Thursday, July 05, 2012

Rum Liqueur RumChata Enjoying Fast Start Through Cross-Category Appeal

(by Shanken News Daily) Rum-based cream liqueur RumChata may be a difficult brand to classify, but there’s no ambiguity about its success in the first half of 2012. In the first six months of the year, RumChata shipped more than 1 million bottles (the equivalent of roughly 83,000 cases) in the U.S. market, and its impressive growth trend—17,000 cases sold in calendar 2010 and 64,000 cases sold in 2011—suggests that it may well grow much larger in the near future.

Introduced in 2009, the 13.8%-abv RumChata is a mix of five-times distilled Caribbean rum and Wisconsin dairy cream. It’s produced and bottled by Agave Loco Brands of Pewauwee, Wisconsin, and retails for $19.95 per 750-ml.

While relatively new offerings like RumChata are often strongly reliant on a single region and/or channel, the brand’s early success has been quite diverse. Available in 49 states, RumChata has enjoyed its fastest growth in Wisconsin, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. Until recently, its sales were basically split 50-50 between the on-premise and off-premise channels, although the addition of new sizes and expanded distribution is now skewing the balance towards the off-premise. Recent Nielsen national scan data ranks RumChata among both the U.S. market’s leading rum and cream liqueur brands.

Straddling the rum and cream liqueur segments, RumChata has benefited from a diverse consumer base and has carved out a place in various consumption occasions. The brand’s younger consumers often drink it as a straight shot or mixed in a variety of shooters, while older consumers tend to drink it on the rocks or in their coffee.

RumChata’s versatility has made it increasingly popular among bartenders and mixologists, Agave Loco tells Shanken News Daily, and the brand is also gaining notice via social media outlets like Facebook. A cameo appearance in a 2011 episode of HBO’s “Entourage” has also raised RumChata’s profile. On pace to add roughly 100,000 cases to its volume this year, RumChata certainly appears to be a brand to watch.

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