Plantation rum

Small fish in a big pond: how do small brands survive?


I was chatting to some friends in the drinks industry the other day about the challenges facing new-to-market brands in the UK. As tends to happen over a few beers, we started setting the world to rights, as well as drowning our sorrows about the challenges smaller brands often face. With a handful of large companies holding a portfolio of leading products, it can be hard for smaller brands to find their place in the market, and even good products don’t always last long. The conversation stuck with me (despite the beer drinking) and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on this subject. It’s an important topic, as actually it comes down to how bartenders and brand owners have to work together in order for good brands to survive in one of the most competitive drinks markets in the world. I’m sure many of the things mentioned below will ring true to those of you working in other countries too.

I should start this by pointing out that this is not me taking a swing at the larger drinks brands, or disrespecting what they add to our industry. In fact one of the things that we all agreed on was that we wouldn’t have such a vibrant industry, or nearly as many great events, without the financial clout of the larger spirit brands. Without their sponsorship and marketing spend, many great bar shows and cocktail gatherings wouldn’t be possible at all. In fact global brands such as Bacardi, Absolut, Gordon’s or Jose Cuervo, form the backbone of our industry and have paved the way for smaller brands to reach a larger audience.

9 rums you should be drinking


Our previous update “9 things you should know about rum” proved to be surprisingly popular, in fact at one point the b&t website crashed because it couldn’t handle all the visits, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. So since the sun has continued to shine (up until today!) and I have rum on my mind, I thought I’d use this excuse to follow up with a look at some of the rums I’m particularly enjoying at the moment and maybe even throw in a few rum cocktails while I’m at it. Well it gives me an excuse to spend the some time sipping cocktails as ‘research and development’ for this blog.

This post could easily be titled ’39 rums you should be drinking’ but that might be a little impractical honestly, after all, developing nine new cocktails kept me pretty busy. So if you don’t see your favourite rum below, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it, I simply wanted to tell you about a few that I’m particularly enjoying at the moment. I’ve included a new cocktail recipe for each, as well as a few of my thoughts, which I hope will inspire you to grab a bottle of good rum, a few fresh ingredients, and a shaker.