Bundaberg rum was first produced 1888, production ceased from 1907 to 1914 and from 1936 to 1939 after fires, the second of which caused rum from the factory to spill into the nearby Burnett River. This company does not produce Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
In 1961, the company introduced the polar bear as its unusual choice of mascot, to imply that the rum could ward off the coldest chill. The Bundaberg Distilling Company owns its own cola producing facility, which supplies the cola for its ready-to-drink Bundaberg Rum & Cola products.
There are currently a number of products available which are distributed by Diageo:
Bundaberg Rum also sponsors the rugby league ANZAC Test (also known as the Bundaberg Rum Test) till 2009.
Bundaberg Rum signed a 5 year deal with the NRL to be the "Official Spirit of the NRL". They are also the naming-rights sponsor of NRL Monday Night Football.
Bundaberg Rum has also been criticised for targeting its advertising towards young people and boys, through television commercials during NRL broadcasts, and other promotions. The Bundaberg Rum Bear advertisements have been cited as one of the favourite ads among Australia's youth. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre in Australia criticised the sponsorship of sport by alcohol companies, quoted "it's a message that young people get, that sports and alcohol go together."
Bundaberg Rum has been labelled the drink for yobbos, after some bars reported that "bundy drinkers are a lot louder, and more disruptive than other patrons." In 2005, four bars in Brisbane banned the rum products, claiming it makes drinkers aggressive and attracts the wrong crowd. "They will abuse bar staff, half a dozen a night, normally gangs of blokes, the marketing is directed at yobbos," one bar owner told The Age newspaper. The Bundaberg Rum Distillery admitted it was aware its brand had a reputation of being associated with aggression, and said it may change its advertising to dispel its "yobbo" image.
On 19 October, 2007, Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chairman Peter McGrath stood aside from the chairmanship after Bundaberg Rum reportedly accused him of being in an intoxicated state at the Rugby World Cup in Marseille, France. McGrath refuted the claims.
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