Sunday, March 3, 2024

Duppy Share Rum secures £2m investment

Duppy Share, the London-based Caribbean rum brand, has just completed a fundraising round of £2 million, recruiting a new set of investors.

The diverse shareholder base includes British billionaire investor Jim Mellon, the Irish horse racing Magnier family and UK energy entrepreneur Stephen Fitzpatrick. Joining them to back the company are well-known personalities including ex-professional footballer Ian Wright and Fraser T Smith, one of the UK’s most prolific music producers.

The new set of Duppy Share Rum shareholders join an experienced team including a veteran board of advisors and management, along with Duppy Share White Rum co-founder, UK musical pioneer and top boy actor, Kano.

Duppy Share Rum founder, George Frost explains that the money will be used for “Growth – UK volume and export sales. Most importantly though to get rum in to as many people’s hands as possible. That’s always been the aim.” And on export? “We’re looking to smash our sales targets for this year and then start our fundraise to conquer US in April.”

George Frost, the son of broadcasting legend Sir David Frost, founded Duppy Share Rum seven years ago and this year they will sell over 500,000 bottles or “just shy of 1,500,000 shots” as he puts it. Duppy Share is now the top selling premium rum in the UK.

Following in the footsteps of vodka and tequila, rum is fast becoming the spirit of choice across the UK, echoed by the interest shown from a wide range of investors in Duppy Share’s latest round of fundraising. Rum is the last major spirits category to go through a period of premiumisation and rapid growth – this process begun in 2017 and is gathering pace, with the Global Rum category forecast to grow at a CAGR of 3.6% to 2026, with premium rum growing at 11.1%.

Duppy Share Rum has had a sustained rate of growth at a CAGR of 87% over three years and has a revenue of £6.25 million. Duppy Share Rum is now trading in 18 territories including Australia, France, Germany and Italy. Duppy Share has been the official rum of Notting Hill Carnival for six years in a row.

Duppy Share predicts 10% growth in the UK from 2022-2023 and is aiming to gain a total of eight SKU listings in the UK’s top seven grocers from 2023-2025, along with the launch of Duppy Share XO and White in Australia.

Duppy Share aims to scale rapidly from 40,000 9L cases (the equivalent to 500,000 bottles) to 100,000 9L cases by 2024. Duppy Share also plans to expand its range with further expressions over the next few years, along with building distribution in European markets, Asia and building market entry for the US.

“If I think back to the beginning, when I had to persuade the 3 Fs (Friends, Family and Fools) that the rum revolution was coming, I was met with quite the reaction, from ‘surely you mean Gin’ to ‘but you don’t even run!’ If you had told me then that we would be where we are now – well, even my totally blind, naive and crazed optimism would not have equipped me to take you seriously,” says George Frost.

Frost is clearly proud of getting all these investors on board.

“This isn’t my proudest moment though; not even close. I’ve been a superfan of Kano’s for as long as I can remember. He posted a bottle of Duppy five years ago on social media – I got on the next train to Manchester where he was playing a gig at the Academy. I left an ocean of rum with him and left him and his crew to it. We kept talking and then in lockdown I called him and said – come on mate – let’s do it, let’s do Duppy White.

“He called me back the next day. He didn’t mention a fee or a commercial deal in any shape or form. He had two requests. The first – that the entire process, bottle, label, liquid was all to be 100% decided by him. The second – that it had to be the best white tasting rum out there.

“The first ask – he’s the most creative, intelligent, perceptive and meticulous person I’ve ever met – it was a resounding yes. The second – I knew we could deliver. And deliver we did, as it’s just received the award for the best White Rum in the UK.”

Commenting on the success of Duppy White, Kano says: “For me, whatever I do has to be the real deal. This drink comes from me. This is my life, my family’s story inside this bottle, and wrapped around this bottle. This is something I believe in and genuinely love as a product. That was a major thing for me, creating something that I would like to buy myself, drink myself.

“I’ve been going out of my way to test it with family members and friends to see if they feel the same. People really, really enjoy it. Some people that don’t even drink rum, or it’s not their thing – they drink it and they’re a fan. It’s been a fun experience getting friends and family and peers to taste it. I can’t wait for the whole world to get their hands on it.”

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