"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
April 2017- Rum in the News
MAISON FERRAND BUYS WEST INDIES RUM DISTILLERY
Maison Ferrand, the award winning Cognac,Gin and Rum producer in the heart of Cognac,France, has acquired the historic West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados which has produced rum continually since the 19th century. Maison Ferrand is the owner of the Plantation rum brand with global distribution in 68 countries.The company produces Cognac and gin at its facility in Cognac, France and the purchase of West Indies Rum Distillery marks the first distillery acquisition outside of France. The acquisition signifies Maison Ferrand’s long term commitment to the quality production of Plantation rum.
Plantation Rum was first introduced in 2003 with the desire to bring rum to the same quality standards of the best Cognacs. Since then Maison Ferrand has been selecting, aging and blending rum from the best Caribbean distilleries for its award-winning Plantation Rum expressions. Barbados is the historical birthplace of rum making and Barbadian rum has been the backbone of Plantation vintage editions as well as its special blends.
“We are production guys and having our own distillery in the Caribbean has been a dream for many years,” says Alexandre Gabriel, proprietor of Maison Ferrand. “It is like getting married, we wanted to find a great match, one for life and we have found it in West Indies Rum Distillery and the exceptional rum makers there. The team there is as passionate as we are and we can’t wait to start producing delicious rum together.”
Barbados holds so much rum-making history, as does West Indies Rum Distillery, and Maison Ferrand is committed to working with this ancient distillery as one cohesive team to produce exceptional rum. Maison Ferrand plans to tap back to the early roots of this historic distillery and its very rich heritage. The distillery has some ancient pot stills, one that is possibly the oldest in the Caribbean and has been dormant for almost 100 years. Alexandre Gabriel is committed to bringing these stills back to life, and as he says ‘make them sing again.’ Additionally, The West Indies Rum Distillery aging warehouse is uniquely located right on the sea which imprints the rum with a specific style not found anywhere else.
Gabriel says, “We control the production of our Ferrand Cognac and Citadelle Gin because we own the facilities in Cognac. We love challenging ourselves to make the best there is and it requires total commitment. We wanted the same holistic involvement for our Plantation rum so this investment is the natural course of things for us. We are both excited and humbled by what lies ahead. When signing the purchase of this historical distillery, my thoughts went to Laurie Barnard and Thierry Gardere, two rum icons and friends that we have lost all too soon. They were great inspirations to me.”
TOBACCO BARN DISTILLERY
The Tobacco Barn Distillery is located in Southern Maryland, near the Chesapeake Bay.They grow all of the corn used in their Bourbon and Whiskies right there on their farm. Grains they don’t grow themselves are sourced from other local farmers and suppliers. The molasses they use in their rums comes from Domino in nearby Baltimore. They currently offer four to five rums. Tobacco Barn Rum is their signature Rum. It’s typically bottled at or near 80 proof to maintain its drinkability. Go Navy Beat Army was a rum specifically bottled to pay homage to this age-old rivalry. They definitely saw an increase in sales AFTER the 2016 football game. Dancing Bee starts with their base Rum and then they add just a touch of organic honey from Southern Maryland Beekeepers. The result is a slightly sweet spirit which retains its Rum notes and easy drinkability. Big Z Rum honors both Admiral Zumwalt and the Navy’s newest Destroyer which is named after him. It is aged in used bourbon barrels for up to one year. Each bottle is marked with the number of the barrel from which it came. Then there is U.S.S. Constellation Rum. Specially selected barrels of their rum are transported to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. There, they are loaded aboard the U.S.S. Constellation where they continue to age for up to an additional year in the bowels of the ship. During this “voyage” the barrels are subjected to an aging process unlike any other. The gentle rocking of the ship coupled with the fluctuations in temperature gives the Rum a deeper and richer flavor. Each bottle of U.S.S. Constellation Rum is marked with its unique Voyage number.
Pernod Ricard has released Havana Club Tributo 2017, the second installment in a series of limited edition sipping rums from the brand’s aged reserves. Asbel Morales, Havana Club Maestro del Ron Cuban, created the 2017edition from a blend of hand-selected base rums and a decades-old aguardiente. This aguardiente, or spirit base, has been matured in barrels that are more than 80 years old,and brings a distinctive dry note to the rum.“The extensive reserves at the Havana Club distillery provided us with a wealth of luxurious aged rums to experiment with,” said Morales.“By blending a decades-old aguardiente and our precious rums, we have achieved a totally new rum experience that is lively and complex, with a remarkable dry taste imparted by the original Cuban sugarcane character of the aguardiente. Havana Club Tributo 2017celebrates the craftsmanship at the heart of the production of premium rum, from the cane to the cask, and we hope rum drinkers around the world will enjoy it.” Each of the bottles of Havana Club Tributo is individually numbered and features Morales’ signature. Nick Blacknell, International Marketing Director at Havana Club International, adds: “We are delighted to have launched the latest edition in the Havana Club Tributo Collection and we look forward to building on the success of Tributo 2016. With only 2,500 bottles of Havana Club Tributo 2017 being released worldwide, we expect the expression to be popular among global rum and dark spirits connoisseurs who are looking for the next authentic Cuban rum to add to their repertoire.” Bottled at 40% abv, Havana Club Tributo 2017 is available in Cuba, Germany,Austria, Hungry, Greece, China, Denmark, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Italy, Mexico and Belgium.
MARAMA SPICED RUM
Spanish exporter Beveland Distillers offers several lines of rums: Ron Reliquary, Cayo Grande, Captain Bucanero and Caracas Club.Their latest release is Marama Spiced Fijian Rum. They start with a light, column distilled rum from Fiji. This is brought down to barrel strength with water originating from volcanic substrates, which has been purified in reverse osmosis system. Three and five year old rums are blended with extracts from exotic plants and fruits native to the island to impart notes of spice, vanilla and citrus. The nose is slightly sweet with notes of vanilla, coconut and walnuts,with spicy citrus and ginger elements on the palate. The finish gives a feeling of warmth and zest in the throat.
The House of Angostura is proud to announce its’ success at one of the most respected and high-profile trade competitions in the industry, The Spirits Business - Rum Masters Competition 2017. Its’ newest addition to the family of premium rums Angostura® 1787, was awarded a Gold medal in the Dark Rum- UltraPremium category. Angostura’s twelve year old rum (Angostura 1824®) and its Angostura1919®, both earned Gold medals in the Dark Rum- Aged 7-12 year and Gold rum- Super Premium categories respectively. Angostura® 7year-old premium rum and its 3 year old white rum, Reserva won silver medals.
In February 2017, the Spirits Business – Rum Masters competition brought together, leading and independent rum experts, who gathered at Rum and Sugar in London’s West India Quay, to recognize and honor the world’s finest brands, by engaging in a blind tasting competition. This year, the competition was judged by a panel chaired by Kristiane Sherry and joined by Timothy Falzon, head bartender at Mahiki; Chris Mathurin, co-founder of rumblog Rumming.co.uk; and Keegan Menezesm Drinkapparition blogger.
Destilería Serrallés has named Philippe Brechot as its new president and CEO as Félix J. Serrallés, Jr. retires after 36 years at the helm. Serrallés Jr., a fifth-generation member of the family which owns Destilería Serrallés, has led the distiller since 1981. During his tenure, the company has built its export markets and achieved “sustained growth” for Don Q in the US. He will continue to serve as chairman of the board of directors. Philippe Brechot brings to the role 25 years of international management, distribution and marketing experience, and has previously worked for Diageo, Moët Hennessy, and most recently was Managing Director at William Grant & Sons for Latin America. “We are fortunate to have found Philippe, a proven executive with ample experience growing premium brands in global markets,” said Serrallés Jr. “He will be an asset to lead our team as we continue to expand our brand’s footprint throughout the global spirits market. We have developed a solid team in the USA and we will continue to focus on growing Don Q in this important market. I am confident that Philippe’s experience in developing premium brands will create a unique synergy that will strengthen our ongoing efforts in the USA and beyond.” Sixth-generation family member Roberto J. Serrallés will continue in his current role as president of Serrallés USA, the company’s US distribution arm. Destilería Serrallés also confirmed its chief executive officer and executive vice president of Serrallés USA John Eason will continue in his role.
DRIFTER SPICED RUM
Australian surfer and rum lover Luke Horlin-Smith has teamed up with Aaron Woods and Sam Altorfer of Adelaide design studio Woodscannon to create Drifter Spiced Rum, a drink that’s all about riding the wave and enjoying the moment.
“Drifter started as an idea two years ago,” says Luke, “but going back even further, I grew up in hotels – working in bars. I always drank rum and had a passion for it. Aaron and I started talking about doing a spirit. I said rum is what I’m passionate about. Bacardi and all those old brands are great spirits, great products, but maybe their branding is very old. We thought there might be a gap there for rum and followed our passion.” Horlin-Smith wanted to create a spiced spirit that avoids the overpowering vanilla that is common in other spiced rums. Drifter adds only a hint of cinnamon, so it’s sharper and more spicy than most, making it perfect for creating a dark-spiced Manhattan, a dry daiquiri or a crisp mojito. “We wanted something unique that was a little bit rawer but still had those rounded edges,” says Luke.
“We found a great distiller in northern Queensland, then added naturally sourced ingredients and created the profile we agreed on.” “It’s a modern rum,” says Sam, who designed the label and has a background as a barman. The label’s design is based on hand painted typography and each of the limitedrun1,000 bottles was wax sealed by hand by the three-man team. You see a lot of bottles that have ‘handcrafted’ written on them,” says Aaron, “but this one really is hand crafted from barrel to bottle.” The Drifter team is currently working toward opening its own distillery, to be based on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Dictador wants to increase its global awareness and has redesigned the packaging for its XO Insolent and Perpetual blends. The Colombian rum producer sees the new look as more modern, yet maintains the original Japanese design and bottle shape. “The bold design makes a strong statement and will appeal to both new and existing clientele,” said Marek Szoldrowski, president of Dictador Europe.The move follows an announcement earlier last month that Dictador is entering an exclusive distribution agreement with Leung Yick in Hong Kong. The brand is now available in 80 markets,the firm said. Dictador XO Insolent is made from first-press sugarcane juice, distilled in pot stills and aged in a combination of ex-Bourbon barrels, ex-Sherry butts and charred Port casks. Dictador XO Perpetual, meanwhile is made from the fermentation of virgin sugar cane honey, distilled in an alembic still and aged in ex-Bourbon barrels, as well as ex-Sherry butts and Port casks. Dictador, which also produces cigars, coffee and chocolate, is based in Cartagena.
Benjamin Calais, has been the successful owner and winemaker at the Calais Winery in Hye, Texas. Now he has partnered up with friends James Davidson and Stephanie Houston to open Hye Rum, not far from the winery in the Texas Hill Country. “I just don’t feel like rum has the place it deserves in the U.S.,” Calais said. “ It’s used as a mixer, so it’s often as neutral as possible, and I just don’t think that’s part of the rum tradition. Bigger, fuller spirits, like a Jamaican-style rum but not as rough around the edges, that’s what we’re going for.” They hope to have the distillery open later this month and will offer traditional Caribbean-style and New Orleans-style drinks, like Mai Tais and Hurricanes. “We will have everything from sweet dessert-style cocktails like the Painkiller to more bone-dry options, like the Barrel-Aged Old Fashioned and Navy Grog,” Calais said. “We will have a daiquiri, our version of the Cuba Libre, a Dark and Stormy, a mojito, a piña colada… I feel like those are the fundamental rum cocktails. We’re going to run an old-fashioned pot still, fermenting from scratch, and distilling twice,” he said. “We’re not taking any shortcuts on the production side to get a bigger, heavier, deeper flavor. We’re using all the fermentation tricks that I’ve learned in the wine business to create a fuller product; I just have to remember we’re working with molasses instead of grapes.” He expects to have to educate visitors to the tasting room once it officially opens, but having run Calais Winery for nearly 10 years in a state still being introduced to its own wine, he is well-versed in what it takes to get people used to and preferential toward his beverages.
Karen Hoskin, president and co-founder of Montanya Distillers, will deliver the key note address at this year’s American Distilling Institute (ADI) Craft Spirits Conference. This marks the first time a woman has been named the keynote since the conference’s inception in 2003. “ADI has been a consistent source of support and education since I founded Montanya nearly a decade ago. It is an honor to provide the address, especially amid the pivotal growth the industry is experiencing” says Hoskin. One of the few women shaking up an industry traditionally dominated by men, Hoskin is a passionate advocate for the craft spirits space. In addition to underscoring the importance of collaboration among conference attendees, she plans to focus her speech on the vision of a bold and unified future for craft distilleries.
“It is imperative that we rally together to move our industry forward without losing sight of the bigger picture around us,” said Hoskin. “ I care about diversity and inclusion in the workplace,sustainability and the long-term environmental impact of our industry, and exploring big, paradigm-shifting ideas to keep little companies competitive.”
Montanya has seen solid double-digit growth for the ninth year running. The company’s gross profits were up 23 percent in 2016. Montanya grew their inventory of stored barrels of rum by 40%, which will help the distillery grow into the future. Hoskin, along with her husband Brice, founded Montanya Distillers in 2008 in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She maintains an active role in the day-today production, distillation and bottling, as well as oversees sales, marketing, brand and product development. Today, Montanya is distributed in 40+ states and seven countries and has been recognized both nationally and internationally for superior quality and its green business practices. The 2017 ADI Craft Spirits Conference and Expo runs April 3rd–6th, 2017, in Baltimore, MD . Hoskin’s keynote will be live streamed through Facebook.