Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Rum is Making Strides Toward Growth at a Record Pace in the UK

      New Years Revelers in need of a festive spirit are reaching for rum in record numbers according to the new figures.  This suggests that the pirate’s tipple of choice is primed to mimic the ongoing resurgence of gin and whiskey.   UK sales of rum reached £991,000,000 for the first nine months of 2017, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, which expects the annual figure to top £1,000,000,000 for the first time before the fireworks ushers in 2018.   The sugar cane-based spirit is slated to hit this billion-pound watermark just a year behind gin.  
Ian Burrell
    Ian Burrell, the self-styled Global Rum Ambassador, a number of distilleries will move into rum-making, but not in great numbers.   “I can definitely see that happening but it will take time,” he said. “You can make a craft gin within a couple of days but with rum to get your consumer to pay a premium price, they want to see it aged.  “You need to stick it in a barrel for a few years to get some character and flavor.   Burrell is confident that, as far as consumers go, the moment in the sun has arrived for his favorite spirit.

     “Rum cocktails are some of the most popular ones like rum and coke,mojito and the daiquiri.  There’s a rise in Tiki-style drinks are on the rise as well with the Mai Tai, Pina Colada, Zombie and more.   “They not only use rum in abundance but may use several in each cocktail.”  He is also predicting an upsurge for spiced rums, usually made using imported spirits and infused with spices and other ingredients such as fruit peel.   The variety of flavor this offers, he said, echoes one of the advantages that gin has enjoyed in its rise in popularity.

     A century before William Hograth’s print depicted the moral turpitude that came to be associated with the spirit, rum was already corrupting souls and livers.   Its place in the canon of British inebriation was cemented thanks to the adventurous but often brutal history of imperialism.   Some of its earliest distillers were plantation slaves in the Caribbean, who fermented alcohol out of molasses from the sugar cane they were forced to harvest.   Kill-devil, as rum was often called, became intrinsic to Britain’s seafaring history, used as a way to stave off scurvy and as payment for thirsty sailors. The Royal Navy’s daily rum ration, or “tot”, wasn't abolished until July 1, 1970, a day known as "Black Tot Day".  When Admiral Nelson died, legend hs it that his body was soused in rum to preserve it for the voyage home.   Upon arrival the booze had already been drained by thirsty sailors who had drilled a hole in the barrel, earning rum the nickname, “Nelson’s Blood”.

     If the political and social turmoil of 2017 continues into 2018, it will be worthwhile keeping rum within easy reach, there is no spirit that calms the soul like rum and religion.