The launch of Brugal rum in the UK is on-track, with distributor Maxxium UK investing more than GBP1m behind the brand in its first 18 months.

Brugal has sold around 950 cases in the UK since its launch in September 2008 and demand is rising each month, Maxxium UK's brand manager for Brugal, Karen Dobie, told just-drinks at an event in London last week. 

Maxxium is this summer running a nationwide sampling tour for Brugal, using Brugal Lime trucks, as part of the first big push behind the brand in the UK.

"So far, we're on target," said Dobie, commenting on Brugal's progress in the UK market. Maxxium is focusing on major cities across the UK, although particularly Bristol, which has shown particularly strong demand for rum - thought to be a linked to the city's past importance as a trading base with the West Indies. 

According to Dobie, rum-based drinks such as the Mojito have "opened up the category" for UK consumers, some of whom are now searching for more varieties of rum.

"I think generally consumers are wanting to know more about a product's ingredients, where it's from and if there is any history behind it, anything engaging about it," said Dobie, who added that Brugal is largely aimed at urban professionals above the age of 25 years.

In 2008, Scotch whisky producer The Edrington Group took a majority stake in Brugal and has since widened its international presence from the brand's home in the Dominican Republic, where it has an estimated 80% market share.

There are currently two Brugal variants - Anejo, a premium standard golden rum, and Extra Viejo, a premium golden rum. Dobie told just-drinks that the distillery team is working on a new super premium rum to add the portfolio, although a market launch is thought to be some way off.

Brugal last year joined forces with several other rum producers to launch the 'Authentic Caribbean Rum' marque, administered by members of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers' Association (Wirspa).

Wirspa has been running advertising for the marque in several locations in the UK, including London Underground, for most of this year, in an attempt to drive growth in the category.