Rum: The Spirit Of The Caribbean

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Rum: The Spirit Of The Caribbean

Blue Water Global Group, Inc. (BLUU) Offers The Caribbean In A Bottle

WHITEFISH, MT / August 21, 2014 / The Caribbean is big business, both as a wildly popular destination and as an influential lifestyle market. According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), approximately 25 million tourists visit the Caribbean each year, many on cruise ships, seeking all the good things for which the Caribbean has become justly famous. Far more than simply a tourist haven, the relaxed tropical party atmosphere so often identified with the islands of the Caribbean has gradually taken on the characteristics of a powerful brand, offering increasingly attractive marketing opportunities for companies able to latch onto and cultivate it.

Rum Forever Linked To The Caribbean

Arguably the best example of successfully capturing and marketing the spirit of the Caribbean in a global product is rum, now one of the most popular spirits in the world and continuing to grow. Rum, made in a variety of ways from sugar cane byproducts, is forever linked to the history of the Caribbean. Although similar drinks were originally produced in eastern Asia, it was the added element of distillation, first practiced in the Caribbean as early as the 1600s, which produced what we now call rum. Rum was soon a favorite throughout the Americas, gradually spreading to other parts of the world. Today, besides North America, the biggest rum markets are Europe and India.

One of the most recent drivers of rum’s popularity has been the growing number of tourists, usually American, to the Caribbean. The cruise industry continues to expand, and the rich tropical embrace of the Caribbean, with its many ports of call, is ideally suited to the cruise experience. For a cruise line, and the eager tourists it serves, the Caribbean represents a veritable smorgasbord of exotic settings right off the Florida coast. What the tourist industry is discovering is that many cruise ship tourists fall in love with the Caribbean atmosphere, and end up returning again and again, sometimes to the same islands, and sometimes to explore different islands. They come back on stopover cruises, or simply on their own for longer stays. It’s clear that the Caribbean, and the relaxed tropical culture it epitomizes, represents a significant global draw, and rum is riding that wave.

Over and above its appealing link to the Caribbean, the benefits of rum include its relatively low cost, its many varieties, and its unmatched suitability for mixed drinks. As such, rum finds its way into many different markets. For the younger end of the demographic, spiced rum has become a hot ticket. For upscale markets, more expensive premium rums, often consumed alone, have become prominent. For all ages and incomes, rum has become a must-have mixer.

Businesses See The Opportunity

This potential is not lost on major players in the U.S. and world spirits market such as Castle Brands (NYSE: ROX), Diageo (NYSE: DEO), and United Spirits (BOM: 532432), all of which have an important stake in the growing rum industry. Castle Brands has seen sales of the Gosling Brothers rums it distributes take off, while giant spirits producer Diageo has been increasing its already huge slice of the world rum market. India’s United Spirits has watched its Celebration rum become the fastest growing rum brand in the world, making it the world’s 2nd largest selling dark rum.

One of the most astute approaches to the market is being taken by Blue Water Global Group, Inc. (OTCQB: BLUU), a Nevada holding company that is currently developing a chain of restaurants, called Blue Water Bar & Grill(TM), throughout the Caribbean. The restaurant plan is to take advantage of a substantial unfulfilled need in the region, currently dominated by high-end gourmet restaurants that don’t suit the average tourist, and low-end tourist-oriented offerings that are inconsistent in quality. The company intends to build a regional brand representing reasonably priced food of consistently superior quality, something that the tourist crowds will potentially learn to depend upon and seek out. The first restaurant is already being put together at St. Maarten, in the Dutch West Indies, one of the most sought after cruise stops, and will have such iconic elements as fire pits and even a swim-up bar by a pool. The next step is to expand to other islands, starting with Aruba, Dutch West Indies with further planned expansion to Nassau, Cozumel, Barbados and Grand Cayman.

With its developing restaurant brand as a foundation, Blue Water intends to leverage its growing Caribbean presence by building a line of premium Caribbean rums with the same name. Rum is already established as a primary spirit in the U.S., the source of most cruise line tourists, and premium offerings should be an easy sell for serving and taking back home. Through the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Blue Water Beverage Brands, the rums are produced in the nearby Dominican Republic under the skilled direction of a master rum maker. The initial rums, Blue Water Caribbean Gold and Blue Water Ultra Premium Rum, will be sold at the company’s own restaurants, expanding throughout the Caribbean as the restaurant chain develops. As the Blue Water name becomes increasingly linked to the Caribbean lifestyle, and as tourists take the rums back home and spread the market, the company plans to open direct export to the United States.

Blue Water’s thoughtful strategy is a textbook example of smart planning: identifying a major unmet need for a product or service that is already driven by an independently growing market demand, and then building on it by developing expanding product lines under the same brand name. One can imagine the Blue Water brand becoming synonymous with the Caribbean lifestyle, providing great opportunities for associated product development and growth. The food and drink sector alone represents a continuous flow of possibilities.

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More Room For Growth

Although rum’s developing popularity on the world stage is well known, there are still many places with room for growth. Global distributors are now using their existing connections to introduce and promote rum, building on newfound interest in rum and all things Caribbean. While beer and wine still hold dominant positions in the U.S. and Europe, spirits remain the primary alcoholic beverage in Asia. Different markets will require different strategies, but rum is clearly positioned for growth in all of these markets. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, rum is becoming something of a staple, a necessity for full entertainment options in places normally associated with other beverages. Germany, for example, is now a primary growth market for rum, with premium rums leading the way.

Even long-established rum markets are showing strong potential for new penetration. Variations are opening the door to new consumers. It’s a well-proven practice to take an already popular base product and look at it in creative new ways. Remember when ice cream used to be vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry? With rum, the move has been to add or adjust flavoring, aging, and general quality, making what had largely been considered a simple mixing spirit into a drink that can be enjoyed on its own in a wide range of configurations.

Rum – Blue Water’s Perfect Mix

The bottom line is that, as with all products, it’s about a complex experience mix. With rum, it’s a unique mixture of taste and variety and versatility, but coupled with a distinctive link to a truly magical part of the world. To understand the growing market for rum, you have to understand that it is far more than a beverage. Rum, however it is served or mixed, invariably evokes the fun tropical island feel of the Caribbean, with warm sunny breezes, turquoise water, perhaps even the distant sound of a steel drum. Rum is the spirit of the Caribbean, the very spirit that Blue Water Global Group, through its shrewd branding efforts, intends to bottle.


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SOURCE: Emerging Growth LLC