Bats and Other New Things…
Following hot on the heels of the Bacardi ‘Untameable’ launch (which I’m sure you can’t fail to have seen in one media format or another?) there are now five important changes being made to the portfolio of Bacardi rums currently available here in the UK. Couple this with further investment in consumer awareness I foresee that will surely benefit the category as a whole. We consider each in turn and keep an eye out for a Release of Bats…
The first announcement is the good news that alcohol by volume (ABV) strength of Bacardi Gold is set to rise to 40%. Now whilst a 2.5% increase might not seem much in the scheme of things – it’s good news to me. Higher ABV can help a rum deliver the flavours it contains more effectively to your palate. The Tiki cocktails that I make will call for rums by category, dark Jamaican, gold Barbados, light Puerto Rican etc. and so whenever gold Puerto Rican is required, I tend to go for Bacardi Gold (mostly due to the lack of competitive option here in the UK if I’m totally honest) but I now know that my drinks will benefit from a bit more ‘ompf’ – good move I think.
Bacardi are investing in supporting Cuba Libre serves in bars, which will be brought to life by a promotional campaign they are calling ‘Release the Bats’. It’s designed to educate consumers on the Bacardi Cuba Libre story and if successful should result in an outpouring of “For a free Cuba” salutes up and down the land. The campaign will run throughout the summer (2014) and will look to engage 18-29 year olds (thus missing me out entirely) through “…exciting, memorable and impactful activity”. I’m not sure exactly what that means – but I’m absolutely sure I could do with some of it! It will be interesting to see if Cuba Libre’s can supplant what will be an unavoidable urge by all the bars to serve caipirinha’s thanks to football’s World Cup being contested in Brazil. I love a good caipirinha – but I suspect quality will be variable as good old Sid down at the Dog and Duck tries to muddle one using a biro…
Anyway… The increase in ABV will result in a price up as HMRC will be looking to collect more taxes – an indication of retail price can be found at the end of the article.
Other important changes will see what was previously known as the Heritage or 1909 Limited Edition Superior rum (with a higher ABV) re-released. Presented at 44.5% ABV, this white rum delivers a substantial flavour punch and really does make the most amazing daiquiris. I’ll be looking to acquire a bottle or two for sure and if successful will surely devote a feature specifically to it.
The ever popular Bacardi Oakheart finally shakes of its shackles! No more a ‘spirit based drink made with rum’. The ABV on Oakheart goes up by 2.5% to 37.5%, thus ensuring one of the basic definitions under EU law has now been met: namely minimum ABV. I’m amazed that it didn’t launch that way originally, but I guess the extra ABV adds extra cost and until a brand becomes established, ‘they’ wanted to play safe. This increase will be ‘all good’ for Oakheart in my opinion, taste and perception all taking a step up.
Bacardi Black – not exactly a well-known player here in the UK, it’s been available at 37.5% for those perusing the shelves of specialist rum retailers. It now takes an upwards step in terms of ABV and is will now be presented at 40%. Bacardi Black seems to be looking to mimic the English Navy style of rums – heavily coloured as the name implies and with a bolder flavour. I’m sure they will be targeting cocktail bars, I suspect that this would work in drinks like Painkillers and may have more of a place in the Tiki arena than elsewhere else. This is certainly where I first encountered it as it has was used in the Tiki Take Over competition
I published a month or so ago. An English style rum produced by Latin style rum producers must be something of a conundrum for the brand and I’ll be interested to see how this one goes, but I suspect it will remain tagged under specialist as there is stiff competition from more authentic English style rums – especially Pussers (watch this space for details).
A new addition to the UK portfolio is Bacardi Reserva Limitada. Previously available in the US and duty free, Bacardi are looking to increase their presence at the premium end of the rum market. I suspect it will do just fine, but it is jostling for top end space and its price takes it above some seriously good rums. I hope it tastes amazing and look forward to a sip or two in the very near future. Grabbing a quick word with Shervene Shahbazkhani (the UK Bacardi Brand Ambassador) earlier revealed that as the stock is so limited, so any bars wishing to stock it may have to put forward a case as to why they deserve to do so. So the real trick might be finding a place that has it on the back bar in the first place.
With the exception of Bacardi Gold, the 44.5% Superior, Black and Reserva Limitada are all being targeted at the on-trade, namely bars and clubs rather than your local supermarket or off-licence. It should be available through specialist outlets, although I can confirm in the short term Gerry’s Wines and Spirits in Soho may be your first and only choice as they currently hold four of the five, with pricing as follows:
Bacardi Gold £22.95
Bacardi Black £29.95
Bacardi Superior 44.5% £43.50
Bacardi Reserva Limitada £199.00
Bacardi Oakheart [TBC]