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Puerto Rico’s rum market worth $51M, study confirms

One of the most important industries in Puerto Rico is the rum industry, not only for its economic contribution but also for its legacy. As a pioneer in this sector, the island has experienced an expansion of the market and an evolution of the consumption patterns, which has increased production and competitiveness.

In terms of volume, rum holds a 52% share in the distilled spirits segment. According to IRI’s last report released in June, the market value of rum in Puerto Rico is about $51 million. The data also shows that local brands lead the sales as is expected.

The top-selling spirits brand by volume was Don Q with over 140,000 9-liter cases, holding nearly 40% share in the overall sugar cane spirit market. This brand is followed by Palo Viejo with more than 100,000 9-liter cases, and Bacardi with around 60,000 9-liter cases.

Nevertheless, different international brands, mostly from the Caribbean, have found an opportunity to grow and expand their market presence on the island.

They have had an excellent receptiveness from Puerto Rican consumers due to their quality as well as the complexity of their flavors and aromas. Some of them already have an enormous footprint in this sector.

One of them is Malibu Rum from Barbados, with volume sales of more than 4,000 9-liter cases. Followed by Brugal, from the Dominican Republic, with about 3,000 9-liter cases. This brand is imported by CC1 Companies Inc. and offers a different experience to rum consumers in Puerto Rico. Its price and quality is exceeding the local market expectations, according to the numbers. 

Another rum from the Dominican Republic that has had a good acceptance in the Puerto Rican market is Ron Barceló, with a volume of sales of 2,000  9-liter cases. The variety of Ron Barceló products and its promotional activities have positioned it as one of the favorites on the island. The company in charge of its distribution is Méndez & Co. Inc.

Emily Cruz Villegas is a journalist and freelance content writer from Venezuela, with four years of experience as an academic researcher, mainly focused on economic development, public policies, and digital diplomacy. She has postgraduate education in International Relations at the University of Salvador (Argentina), and a master’s degree in Public Management at KDI School (South Korea). She may be reached at emily@empresasfh.com.

On the other hand, this year rum brands such as Uruapan Charanda and Flor de Caña have finally expanded their distribution to Puerto Rico to increase growth in their business.

In the case of Uruapan Charanda, a protected denomination of origin spirit, it has as the main goal to rescue and revalue this category internationally, educating current and future generations on what Charanda represents in both cultural and economic terms. Currently, the Mexican spirit is imported to the island by TOMA! Distribution Company, which also distributes Foursquare Rum, from Barbados.

Flor de Caña, a Nicaraguan rum characterized by the quality of its distillates and its commitment to the environment, entered the Puerto Rican market through V. Suárez & Co. With more than 130 years of history, the brand has a portfolio of luxurious rums that offer an exquisite sensory experience. These are already available in the supermarkets and main consumption centers such as bars and restaurants of great recognition on the island.

Furthermore, the best-selling rum brands have not prevented the growth of spirits like Rhum Clement. In Puerto Rico, rums from Martinique are highly appreciated and considered iconic. Rhum Clement, as well as Ron Abuelo (Panama), are distributed by Plaza Cellars.

All these imported brands only hold about 10% market share. This indicates that although Puerto Rico — as one of the biggest rum markets of the Caribbean — provides the conditions for the expansion of international spirits, local rums maintain the leadership in this segment.

Today, around 80% of the rum consumed in the world is produced in Puerto Rico since the island’s production standards are highly valued at the international level.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.
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