The origin of rum dates back to antiquity with similar varieties of the product consumed in ancient India and China. Actual rum distillations were first carried out in the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean during the 17th century. Its production spread through colonial America afterwards and was further proceeded to be deeply associated with pirates and the British Navy. As of 2016, consumption of rum in the United States was recorded to have exceeded more than 24 million 9 liter cases.
In 2016, the sales volume of rum in the U.S. amounted to about 24.7 million 9 liter cases. There currently are several regional variations and grades of the alcoholic beverage which include: light rum, commonly used in cocktails, "golden" and "dark" rums, as well as premium rums. The latter two are typically consumed straight, with ice, or with mixers and can also be used for cooking. The leading rum brand in the U.S. as of 2016 was Bacardi. Other popular rum brands produced in the U.S. include: Captain Morgan, Malibu, Admiral Nelsen and Cruzan Rum. In 2016, Bacardi recorded over 17 million 9 liter cases in volume sales worldwide while Captain Morgan reportedly sold about 10.7 million 9 liter cases in that same year.
United States commercial rum export value amounted to around 65.8 million U.S. dollars in 2016 and the dutiable import volume of rum to the U.S. for that same year was approximately 7.6 million U.S. dollars, most of it coming from Mexico, Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad. The majority of the world's rum is produced in Latin America and in the Caribbean where it plays a part in the culture of most of the West Indian islands.