Revolutionary rum – in more ways than one

How can you innovate in a product category that is several centuries old? Well, that’s exactly what John Paul Jones is doing – with the help of some history…

During the late 18th Century, as the now mighty United States was still learning how to walk, a young John Paul Jones fled Scotland to join Colony of Virginia. He would become a US naval captain, command an attack on his former home in Whitehaven, and come to be regarded as one of the founders of the US Navy.

Why is this neat, little history story in a food and beverage magazine? Because John Paul Jones has also given his name to a new rum manufacturer, which is doing things rather differently. Here, Head of Product, Finn Gill, explains why John Paul Jones (JPJ) Rum is as revolutionary as its namesake.

Why enter what appears to be a mature market?

While the original John Paul Jones came to the New World on the back of significant controversy (fleeing trial in the Admiral’s Court), the decision to enter one of the most mature and well established spirits’ markets around wasn’t quite as clear-cut for Gill and his colleagues some 250 years later.
“People have long said that ‘rum is the new gin’ and ‘rum is going to take over’, and you’re seeing that happening now – but slowly. While a surge in rum sales has been widely forecasted for 10 or 15 years, yet there’s been a lot of time where rum didn’t really make that move. I think that’s because producers haven’t really grasped the full potential of what’s possible when developing rums in a new way.