Endless opportunities in rum

Javier García Vicuña travels the world to share his knowledge and passion for rum, supporting markets to evolve while helping people enjoy the unique taste of Diplomático rums and cocktails. He tells Drinks Industry Ireland about his vision for the brand and the many opportunities that exist in this category

Born and raised in La Rioja, north of Spain, Javier has spent the last 16 years working in the spirits industry. During these years, he has become a well-known bartender learning that service is everything and good service is an art. His deep understanding about the trade and cocktail scene has made him a key part of Diplomático’s global success.

Where did your career begin and how did you start working in the drinks industry?

From a very young age I was exposed to service to others and hospitality in this beautiful industry. After studying the hospitality and sommelier industry, I specialised in the world of spirits and that was almost 20 years ago.

How long have you been working on Diplomático?

I met the Diplomático family almost 10 years ago. Seeing the enormous success of the brand during this time. Since that time I had the pleasure to work with this lovely brand in different markets becoming global advocacy manager.

Tell us about the inspiration for Diplomático rum?

Diplomático Rum is the result of a unique blend of passion and craftsmanship. Masterfully crafted by a team of expert blenders pulling from over 60 different blending components to create intense complexities in unique expressions that honour the brand’s rich heritage and rum-making tradition. The result is a delicious smooth-tasting rum that can be sipped or mixed in sophisticated cocktails.

How is rum performing in the Irish market at present?

“At present across the on and off trade rum is going through a slightly challenging time but this is symptomatic of the entire spirits category right now,” says Javier.

At present across the on and off trade rum is going through a slightly challenging time but this is symptomatic of the entire spirits category right now. Looking on the bright side we are about to enter the summer period which bring the rum and cocktail occasion to the fore so hoping to see some upward trends shortly. Also we are beginning to see consumers enjoying trading up to super-premium spirits so that in itself brings opportunities for Diplomático.

Who is your target audience for Diplomático?

“We call our target audience the life enrichment seekers, including Millennials and Gen X. They are passionate individuals full of curiosity, who love learning new things by expanding their horizons and exploring other cultures, seeking out increasingly bespoke and new experiences.

Is it difficult to find a niche for a new rum in the Irish market?

When it comes to Diplomático I think the opportunities are endless; it’s less about finding an opportunity for rum but rather looking at what need Diplomatico as a whole can solve for premium accounts. Given our three variants, Exclusiva Reserva, Mantuano & Planas’s flavour profile’s work so well in cocktails, this growing market

is one we can really tap into and add value to on trade venues looking to add premium quality spirits to their cocktail portfolios.

Has the rise in cocktail culture benefited the rum category?

Javier García Vicuña, the global advocacy manager for Diplomático has been with the brand for 10 years

The rise and development of the cocktail culture in the past years has positively impacted the premium rum category growth. Rum is an incredibly versatile ingredient and new trends show that consumers are particularly interested in experimenting. As a result, consumers continue to enjoy classic rum cocktails such as Daiquiris which we elevate with a unique premium white rum called Diplomatico Planas, and at the same time are open to trying twists on classic cocktails such as the Rum Old Fashioned with Reserva Exclusiva and a Rum Mule with Mantuano. Diplomático has been among the pioneers of a renewed category perception and of an energized cocktail culture, with a very positive impact on premium rum category growth internationally. Its quality and versatility have made it a favorite choice for bartenders worldwide and encouraged them to develop a wide range of Diplomático serves offering new premium tasting experiences for consumers. What are the biggest obstacles in
growing the brand at present?

What are the biggest obstacles in growing the brand at present?

The current economic context represents a short-term challenge for the spirits industry overall. However, we believe that rum, especially super premium rum, is in an advantageous position. The category is driving much interest and staying very dynamic at the moment. As such, we have a unique opportunity to leverage current consumer interest to further drive education in SP rum showing its credentials and versatility. This category brings a strong socialisation element, promoting those moments to share alongside a very high-quality rum like Diplomático. Therefore, we remain confident that we will continue to witness significant growth in this still-emerging category

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free