We all have our favourite spirits and Polish consumers in particular are renowned for their love of vodka, however new research indicates a shift towards more expensive and sophisticated types of alcoholic drinks, signified by the launch of Captain Morgan White Rum in Poland.

Captain Morgan’s White Rum

Although Diageo is currently seeing overall sales declining in Eastern Europe and Russia, it did report positive sales of its super premium vodka brand Smirnoff Black. Moreover, in 2015 Diageo launched its Captain Morgan White Rum in Poland. The move sees a further expansion of Diageo’s rum portfolio in Poland, which already consists of Captain Morgan Jamaica Rum and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.

The Polish market offers strong potential for the brand. The launch of Captain Morgan White Rum can help to further build consumers’ knowledge of premium spirits and the different ways of consuming them.

Rum in high spirits in Poland

Diageo’s launch of Captain Morgan white rum taps into the changing landscape of the alcoholic drinks sector in Poland. Consumers are gradually moving away from vodka, with consumption moving towards more expensive and sophisticated types of alcoholic drinks, including rum, whiskey or gin.

Over 70% of Polish adults say they choose quality over quantity when buying spirits

The rum category is still niche in Poland, however, interest in this product category is gradually growing. The number of Poles buying white rum grew from 9% to 11% between November 2013 and October 2014 and those buying dark/golden rum rose from 7% to 9%.

Furthermore, consumers’ attitudes to spirits reflect a level of premiumisation in the sector. Over 70% of Polish adults say they choose quality over quantity when buying spirits. As well as this, a third agree that drinking dark spirits, such as whiskies and dark rum, appeals to them more than white spirits, such as vodka and gin.

Educating Polish consumers on the merits of rum

Following the premiumisation trend and observing the success of the whiskies Diageo launched in Poland, the launch of Captain Morgan White Rum was the next logical step to strengthen its position in Poland and reach out to experimental and curious consumers. However, as there is no well-established tradition of rum consumption in Poland, Diageo faces the challenge of using the launch to grow the category overall.

This comes in the face of strong competition from other premium alcoholic drinks, as well as flavoured vodkas, which are often promoted as ideal cocktail ingredients. Rum is also mostly consumed as a cocktail ingredient and hence Captain Morgan will need to further educate consumers on the various ways of mixing drinks.

Diageo can also use tried and tested techniques, such as the Whiskey Festival they organised in some of Poland’s hypermarket chains in 2014, applying the same concepts for advertising rum.

However, the key is to educate the consumer on simple ways of mixing rum in cocktails at home. This could help rum to replicate the success of other premium alcoholic drinks and gain a broader consumer base beyond festival and night club goers.

Regina Maiseviciute joined Mintel in 2013 as a Food and Drink Analyst for Poland. As a part of the Mintel Food and Drink team, she tracks new innovation, consumer trends and market development activity in Poland. Regina brings over 10 years of experience working in leading market research and strategic analysis agencies, where she has provided insights and strategic recommendations to leading global FMCG organisations and packaging manufacturers, retailers and governmental bodies within Eastern Europe and also globally.

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