 18.6m case sales.

Diageo - according to Pilkington - is also to target the growth of the super premium Zacapa and Venezuelan titles Cacique and Pampero, alongside priority brand Captain Morgan.

The group intends to “build a strong Latin rum business” reflecting what it sees as a consumer trend towards rum from mainland South and Central America.

Pilkington said: “Cacique is a moderately priced, approachable rum accessible to a wide range of consumers. Pampero has greater depths of flavour and is priced for a more discerning palate.”

Super premium brand Zacapa, is a brand that the group presently markets and distributes, but is widely expected to buy a 50% stake in next year.

Pilkington said: “Establishing Zacapa as a luxury icon and building the super premium segment of the rum category is the third element in our rum category strategy.”

Zacapa, which is currently growing at 40% per year, has, according to Pilkington, “the heritage and artisanal production needed to attract this high-end consumer”.