Cocktail craze helps rum sales to sparkle

The popularity of rum cocktails has pushed vodka from the top spot for the first time since the 1960s, according to supermarkets and drinks firms.

A craze for the mojito cocktail has helped rum to become the UK's fastest-growing spirit, according to data from Tesco. It said sales jumped 22 per cent – far higher than any other spirit – over the year to March.

Rum has replaced champagne in the Office for National Statistics "shopping basket" of goods that consumers typically buy.

Tesco's spirits buyer, Kate Evans, said: "Rum hasn't been in such high demand since the 1960s when rum and coke, Cuba libre, was the drink of choice."

The drinks group Diageo, maker of Captain Morgan, said the dark rum category is growing at 8 per cent in value terms in the UK. The research group Nielsen says the golden rum and dark rum categories are growing at 33 per cent and 8 per cent in value respectively.

Tesco expects the demand to lead to a sales rise for smaller niche brands. Ms Evans said: "There are many fine rums out there that are hard to find outside specialist retailers and the current trend will lead to a widening of the market."

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