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The UK Rum Scene – Pt. 2

More coverage about the rum scene in England from our friends at The Floating Rum Shack.

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Picture 9A View from the Deck of TheFloatingRumShack.com

By Pete Holland

Fortunately, there are also drives to improve the quality of bartending in general, rather than just in the area of one spirit!  If you have a bartender who knows enough to inspire and engage, who can make and present a great drink then you are going to stand a good chance of drawing that punter in to the world of rum and the bar in general.

Enough said about educating those behind the bar, can you approach it from the other side?  Can you educate the punter directly through advertising and clever marketing?  This summer just gone, we’ve seen that the big boys of the rum world have got out into the music festivals and other such events looking to sell direct.  Bacardi have had a massive mojito promotion which is fine by us, unfortunately, they tend to market themselves as Bacardi – not Bacardi rum.  I guess it’s a way of not giving free advertising to other rums inadvertently.  By the way, on questioning several friends of mine several have said “I didn’t know Bacardi was rum!” – What a shame eh?

In my humble opinion, I think that general customer education needs to improve and not be limited to the big cities.  Get more people interested and the market will expand, allowing more room for the smaller brands and so the opportunities to develop further get better.  London has a pretty small crowd of people doing their best, but it’s not enough.  Get any Premier League footballer to admit that he likes sitting back and relaxing with a glass of Ron Zacapa and you soon won’t be able to lay your hands on a bottle anywhere in the land, but until that time I guess we will keep looking for the perfect low cost sales pitch.

So, is rum on the up?  That was the question and I think the answer is yes.  The 3rd RumFest is due to open its doors very soon – this looks to be bigger and better than ever before and Rum Ambassador, Ian Burrell should be applauded for his efforts.  Big as RumFest might be it still feels a bit like a drop in the ocean of public consciousness.  Pauline and I are really looking forward to it though and we’ve been doing our best to encourage all those who can to come along.  Ian’s opinion is that rum is more than just a drink – it’s a lifestyle!  We wholeheartedly agree with him.  Hurrah!

While I have your attention, I wonder if I might have a little whinge…

I can’t help but feel that most of the promotion by the trade tends to be for people in the trade – it’s a small circle.  The net is never cast wide enough to get lots of new blood in and create rum evangelists who can go forth and spread the good word.  I think people find rum, rather than rum finds them!

London is a slightly strange place – inhabited by those who don’t necessarily think that there is a world outside the M25 [the motorway that circles London] – I generalise of course and exceptions are the rule.  There does seem to be direction of effort at their home patch and that’s all.  Fortunately, Pauline and I live close enough to be able to get into London when we need to, but unfortunately, just too far to be able to go regularly / easily /cheaply.  As a consequence, we find ourselves teased by what could be!

All that said, I think that we have plenty of gas in the tank for continuing our journey and more importantly a desire to keep on learning.  We have met some fantastic people in the last year and really hope to keep the momentum going.  Our lives are certainly a whole lot richer for the experience and we might consider ourselves to be just a tiny bit wiser.

Pete

TheFloatingRumShack.com

peter@thefloatingrumshack.com

The Floating Rum Shack crew - Pauline & Pete

The Floating Rum Shack crew - Pauline & Pete