West Indies rum eyes UK drinkers

The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers' Association (WIRSPA) is in talks with UK agencies ahead of a campaign to raise the profile of Caribbean rum in the UK.

The body represents rum exporters across the Caribbean. Together, its members ship 95 per cent of rum from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific into Europe.

WIRSPA director of marketing Christopher Wood said he had visited a number of agencies in the UK and negotiations were at an early stage. 'We are in the process of drawing up a shortlist ahead of a decision at the end of September,' he added.

Wood said well-known Caribbean brands such as Wray & Nephew and Mount Gay would be promoted, as would a number of brands not yet sold in the UK, and the selected agency would be required to draw up a strategy to achieve this.

WIRSPA secured a $76m (£44m) grant from the European Development Fund in 2003 - part of which was to be used for 'rum marketing campaigns in Europe'.

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