The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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Page 44 of 111

40 / the tasting panel / february 2014 BRAND PROFILE "M alibu Rum is about the summer state of mind," declares Josh Hayes, speaking to the rum's associa- tion with vacation and recreation. Well in time for the upcoming warm-weather season, Malibu's Senior Brand Manager goes on to point out that new Malibu product releases are boosting enthusiasm among consumers and reawakening on-premise accounts. When Pernod Ricard acquired Malibu Rum in 2006, the declining brand was selling 1.4 million cases per year; today, the company sells 2.1 million cases annually, and continues to grow. From October 2012 to October 2013, Malibu drove 17% of the innovation growth within the rum category, according to Nielsen XAOC + Liquor – WA Food. "Since 2008, we've returned Malibu to growth, adding more than 600,000 cases through both innova- tions and strengthening the core brand. " One reason for Malibu's success lies in its expansion. Malibu Black, launched several years ago, combines the original rum's signature coconut lavor with a higher proof that tempers the sweetness. "Its focus has been aimed at consumers who go out at night and want something with more kick," notes Hayes, who has seen Malibu Black enjoyed as a shot, mixer and cocktail loater, and has also noticed its popularity with multi-cultural consumers. Another variant, Malibu Red, mixes Caribbean rum with Mexican tequila and coconut lavoring. Bartenders mix it into tropical Margaritas for what Hayes calls a "fun tequila occa- sion"—in contrast to more serious aged spirits served neat. Malibu Red also inds its way into shots and bottle service; for its launch, Malibu collaborated with Grammy Award–winning singer, songwriter and actor Ne-Yo, who remains Creative Director for this expression of Malibu. Making a splash: Malibu Island Spiced Rum, part of the brand's dynamic and growing portfolio, photographed at Wave House, a lively beach-themed entertain- ment complex in San Diego. Wave Catching the MALIBU RUM'S CORE BRAND AND ITS NEW LINE EXTENSIONS ARE SURFING THE CREST OF THE FLAVORED RUM CATEGORY by Kelly A. Magyarics / photos by Leigh Castelli

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