"Got Rum?" Magazine
Rum in the News
The most recent and noteworthy headlines in the rum industry, written by Mike Kunetka and published monthly in the "Got Rum?" magazine. To share your news with our readers, please send an email to Mike@gotrum.com
February 2016 - Rum In The News
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO) has granted Cuba temporary registration and trademark rights of Club Havana Rum, but only until January 27th, 2016. Cubaexport and Pernod Ricard SA have applied to extend these rights to 2026. The battle over the Havana Club name in the U.S. goes back to the Cuban Revolution, when the Castro government nationalized Jose Arechabala S.A., the original producers of the rum. The government seized the Arechabala family’s rum-making facilities and personal assets during the revolution, without compensation. They fled Cuba, stopped producing rum and in 1973, allowed the US trademark registration for Havana Club to lapse. Taking advantage of the lapse, the Cuban government registered the mark in the US in 1976. In 1993, the brand was then assigned by the Cuban government to the French spirits giant, Pernod Ricard SA, its global marketing partner. In 1994, US based Bacardi obtained the Arechabala family’s remaining rights of the brand name and began producing limited amounts of rum in Puerto Rico under the Havana Club name for distribution in the United States. Bacardi has been able to retain the U.S. rights to the Havana Club name until now.
Bacardi issued a statement saying “Bacardi is shocked and very concerned by this unprecedented action taken by the United States government. In essence, this administration has reversed long-standing U.S. and international public policy and law that protects against the recognition or acceptance of confiscatory actions of foreign governments. With this decision, this U.S. administration clearly sends the message that it no longer supports U.S. law and accepted worldwide principles that prevent registration or renewal of trademarks obtained through confiscation, without compensation to the original owners.”
Bacardi, the world’s largest privately held spirits company, announced recently it will move to a regional distributor network in North America across Open and Control markets, supported by select distributors in Franchise and other limited markets. Bacardi names Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and Glazer’s, Inc., which have signed a definitive agreement to form Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits LLC, to lead the distribution of its wine and spirits portfolio in more than 40 markets across the United States and Canada.
“This decision will enable us to expand our footprint with a single regional partner for the Open, Control and Canadian markets, generate incremental revenue and ultimately place Bacardi in a position to succeed for years to come,” says Pete Carr, regional president for Bacardi in North America. “This is all about creating the best total value for Bacardi and reigniting top- line growth for our critical North America business in the most effective manner.”
FESTIVAL RUM BAHAMAS
This month, Nassau will once again host Festival Rum Bahamas, a celebration of the rum, food and culture of the Bahamas. This year Rum Bahamas is thrilled to host diverse and unique rums from all over the Caribbean. Whether you are a seasoned rum connoisseur, a cultured consumer, or a social sipper, the festival hopes to have an offering for your palate. The festival will be held at Fort Charlotte, February 26th – 28th. www.festivalrumbahamas.com
The Pacific Business News recently reported that Kauai-based Koloa Rum Co. is considering opening a micro-scale sugar production facility as its business grows and the Islands brace for Hawaii’s last sugar cane plantation to close this year.
Bob Gunter, President and CEO of Koloa Rum Co., said the company is exploring its options for growing sugarcane and harvesting its juice for rum production. The company originally got its sugar supply from Kauai’s Gay & Robinson Inc. plantation, which held its last harvest in 2010. Koloa is now a client of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co., a division of Alexander & Baldwin Inc. which will close this year. “We realized that the availability of sugar produced would at some point stop, so two years ago we began planting our own sugarcane on Kauai, and we have approximately eight acres of mature sugarcane growing on former Gay & Robinson plantation land,” he said. The company is looking into planting 10 to 12 more acres near Koloa town on Kauai and has been experimenting with pressed cane juice rather than sugar to make its rum. “With Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. closing, we’ve begun to accelerate our sugarcane cultivation activities in terms of planting and also rum production and we are hopeful that we’ll be able to at some point transition from using raw sugar from HC&S to cane juice from sugarcane that we have grown and crushed on Kauai,” he said.
Natchez, Mississippi maybe a small town of only 16,000 people, but it boasts about having a winery, a brewery and now a distillery. The Charboneau Distillery got started when Douglas and Regina Charboneau purchased King’s Tavern in 2013 with the intent to celebrate the art of hand crafted food and liquor. Doug and his son Jean-Luc have attended the American Distilling Institute’s Craft Distillers Conference and together are commit ted to being one of the little guys and bringing something different and interesting to the community. “My dad always wanted to do it in his semi - retirement and he called me up one day and say, Hey. Let’s start a rum distillery,” said Jean-Luc. “Turns out I have a knack for running the still. It only behaves when I run it.” Their first product, Charboneau White Rum, was released in Nov 2014. This rum is made using Raw Sugar and Molasses sourced from a Louisiana sugar mill a few hours away. Fermented in small 300 gallon batches and distilled in their 150 gallon copper pot still with a 4 plate column, they believe they extract the best from each batch, personally selecting the heads, hearts and tails. A dark rum will be available soon.
Utah has not always been thought of as an alcohol friendly state, but that is changing. First there was a collection of creative and tasty breweries and now there are distilleries. Jon Gregersen, Creed Law and Jensen Dobbs have created Distiller y 36. (Utah was the 36th state to repeal Prohibition.) It took four years of hard work (usually after their day jobs) for the three friends to rebuild an old warehouse, repurpose old equipment from many other industries and design and build their own still. Their focus will be rums, and have just released Brigham Rum.
Wicked Dolphin, has just partnered with one of Florida’s top award winning brewer, Cigar City Brewing, in Tampa, Florida to create an innovative new rum, Wicked Dolphin Brewer’s Series - Cigar City Brewing. Wicked Dolphin Brewers Series combines craft rum with some of Florida’s top craft breweries. The first in the series partners Wicked Dolphin Rum with Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL. Oak barrels, that once held premium American Bourbon, then aged Wicked Dolphin Rum for two years, were filled by Cigar City with a tropical style stout. Noted by dark roasted grains, Cacao nibs, citrus and dark fruit aromas, “Da un Beso a la Bottela” was available only to Cigar City’s “El Catador Club.” The barrels were then given back to Wicked Dolphin to be filled once more with their award winning rum, this time absorbing the stout notes remaining in the oak of the bar rel. Wicked Dolphin’s Brewer’s Rum series with Cigar City has produced a wonderful aged rum with a soft nose, warm notes from premium Florida sugarcane maturing in American Oak barrels with tastes of vanilla, oak and a great hoppy finish. Life of a Wicked Dolphin Brewers Barrel: 3 years Bourbon, 2 years Wicked Dolphin Rum, 10 months Cigar City Stout, 1 year with Wicked Dolphin Rum Brewer’s Series. “At Wicked Dolphin, we love experimenting. A lot of the team was brewing beer well before distilling rum, so the Brewer’s Series is a natural fit for us. We have some great breweries working with us throughout Florida, and we’re going to have some fantastic rum. What better way to start than, with one of the premier breweries in Florida and with our friends at Cigar City Brewing.” Stated Wicked Dolphin Rum owner, JoAnn Elardo.
ST. CROIX RUM FESTIVAL
The first Annual St. Croix Rum Festival dubbed “Flavor of Rum” will be held at the historical Fort Frederik in Frederiksted, near the Ann E. Abramson Pier on Sunday, May 29th. According to George Moore, the event’s organizer, the festival “is about rum, rum and more rum to excite your taste ‘buzz’.” The event promises to captivate its guests with an array of great tasting rums for sampling or purchasing from selected local and international rum exhibitors. Event-goers will also find great food from some of this island’s finest local cooks and restaurants; live music from local and international entertainers; and arts and handmade crafts — all while celebrating the territory’s richness and culture, the release adds. The festival is about the celebration and promotion of various rums to tourists and locals as well. And it is an event where everyone from all corners of the world is invited to try not only the rums, but also the different activities to include a flare bar tender show competition, rum bikini contest, BBQ rum contest and much more, according to the release. The rum festival is a one-day event with scheduled tours of the island taking place on May 27th and 28th. The Festival itself happens on Sunday, May 29th, from 3:00 p.m. to midnight.
RUMRATINGS HIGHEST RATED RUMS
Rumratings.com is a fun and educational website for any rum connoisseur, especially those of us landlocked in a snowstorm. It is an online rum community where members can create a personal rum cabinet, share stories of rum adventure, and discover new favorite rums. Recently, they compiled the results of 15,000 ratings to come up with their list of the best rums to try in 2016. The top five rums were: Dos Maderas Luxus, Ron Abuelo Centuria, Ron Millonario XO, Diplomatico 2000 Single Vintage and, at the top, Ron Quorhum 30-Year. The website also shows pictures of the rums and, as you would expect from $100.00-plus spirits, most of these fine rums are packaged in beautiful bottles that grace any rum shelf. I recommend this site as a great resource for any rum explorer. For example, there were ratings for twelve different Zacapa rums. www.rumratings.com.