Brands Report 2015: Rum

You could flip a coin – each year since we’ve been polling the world’s best bars, the champion rum has beeneither Havana Club or Bacardi. 

Havana Club fell face-side up this year, with 27% of polled bars attesting to its selling power.

Havana Club is a marketer’s dream and nightmare – authenticity but half-owned by the Castros.

Pernod has taken things slowly, building the brand in the right way – marketing the city of Havana and all that entails rather than just flogging rum. 

Bacardi was the top seller in 18 of our polled bars. Respondents were about 50% European and 20% North American – in reverse, we may have seen Bacardi dominate, such is its status in the US.

Still, Bacardi has successfully diversified its image over recent years and has a powerful package to offer bars.

At Schumann’s in Munich, you’re more likely to be served Bacardi 8 than any other rum and at A for Athens, they told us their “primary deal” is with Bacardi, a “value-for-money choice” with product quality “above average”.

The American Bar is the Bacardi bar when it comes to most house pours. The brand’s global cocktail competition, Bacardi Legacy, is second only to Diageo’s World Class and is an effective recruiting tool for its flagship rum.  

Plantation makes its debut in the Best Selling list this year. In previous Brands Reports it wasn’t the bestselling rum in any of our bars – now it is top in 15 of our 100.

Its owner, Cognac Ferrand, had a good 2014 and it seems its blended island rums and vintages are offering the bar market something different. 

Diplomatico, a sweeter Spanish style in the mould of Botran and Zacapa, has made a beeline for bartenders. 

Spearheaded by its World Tournament bartending competition, which debuted in 2013, the Venezuelan rum is the best seller of its category at Edinburgh’s Bramble, 28 Hongkong Steet in Singapore and the Lui Bar in Melbourne, but its greater feat is shown in the trending chart – 15% of bars polled said it was the hot rum among punters. 

Diplomatico, though, takes second place to Zacapa in the trending list.

Diageo was one of the first to go ‘super-premium’ with rum – a phrase previously reserved for other categories – and bartenders have long been convinced.

Topping the Trending charts means consumers in the world’s best bars are too.  


We spoke to the World’s 50 Best Bars for this poll but in order to have a broader set of results we widened the net to include responses from a total of 100 of the top bars in the world - as voted for by our World's 50 Best Bars Academy.

We asked bar owners and head bartenders from these 100 top bars to name the Best Selling and Top Trending brands behind their bars. For more information about our methodology see here.

Day by day we will take you through the overall Best Selling and Top Trending spirits, and into the categories - from tequila, gin, vodka, rum, liqueurs, Scotch, World Whiskies, Brandy, aperitifs and digestifs, champagne, beer, water and tonic water to the best brands for cocktails.