Defining 'rum'

Defining 'rum'

In accordance with most international regulations and rum standards applicable in WIRSPA member countries, any spirit distilled solely from the fermented sugars derived from the sugar cane plant and distilled below 96% alcohol by volume is rum (rhum in French and ron in Spanish). The sugars may be in the form of fresh juice, cane syrup or molasses. 

There are also spirits which, though rum by definition, are described as sugar cane spirits or by other synonyms. For example, ‘cachaça’ the national spirit of Brazil, is distilled from fermented sugar cane juice and you’ll discover a number of ‘aguardiente de cañas’ produced locally across South America. However, if the product is fermented from sugar cane juice, syrup or molasses and distilled below 96% alcohol it is rum, pure and simple.

There are many products around the world which are made using neutral spirits derived from agricultural products such as beet, grain or potatoes then coloured and flavoured to resemble rum. In the specific case of the production of Batavia arrack (also known as arac or arak), fermented red rice is added during the fermentation process and the spirit distilled is therefore not obtained solely from the fermented sugars derived from the sugar cane plant. None of these products are rum according to the definition of rum in WIRSPA member countries or in the EU.