February 2017- Rum in the News
"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
If you are in the middle of a freezing Winter like I am, you might check out Koloa Rum’s new estore: https://shop.koloarum.com/ for some Hawaiian warmth. The site offers over 170 items, including Koloa barware, bath & body items, gifts, home décor and a tasty selection of Hawaiian sauces, jams, jellies, cakes and candies. The Black Dog Farms Hot Sauces are guaranteed to warm your soul.
REAL McCOY LIMITED 12-YEAR OLD RUM
In 2013 Bailey Pryor was the first nominee to win an Emmy in five disciplines, Writing, Editing, Photography, Directing and Producing, for his documentary about famous rum-runner, Bill McCoy. McCoy was famous for delivering pure, non-diluted rum to his customers and is the source of the phrase “the Real McCoy.” After his work on his documentary, Bailey sought out the expertise of Richard Seale of the Foursquare Distillery in Barbados to help him create his own premium rum. Mr. Seale is adamant about creating ‘pure’ rums that have not been enhanced with color additives, perfumes or sweeteners. His rums are a blend of column still rums and pot still rums, drawing the best taste elements from each process and his age statement always reflect the age of the youngest rums in his blends. The two men have successfully released a filtered 3-year old White Rum, a 5-year old and a 12-year old rum under the Real McCoy label. In November of 2014, Got Rum’s Paul Senft had great things to say about the 12-year version. Now they have released a Limited Edition 12-year old variant. It is a blend of 90% 12-year old pot and distilled rums that has been aged in ex-bourbon barrels with 10% rums that have been aged in barrels that previously held Portuguese Madeira wine. The Limited Edition has a White Label with Batch No. 2016 on it; the regular 12-year old has a black label. Unlike some over-priced ‘limited editions’, the Real McCoy Limited 12-year old is fairly priced and a great value.
SUGARLANDS DISTILLING HAZELNUT RUM
Sugarlands Distilling Company has announced Hazelnut Rum as the newest addition to their award-winning line of spirits. The East Tennessee distillery partnered with distilling legends Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes from the hit series Moonshiners to develop the unique and tasty spirit. Hazelnut Rum meets the nose with sweet aromas of toasted hazelnut and brown sugar. It is a smooth, full bodied spirit that blends the tastes of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. At 80 proof, this brown spirit finishes with a sweet, oaky kick sure to satisfy the rum-lover in anyone.
“Our Hazelnut rum really became a labor of love, mainly because our wives became the first big fans of it,” said Manes. “Because of them, we were determined to make it better than any other homemade liquor that anyone had ever tasted.” Mark and Digger created hazelnut rum while filming for the Discovery Channel program. The duo combined real hazelnuts and rum in their backwoods still to create a one-of-a-kind flavored spirit. “In the words of our mentor Popcorn Sutton, ‘this is some of the finest liquors that’s ever been,’ ” said Ramsey. “Now it is our pleasure to share it with the rest of the world. We’re really humbled that folks are eager to try it.“ Mark and Digger released their Hazelnut Rum to the public at Sugarlands Distilling Company’s downtown Gatlinburg distillery January 3. The moonshiners hosted a viewing party for a recent episode of Moonshiners that evening. During the event, the distillery donated one dollar from each jar sold to first responders who helped fight the recent wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Mark and Digger grew up exploring the woods of East Tennessee. As young men they were introduced to a local moonshine expert, and quickly learned the trade through hands on experience. The duo now carries that journeyman craftsmanship forward with their distinctly delicious Hazelnut Rum.
RON SANTA TERESA
Venezuela’s oldest rum producer, RON SANTA TERESA, has signed a distribution deal with Bacardi, granting them exclusive international rights in all markets except Venezuela. Currently Ron Santa Teresa sells it collection of premium aged rums in some 30 markets, mainly in Spain, Italy and the United States. Santa Teresas rums are produced at Hacienda Santa Teresa, founded 220 years ago in El Consejo, in the state of Argua, Venezuela, and was the first Venezuelan producer to register a rum brand in the country.
In January, Bacardi and the musical trio, Major Lazer, announced a one-year collaboration to launch “The Sound of Rum,” a collective, creative partnership – the group’s first-ever global brand partnership of its kind – that’s more than traditional sonic branding. Elements throughout 2017 will include multimedia events and experiences, unique music offerings and the development of a batch of limited-edition BACARDÍ rum. As part of the brand’s music strategy, Bacardi worked with the group to ignite “The Sound of Rum” concept: a conversational movement of sound that blurs lines between reggae, dancehall, soca, hiphop and electronic music to bring fans of different genres together. With its roots set in Cuba, BACARDÍ is championing this global sound that pays homage to a distinct island vibe with a modern kick–perfectly in line with the spirit and Caribbean origins of Major Lazer. “This year for us is all about getting creative,” said DJ and producer Diplo. “We’re down with working with people who want to accelerate what we want to do musically, invest in our ideas, and create cultural moments and memories. BACARDÍ rum has been in the studios with us for ages and is part of the island vibe that inspires our sound, so the partnership comes from a deeper, more meaningful place.”
DJ and producer, Walshy Fire expanded, “The way Bacardi celebrates music and culture matches how we celebrate music and culture. They totally feel us when we say we want to make the world smaller by making the party bigger.”
Major Lazer’s forthcoming single “Run Up”, encapsulates the Sound of Rum and is slated to drop in early 2017, to be followed by a series of unique music experiences throughout the year (dates to be announced). The crew are also working on a short documentary which follows both back to their island roots surrounding the creation of a limited-edition rum, overseen by DJ and producer Jillionaire, in a special role of Ambassador of Rum at BACARDÍ, that taps into his extensive rum background having grown up in and around the service industry in Trinidad.
Bayou Rum Distillery, the largest private rum distillery in the U.S., was recently honored as the Best Large-scale Visitor Center through competition in Drinks International’s 2017 Distillery Experience Challenge. The Louisiana-based distillery, a front runner in the creation of award-winning American rums, is continuing to bolster its reputation as a leading travel destination – not only for the Gulf South United States, but also the world. “From the beginning, we have set out to share the process, history and taste of Bayou Rum with everyone who visits us. We believe we have something special here, and we want others to be able to experience it alongside us,” said Lisa Cortese, who runs the visitor center. Distilleries host thousands of visitors every year, and as with any other tourist attraction, creating memorable, positive and hospitable experiences is key to driving continuous traffic and establishing a foothold in the competitive travel and tourism marketplace. Drinks International, devoted to the global beer, wine and spirits industry, set out to find the best distilleries in the world. The Distillery Experience Challenge rewards excellence in hospitality, whether it’s teaching how a spirit is made, the history of the distillery and its environment, conducting a tasting, or hosting an event. In addition to the state-of-the- art distillery and visitor center, the 36,000 square-foot Bayou Rum property features a gallery celebrating the state’s historic role as a sugar cane producer and rum distiller, a 109-year-old farmhouse, a tasting bar and a gift shop. Noted by the judges as one of the best entries, Bayou Rum was credited with creating such a comprehensive facility that it put the visitor center and the brand on the map. Judging took place at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust’s London headquarters, and the panel of judges included: Graham Cox, the WSET’s UK business development director; Charles Maxwell, head of Thames Distillers; Joanne Moore, G&J Distillers master distiller; Christian Davis, editor, Drinks International. “We opened the visitor center at the distillery as a way for tourists and fans to truly experience, firsthand, the process of making Bayou Rum in the heartland of sugar cane farming,” said Trey Litel, co-founder and president of Bayou Rum. “This honor reflects the accomplishments and daily efforts of our team to provide what we believe is the best visitor experience in our industry.” This is not the first time the Louisiana at traction has been recognized as a leading travel destination. In 2016, the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association named the Bayou Rum Distillery Attraction of the Year. Founded in 2011 by brothers Tim and Trey Litel, alongside longtime friend Skip Cortese, Bayou Rum is handcrafted on-site the Louisiana way; in traditional copper pot stills using fresh Louisiana sugarcane. The award-winning flavor has been recognized 82 times in tasting competitions across the globe. In January of 2016, New York-based Stoli Group® USA became the exclusive national distributor of the award-winning Bayou Rum and its family of America’s Rum®.
This sounds like a great opportunity for our European friends to try famous, and possibly unknown, rums. Now, I will tell you upfront that my French is very poor. What follows is derived from several Google translation sessions. Rum Atitude is a ‘Box of the Month’ arrangement that can send 5 and 6 cl sample bottles every month. The first three boxes follow a set collection of six rums in 6 cl bottles along with an explanatory booklet with the tasting sheets of each of the rums. A flashcode is printed on the label of the sample which allows the taster to find more information on the corresponding rum with his smartphone. After the initial three boxes, you choose if you want to continue getting samples. You can let Rhum Atitude select the rums, based upon your feedback, or you can choose from over 500 other rums in their sample inventory. If you find one rum that you really like, you can purchase it from their online store La Cave à Rhum, which has over 800 rums. For more details, see http://www.rhumattitude.com/
GOLDEN DEVIL RUMS
David Driscoll of K & L Wines has teamed up with Laing Brothers in Scotland to introduce a series of single cask rums bottled at 100 proof into the U.S. market. Driscoll felt that the American market is already full of both value-priced and high-end rums. There were plenty of white mixing rums. There’s more than enough sweet sippers. We have a fair share of agricole rhums as well. What we don’t have enough of, however, are funky, high-ester, pure pot still Jamaican rums. Here are some of his first Golden Devil offerings:
2007 Monymusk 9-Year Old - Monymusk is the name of the Jamaican sugar factory near Clarendon distillery where a rum of the same name is produced. We rarely see Clarendon rums in the United States, as most of their production is sold to Diageo for use in their European Captain Morgan product and the Meyers product. Driscoll says this is a home-run for just about any classic Tiki drink, but the potency of the pot still flavor can likely cut through whatever you throw its way.
2006 Worthy Park 10-Year Old - Worthy Park is a centuries-old Jamaican rum distillery that ceased operations in 1960 before a new generation rebuilt the facility in 2005 and resumed distillation. Almost all of the rum made at Worthy Park is sold and consumed on the island of Jamaica. This Worthy Park 10 year old rum is a beautifully balanced, fully sippable expression of classic Jamaican rum flavor, steeped with tropical fruit and richness from the oak cask, but balanced by classic pot still flavors of over-ripe banana and wood polish. This is for high-end Daiquiri is and Mai Tais, or whatever else your Tiki desires call for.
1992 Hampden Estate 24-Year Old - Hampden is one of Jamaica’s oldest sugar estates, dating back to the 1750s. Hampden isn’t just known for being one of Jamaica’s best rums, it’s also known for being one of the funkiest and most flavorful; the result of a long, rustic fermentation process that is renowned for being as old school as it gets. This ancient 24 year old single cask is going to test the ester limits of even the most faithful Jamaican rum drinkers. If you liked Smith & Cross (which is also made at Hampden Estate), think of this rum as S & C Great Grandpappy! This is serious, glorious, and spell-binding Jamaican rum, only for the most dedicated of Tiki fans.
WICKED DOLPHIN RUMS
Wicked Dolphin currently has nine premium signature rums, 32 reserve rums and 17 different flavors of rumshine which are made with fresh fruits. Of all the different rums available, Head Distiller Dane Termini told Paul Burdziakowski of Wine and Craft Beverage News that their premium coconut flavors are currently their most popular. “We try to push the limits,” Termini said. “We are always trying to come up with a new product and experiment with new flavors.” On their way out visitors can also stop by the gift shop and purchase various items such as t-shirts, hats, shot glasses and mugs all of which have the Wicked Dolphin logo on it. JoAnne Elardo, Wicked Dolphin’s founder says they began selling merchandise and apparel in 2014 due to the demand coming from customers and as a way to help cover employee salaries.“ People collect brewery and distillery shirts,” Elardo said. “Customers were telling us that they wished they had a t-shirt to bring back home with them. We don’t charge for our tours so the sales from the gift shop pay for our employees who run the tours.” Today the distillery has put itself on the map as a tourist destination drawing people back time and time again. “We never expected to be a tourist destination,” Elardo said. “One of the biggest changes happening now is that people are more educated about the craft. The craft brewers are really educating people into seeing that you can have a better product when it is hand crafted.” The company recently launched a larger bottle size going from 750 milliliter bottles up to 1 liter and 1.75 liter bottles. They also purchased property south of the distillery, which they plan to use sometime in 2018-2019 in order to make a larger rack house and to hold their barrels for storage and aging. Elardo says they have been able to successfully grow their brand using minimal marketing resources and by focusing on good relationships with other businesses. “Florida is very diverse,” Elardo said. “We have millions of people a year visiting. It’s hard to market to people here because it’s always changing. When we have people on our tours learning our process and tasting our rums and vodkas, it’s the best marketing you can have. We seek good relationships with our restaurants, businesses and retail stores. It is through these relationships that we grow our brand. We are constantly growing. We are growing so much that we are starting to get calls from other states now. ” Elardo says she doesn’t mind being a small business and is just proud of the fact that their product is made from the finest available ingredients. “We’re okay being boutique rum,” Elardo said. “ It’s about making a great product that you can be proud of. When looking for quality and something hand crafted I want people to think of us. The absolute best part of all this is when you are at a restaurant or store and you hear someone ask for a Wicked Dolphin. To be honest, it kind of rocks you.”