May 7/Bromsgrove, England/PRNewswire -- The future outlook for the rum sector looks positive thanks in part to strong growth potential in regions where it remains relatively under-developed, including Central & Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the CIS, East Asia and the Middle East, according to a new report from just-drinks/The IWSR.

The report found that the overall rum category achieved a "very healthy" 4.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2006 and 2011, with total sales now standing at 146.4 million nine-liter cases. The IWSR says it expects this favourable trajectory to have continued in 2012 and the beginning of this year.

Global rum imports have also been rising "steadily", achieving a CAGR of 4.2% between 2006 and 2011 to reach a new high of 25.3 million cases (excluding duty free), in spite of the bruising economic conditions in Spain, which is still the world's largest rum import market by some way.

"Rum is growing at high rates in most under-developed regions," the report states. In addition, the report says the general growth in flavoured spirits has been benefiting the flavoured and spiced rum sub-categories, "opening up the category to a wider audience and drawing in a large number of new consumers".

While a significant proportion of rum sales come from low-priced markets such as India, the Philippines and Cuba, the standard-and-above category is performing well, the report says. Standard-and-above rum sales increased by 5.4 million cases between 2007 and 2011 to 56.3 million cases, with growth led by Brazil, Germany, the Dominican Republic and Russia.

However, the premium-and-above tiers are still "relatively underdeveloped", as premiumisation has come relatively late to the rum category. Global volumes of premium-and-above qualities reached around 4.8 million cases in 2011, according to the IWSR data.