Exclusive Interview with Elizabeth Jones, Founder of Rum Sisters
Who doesn’t like desserts? Better yet, who doesn’t like Rum Cakes?!?! I have had the pleasure over the years of trying many different commercially available rum cakes. During the holidays this past year, a friend of ours surprised us with a package at our door step. When Luis and I opened the package there was an array of rum cakes by a company called Rum Sisters. We eagerly dove right into the “Original” and the “Bushwacker ” and they were amazing!!! I knew right then that I needed to know more about the people making these delicious rum cakes. I connected with Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, owner of Rum Sisters, via Facebook. Now, a few months later, I am delighted to bring to you the faces and the story of Elizabeth and her team. Their passion for baking, creativity and their love for their community are quite evident once you read Elizabeth’s interview.
Margaret Ayala, Publisher
Please state your name, title, company name and location.
Elizabeth Jones, Founder, Rum Sisters
2200 East 2nd Street
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Q: When was your company formed and why?
Rum Sisters was formed in August of 2014. We decided to start the bakery as a result of being a sponsor in a fishing tournament, sounds funny huh? My husband and I own an aviation business, Executive Aviation Group, based here in Alabama. The aviation business was a sponsor in the event. As part of our being sponsors in the tournament we were asked to have a gift for each fishing vessel and team. So- Kelly Canale, my dear friend and an employee of our aviation business, along with my Mom, Linda Shay, took a family recipe and made 75 Rum Cakes (in two days) for the event.
Well, the response from the boat owners, captains and crew was overwhelming! We had so many requests for cakes we started to seriously consider what it might be like to bake and sell Rum Cakes. Over the course of the next few months we did our due diligence in researching the idea and a business plan was formulated. Once the plan was complete, Rum Sisters was born. We opened our doors on Veteran’s Day 2014.
Over the course of the months to follow we were filled with excitement as our business started to take off, our Facebook following went from zero to 2,500 by year end! We were sleep deprived and baking non-stop through Christmas and shipped over 500 cakes by the start of the New Year. Whew- we knew we were on to something now.
Q: Since the start up of your company, what has been the most challenging thing you have faced?
The most challenging thing we have had to face would be the shipping and packing of our cakes.
We spent a good amount of time before opening our doors researching packaging possibilities and shipping our cakes to a variety of destinations to test the quality of their arrival. Needless to say, we had some epic fails. Our rum cakes moisture and density created a delicate proposition.
We are working with a fantastic company, Ernest Packing Solutions, who have been with us since we realized we faced such a challenge.
We knew the holiday push would be crucial in getting our cakes shipped and arriving in great condition. So, our phase I of packaging was completed to sustain us through the holidays. We are now working on phase II, and soon to be moving to phases III and IV: each producing a more esthetically pleasing and superb quality solution.
Q: What differentiates you from all the other rum cake companies out there?
That’s a great question. During our research and development stage, we tried a number of Rum Cakes out there. We haven’t found a rum cake that tastes quite like ours. Nor have we found another rum cake company that has produced the variety of flavors and sizes we offer. We currently offer seven different luscious alcohol - infused flavors and plan to grow that number as the market demands.
Our approach to using a multiplicity of rums in various cakes also sets us apart from some of the other rum cake companies.
Most of the rum cakes we tasted during our comparison testing showed to not have a consistency of moisture throughout the cake. Rum Sisters’ cakes are extremely moist and the flavors are secretly infused throughout the cake. You can really taste the difference.
Q: Can you tell us a little more about your rum cakes? Some of them use specific brands of rum; can you tell us why you chose these particular rums?
We have three sizes of cakes: petite, small and large. We have several flavors, as I mentioned earlier. We also offer a gluten-free version of any of our flavors in the large size. One of our most popular offerings is our Sampler package where we combine four of our Petite cakes for a taste of a few of the scrumptious flavors.
For the purposes of this interview, I’ll focus on the rum cakes. However, we work with whiskey and bourbon, as well.
Rum Sisters’ rum cakes are available in a medley of flavors. Our Original Rum Cake is the classic and what you might expect from my description of moistness, as its rich and full of flavor. The Banana Rum Cake takes baked banana bread to a whole new level. The Spiced Rum Raisin and Carrot Cake is just luscious; the complexities of the carrot and raisin with the undercurrents of the spiced rum are divine. The Bayou Satsuma Rum Cake is just the perfect amount of citrus in a cake. The Bushwacker Rum Cake is quickly becoming our signature cake. Along the Gulf Coast of Alabama there is a very popular drink that we have modeled this cake after. The Bushwacker offers a mouthwatering delivery of coconut and chocolate overtones.
As far as brands are concerned, there are specific rum distilleries and companies we are currently working with. We use Kenny Chesney’s Blue Chair Bay Rum (Fish Bowl Spirits) in our Bushwacker Rum Cake and Bayou Rum is a distillery we work with to make our Bayou Satsuma Rum Cake and our Spiced Rum Raisin and Carrot Cake.
Our goal is to create relationships and private label our cakes with strategic distilleries. We are constantly playing with rum and cake. It’s a lot of fun to see what flavors work. We love when people stop in the bakery, not quite sure what they’re going to find when they come through the door of Rum Sisters. We always have a sample of at least one of our Rum Cakes available. The reactions from people, and the looks on their faces is the best! That moment when the flavors on the pallet register with the brain—it’s a kind of “Ah-Ha” moment. Everyone seems to have favorite flavor and there is always a debate between family/friends on which one they should buy.
Q: I understand that in addition to the rum cakes, you also make other cakes. Can you give us some information about them as well?
We have just brought on a very high end wedding cake designer/baker and we will now be working locally to provide upscale, boutique if you like, Wedding Cakes.
Q: Back in February some areas of the country were facing some really cold temperatures and you posted on your Facebook page a notice that you were going to be serving a free cup of coffee and a slice of cake to all police officers, fire & rescue, EMS and City employees. I am sure that you touched the hearts of many with this generous gift . Can you tell us what your experience was like? Do you plan on doing this again in the future?
We are grateful for the people of our community, where we have opened our business. The Coastal towns of Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, Fort Morgan, Perdido Key and Foley, Alabama are very special to us- we live, work and play here. We wanted to reach out to the people who go the extra mile for all of us, all the time. Rum Sisters had a great response by offering coffee & Cake. The City Workers, Police, Fire & Rescue and EMS were all grateful. There are great people in this community and we met many that day. We plan to continue to give back to our community as much as possible in the months.
Q: Can anyone living in the USA purchase your cakes? If so, how does one go about ordering them?
Absolutely! Our cakes are available to order through our website at www.rumsisters.com or by calling 1-844-4RUM-CAKE (1-844-478-6225) where we can take your order by phone. We ship anywhere in the US.
Q: Mother’s Day is coming up next month, do you have any plans to develop a special cake just for rum- loving Moms? Also, Father’s Day will be in June, will you have any special cakes for them as well?
We are always introducing new flavors and a few cake ideas in the works for late spring and early summer. In fact we just released the Irish Whiskey Cream Cake last month in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. It was a huge hit!
We have plans for a possible Kaluha Cake and we’re playing around with a Key Lime flavor for summer.
As far as specific flavors for all the great Mom’s and Dad’s out their, we’ll leave the choice of flavor to them, as it’s all about preference and there are so many great choices!
Q: If our readers would like to learn more about your company or would like to reach out to you, how may they contact you?
Please, feel free to reach out. We welcome the audience of “Got Rum?” to reach out to us. I can be reached by email Elizabeth@rumsisters.com and/or by phone at 1-844-4RUM-CAKE (1-844- 478- 6225).
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Rum Sisters is excited to be a part of the “Got Rum?” community. We appreciate you asking us for this interview, thank you Margaret.
People typically associate Rum Cakes with the holidays. While they make every table sparkle and no holiday is complete without a fabulous dessert, Rum Cake is a great cake all year round and for so many occasions; corporate gifts, wedding favors & showers, baby showers, birthdays, thank you gifts and of course- just because moments. As we think of rum drinks, the image of relaxing and savoring the moment comes to mind- we want rum cakes to be an extension of that experience.
Rum Sisters is open to forming strategic relationships with quality partners. If you’re reading this article and are interested in seeing what we can do for you, please feel free to contact us. Our Cakes will tantalize the taste buds and delight your heart!
Rum Sisters’ long- term plans are BIG ! We hope to hear from members of this community soon. Remember our motto ~ No Fighting over the last bite!