Moving into lockdown in the Spring of 2020, there was no question that the hospitality trade was going to take a turn for the worse. However, unknown was the impact of the pandemic on the global spirits sector, one which our private investor had been ruminating about during the previous few months. And the question was deeper than that and specifically in relation to rum, a sector our client personally enjoyed (sipping), could see some signs it was a growing category and suspected that it might have an interesting future.
So the Genoa Black strategy team set to providing some answers. Including those to questions like “are more people sipping spirits?”, “what part of the rum category is growing?”, “what are the risks in launching a rum brand during a pandemic?” and “what space is there in the sector to focus on in the future”? We spoke to consumers, to experts, to the trade, to the supply chain (all online of course due to social distancing) and built a powerful picture of what was going on – trade perspectives, consumer behaviour, offline, on-premise, online, e-commerce, distribution – you name it, it was a true 360o investigation made even more complex at the time due to the looming potential impact of Brexit the following year.
And at the end of the process (Autumn 2020), involving multiple conversations and meetings and significant data and insight analysis, a clear plan was born. An understanding of the potential size of the prize, a map of the potential business model and operational scenarios, a market positioning recommendation and a 10-year commercial plan that focused on the super and ultra-premium rum categories in the UK and global spirits market were presented.
Harpalion Spirits was created, launching its first product to market in Spring 2021.