The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) has readied a new "marque of provenance" for rums from the Caribbean.

The trade body, which represents spirits producers, including Angostura, Mount Gay and Brugal & Co., from 15 Caribbean territories, unveiled the marque late last week.

The marque will be used as a "visual symbol of provenance and quality, designed to help trade and consumers identify" brands from represented producers, the association said.

Following the launch of the logo, the WIRSPA is hoping to introduce a three-tier classification system for its members' rums. A black and white version of the marque will appear on 'Authentic Caribbean Rum', produced from sugar cane or molasses within Africa, Caribbean and Pacific region, while a silver and black version would be used on rums from the region matured for a minimum of one year. A gold and black certification will signify 'Deluxe Authentic Caribbean Rum', for rums matured for five years or more.

"With the popularity of rum increasing year-on-year, there is no doubt that consumers are not only looking to explore brands, but are also seeking some help in the selection process," said Neil Morris, WIRSPA's head of marketing. "The new ACR marque will, e believe, help meet both these objectives, while also helping to give further weight to the development of a distinct Authentic Caribbean Rum sector within the rum category."

The logo will be backed by a marketing campaign, initially in the UK, including trade and consumer press advertising, bartender training and PR support. The campaign, which will cost EUR10m (US$19.9m) between now and 2009, will also spread to Italy and Spain in the coming months.