Gosling’s, golf and Bermuda — a cocktail for success
Dark n' stormy and golf are a perfect match — and that is helping the Bermudian beverage company Gosling's to drive up sales in the US with promotional spin-off benefits for the Island.
Yesterday, Gosling's — the maker of Black Seal Rum, one of the ingredients of the dark n' stormy along with ginger beer — welcomed the two winners of its Golf magazine sweepstakes promotion to the Island. Nick Cahill, from Missouri, and Chris Buchheit, from Ohio, won a trip to Bermuda with two rounds of golf.
Along with Malcolm Gosling, who leads Gosling's promotional efforts in the US, and Golf Magazine senior editor Joe Passov, known as “Travellin' Joe”, the pair played Mid Ocean Club yesterday and will enjoy a round at the Port Royal Golf Course today.
Mr Gosling said yesterday that the competition was promoted by means of a gatefold advertisement in the Top 100 Golf Courses edition of Golf Magazine last summer and on the Golf.com website, and attracted an impressive 36,000 entries.
Promotions associated with golf and yachting have played a key part in the company's overseas marketing — as has Bermuda itself where Gosling's has been based since it started out in 1806.
“Bermuda is our home and is a very special place in many people's minds,” Mr Gosling said. “That's not just in the US, but also in Canada and Europe where we are starting to make some headway. Bermuda is a key part of our promotions and that is extremely valuable to us — we love to show it off.”
A survey by Golf magazine found that it's par for the course for Americans to enjoy Bermuda's national drink at the conclusion of a round, as dark n' stormy was named the most popular cocktail for “the 19th hole”.
The links between Gosling's and golf include being the official rum of several high-profile events — as well as being sponsor of the Gosling's Dark N' Stormy Bear Trap — a popular area for spectators near the 16th green of the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida course that hosts PGA Tour event The Honda Classic.
“It's an area where everyone wants to watch and where the lead often changes hands,” Mr Gosling said. “It's a 19,000 sq ft area and tickets are $100 each and the drinks are $7. This year, there were about 2,800 people in there — close to capacity — and there was a half-hour line of people waiting to get in.”
Gosling's is also the official rum of the World Amateur Handicap Championship, which, according to Mr Gosling, has “the biggest 19th hole in the world”. More than 3,000 amateur golfers from all over the world take part on some 60 host courses around Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
“They play their rounds and post their scores at a convention centre and have a drink at the bar,” he said.
Gosling's is also official rum of the Deutsche Bank Classic, the second round of the FedEx Cup play-offs, as well as some yachting events, such as the Newport-Bermuda Race.
The exposure is paying off. Gosling's US sales totalled 140,000 cases in the past year — out of a total 200,000 exported overseas — having achieved strong growth over the past decade.
“It's good to see things going in the right direction, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Mr Gosling said. “We're building for the long term.”