On the rum: Nicaraguan brand Flor de Caña touts APAC boom and rides cocktail wave

By Hui Ling Dang

- Last updated on GMT

According to Flor de Caña, Asia-Pacific markets are key contributors to the rapid growth of the premium rum category. ©Flor de Caña
According to Flor de Caña, Asia-Pacific markets are key contributors to the rapid growth of the premium rum category. ©Flor de Caña

Related tags Rum Alcohol Cocktail

Nicaraguan brand Flor de Caña says that Asia-Pacific markets are key contributors to the rapid growth of the premium rum category, with more consumers taking interest in rum-based cocktails.

A family-run business since 1890, Flor de Caña’s portfolio of premium rum comes from a fifth-generation estate located at Nicaragua in Central America.

The brand is currently available in markets across the US, Mexico, Europe, as well as APAC, which has been dubbed “the fastest growing region for rum” in the world.

“It is the fastest growing premium category worldwide and APAC is a major contributor to that, as it holds a significant portion of the global market share. Generally, consumers are moving towards rum in cocktails due to the diversity that the spirit can bring, be it traditional or unique flavour profiles.

“More young drinkers are open to trying rum-based cocktails. There is also an increasing demand for premium rum like ours, with the rise in disposable income and changing lifestyles — people want to enjoy a well-made product both in the comfort of their homes and in bars or restaurants,” ​Rob Scott, APAC Brand Ambassador at Flor De Caña, told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

Flor De Caña’s distillery sits at the base of the San Cristóbal volcano, where its surrounding land and water is enriched with minerals, is said to play a major role in forming the rum’s unique and smooth flavour.

“Our rum is naturally aged in bourbon barrels with no additives, courtesy of the active volcano. Transparency and honesty are incredibly important for any brand. People who appreciate clean-tasting rum or the health-conscious will like that our rum is made with no added sugar. Drinkers who want to enjoy a premium rum can be assured by the company’s rum-making history of over 130 years.”

In July, the brand announced the return of its annual Sustainable Cocktail Challenge, which saw competing bars from all over the world presenting cocktails created with Flor De Caña 12 by using creative techniques that revolve around sustainable ingredients and upcycling.

There were more than 200 participants from South East Asia alone, including Singapore which Flor De Caña has built presence in. The APAC regional final will take place in Vietnam, and the Global Final in Nicaragua next year.

“Singapore's thriving bar scene since the late 2010s, with plenty of establishments popping up, a talented pool of bartenders, and its proximity to other markets like Bangkok, Hong Kong, Vietnam and more, makes sense for us to be present here as well.”

Sustainability in alcohol sector

While it is arguably a time of heightened environmental consciousness, Scott believes that sustainability in the alcoholic drinks industry started long before the consumer behaviour shift, and is now developing simultaneously with growing consumer awareness.

“Whether it is streamlining the production process to be more energy-efficient and produce less pollutants and waste, reducing single-use packaging for bottling, or increasing sourcing from local regions to minimise carbon footprint, there are many ways to be more sustainable as an alcohol brand.

“From the seed planted in the field to the finished bottle, Flor de Caña has been crafting rum with 100% renewable energy. The company holds both fair trade and carbon-neutral certifications — there are over 300 rigorous regulations that need to be adhered to in order to obtain these,” ​he added.

In addition, the firm has planted more than 750,000 trees since 2005, and has pledged to raise the figure to 1m by 2025. Last year, it announced the launch of a global reforestation campaign in partnership with environmental charity One Tree Planted.

“The debate on whether consumers genuinely care about sustainable drinks is now a non-starter. Care and passion for the environment is something that people are increasingly invested in.

“I think that at the heart of it, people care about the planet we inhabit and that we will leave to future generations. Consumers who are big on sustainability appreciate the steps we take to reduce our environmental impact.”  

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