We attend a lot of events, to the disgust of my parents (they tend to be the ones standing in the cold selling our rum) and there is one comment that crops up regularly -
"£40 - I can buy a bottle of rum from Tesco for half the price!"
Yes you can, and if you drink too much of either you'll get drunk, followed by saying "I am never drinking again!"
You can buy a Ferrari for hundreds of thousands of pounds or a £500 banger. The Ferrari won't make you move any quicker in rush hour traffic, but you might enjoy sitting in it a bit more and you'll think you look cooler. Im not saying our rum is like a Ferrari, it's more an Aston Martin (Its British after all), but its nice to have choices and craft spirits provide you with that.
So why is our rum and craft spirits "so expensive" compared to mass produced rum?!
- Economies of scale - Large national brands can buy in bulk which reduces the associated costs, we cant store 10 million bottles in our shed.
- If you sell 10 million bottles a year, you can afford to make £1 profit per bottle. I would be happy with 10p profit if we sold 10 million, sadly we don't!
- Mass-produced spirits often use flavourings rather than real botanicals or natural ingredients which reduces the cost (and quality) of production. It might be that the "spirit drink" is actually neutral grain spirit (basically vodka) with a spiced rum flavour, not actual rum. We, along with many craft producers use the finest of ingredients and more traditional methods, putting hours in to our products to make them taste amazing. We use no artificial colourings or flavourings in Norfolk Rum just like all the craft brands we know.
- We are very generous, just like the mass produced spirits, we pay exactly the same duty to the government for our alcohol as they do. On a 70cl bottle of 40% spirit, the duty is over £8 AND then we are charged VAT on top of the duty too, so in essence we are taxed on tax. Then we have to pay the VAT on sale price of the product. The government will receive a little over £16 for every £40 bottle of rum we sell.
So yes, you can buy a 70cl bottle of 40% rum for £20 (with a club card) at Tesco. But when you break down the costs, £12.06 goes straight to the government (duty plus VAT), then you have the cost of the label, the bottle, the lid, the seal and the box to store it. Both Tesco and the manufacturer will need to make profit and there are transportation costs and staffing costs. That doesn't leave a lot for rum or quality ingredients.
Finally, Whenever you buy a small batch spirit, it’s a win for us all as you’re actively choosing to support an industry full of passionate producers who want to offer you the best where authenticity, quality and your enjoyment of our products are our number one priority. We all spend hours working on our brands, often around our full time jobs, children and families and most weekends you'll find us standing in a field somewhere in all weathers speaking to people and explaining all this in the hope we can convert them to buying and supporting one of the small craft producers.
So next time you’re comparing like with like, please make a decision between one small batch producer and another, rather than Club Card price verses Craft and keep supporting our industry.