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The humble rum goes upmarket

business Updated: Nov 14, 2007 22:59 IST
Lalatendu Mishra
Lalatendu Mishra
Hindustan Times
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A bottle of rum for Rs 3,500! Sounds astonishing? But the humble rum has gone upmarket. Powered by the preference for superior rum from consumers, importers are bringing expensive rum brands to India.

Rhum Clement, a brand owned by the Clement family based in Martinique (French West Indies), is being launched in the Indian market. Finewinesnmore, a Mumbai-based importer of liquor products, is bringing the brand to India. The brand, known for its exceptional taste, will be available in the price range Rs 2,200-3,500.

Rhum Clement could be the second premium rum brand to hit the Indian shores after Angostura Rum, which is priced at Rs 6,500. “Angostura, which was launched quite some time back, is yet to gain volumes. There are not many buyers--only two bottles have been sold at our shop,” said Mohan Sawant, manager of South Mumbai-based Patel Wines.

Old Monk, now priced at Rs 220, though remains the favourite of rum drinkers. “Although we store imported rums, Old Monk still sells the most,” said Sawant.

So who will buy the premium rum brands? “Typically, old rum drinkers are seeking the world’s best rum. Since these brands are comparable to champagne and liqueur, anybody seeking a refined experience will opt for this range,’ said Dharti Desai, CEO, Finewinesnmore.

Desai expects to sell 600 Rhum Clement bottles to begin with in Delhi and Mumbai.

India, the largest rum market in the world by volume after the United States, is the sixth largest market by value as most Indian rum brands are priced low. Old Monk and Celebration account for 56 per cent of the market. The other rum brands include Rare Old Cask, Contessa, Kisson Tiger, Majestic and Hercules. Priced in the premium range are Bacardi (Rs 1,400) and Diageo’s Captain Morgan (Rs 550).