Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Northern Michigan Update...

Now that I will be in one place for a few days I can do a proper update. Let's breifly talk about the Distillers we have been to...

New Holland Brewer & Distillers
A very nice production facility. Jill was very helpful and ful of great info. Believe me it will be a full upcome blog entry! 
We did not stop at their store and/or pub. If it reflects their operations we viewed it would be fun, nice and delicious. I'll talk their rums when we do the full blog. Three rums and three distinct flavors.

Northern Latitudes Distillery
Mark and crew just opened in October, and what they have now, even beyond their great white rum is phenomenal. This is a distillery based in quality... It is in everything they do. More on their written blog here when we come back home... Don't miss any of these features, we struck it pretty rich and we have at least two more Distillers to visit/taste.

Great Lakes Distillery
We discovered this one about 3 years ago and were attracted by their vodkas. The cherry vodka is just fabulous. Well their wesite keeps telling us that they will have a rum "soon." So far no such luck. If made they way they have done their whiskey's and vodkas... Excellent!

Mission Table Tasting Rooms
This one was a bit confusing but far from anything bad. They were a bit crowded, we found them without any pre-contact so I really could not get a lot of information. I have some notes and info gathered -- watch for their feature at a later date as well.

So -- your assignment is to visit these sites both online and in person. Please tell them you found then via Rick The Rum Runner!?! I love to hear my name and these hard working distillers like to hear that there is a blog out here ---- Just for them

Rum all around!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Running Rum

Sunday  was  a busy day for Rick the Rum Runner, we visited three Distillers and sampled two white rums. Much more detail to follow but I will quickly run them down here today.
We drove to Grand Traverse Distillery looking to see if they had moved. Forward on their rum that they listed as "coming soon" on their website over the last year. Alas, no. A shame as their vodkas are great and I know a rum by them would be quality.
Driving over to Lake Leeannu we discovered Northern Latitudes. They were not on our list but my wife found them in a visitor's guide. Well worth the drive and we will follow up soon with a story about them. Every product. We tasted was top notch!
We also found Mission Table. This seems to be part of a brew, distillation conglomerate. I am doing more research and hope to follow up.
For now, this is Rick the Rum Runner, talk to you again, soon.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

We're Here!

Made it to Traverse City. Visited New Holland Brewing & Distillery... Great experience (more later). 
Found another distillery - Northern Latitudes. We shall try to explore. Weather is really Autumnish. Still the rum keeps one warm. More later. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Second Half of Michigan Road Trip!

We ended Wednesday talking about New Holland Brewing and Distilling as well as a favorite of ours (Mr & Mrs Runner) Grand Traverse Distillery. We plant to visit them and any other distillery that might pop up.... However, after the better part of a week, all good things must come to an end. Fear not RTRR still has plans and we still need to get home.
By adjusting the trajectory, we can swing East and swing through Chelsea Michigan and find Ugly Dog Distillery. I find we can buy it in many many places in Michigan and may "pre-taste" but still I love Distillery tours! This puts us in a great position to drive to Sturgis and see Big Cedar Distillery. They have Castaway Rum and a spiced version as well. As a guy who once disliked spiced rums -- I am panting to slurp this one.

OK folks that is the itinerary, so far. As before be on the lookout for updates on the road and I will attempt to keep the Monday-Wednesday-Friday posting (as well as bonus ones hopefully!!). So, until next week (while we are on the road) and most likely a special Saturday New Holland Update.... I am ---------->

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Off we go --- Again...

OK Travel plans are gelling. We have hotel reservations and we picked a direction to travel. 

We will be right by Journeyman Distillery and would love to stop and say hi (still not 100% out of the question) but most likely we will drive up to Holland Michigan Saturday and stop at the production campus of  New Holland Brew and Distillery. We have been emailing and don't know if we will meet the owners, but we hope to be there for a tour... I love touring Distilleries, let's you see the distiller's vision and the whole crew's mission. 

Once Sunday comes up upon us we will be spending the better part of the next week in the Traverse City, Petosky, Mackinaw area, we plan to visit Grand Traverse Distillery. Now, we discovered this fine venture a few years ago, and fell in love with their Vodka, the cherry to be exact. Since then they have stated on their website that a Rum is "coming soon" well, so is Christmas, and I can't wait for that either, so I want to ask and get an answer to THE questions..... When?

So -- that takes care of 1/2 the stops.... Stop by Friday and find out the two remaining. Also -- if you are in that area or know it well, please email us with any other distillery stops -- we WANT more rum!

Monday, July 22, 2013

How do you do it?

Today's subject is simple. how do I -- or you (if you love your rum) get restaurants and or bars to carry craft rums? Now Mrs. Runner and I love to go out to eat and I'd love to be able to request any number of fabulous craft rums over the adequate yet mundane choices offered in so many places.
I know the Distillers reading this have one avenue -- they can "sell" the places on their product via distributors and/or in person. But I am not planning to stock the more regular places we visit buy buying bottles for them to sell back to me, one shot at a time. So do I ask to see the manager and request one or more brands I'd like to see there and perhaps use my substantial clout via this blog to get them to carry them for me? It's not like I am that well known in most of these places, and I wonder what sway I'd have over them?
Just tossing that out to you as an open question. I'd love to see comments upon it. 
Meanwhile; we leave for Michigan next Saturday the 27th. So far we are looking to either swing east and visit two places on the way up towards our final destination in the Traverse City/Petosky area, and when we leave around August 2, we get a third on the way back south. The other selection is to do that in reverse. Still up for discussion. There is at least one other in the area where we will spend the week, so we could hit 4-5 all told -- more if we find them
Back soon with more detail -- See you Wednesday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Rick is on the Road Again!

Yes, we will be visiting 4 distilleries (Disclaimer --- maybe more maybe less, may or may not be any/all mentioned here today) and finding out about their product beginning next weekend! 

So far we are planning to visit: New Holland Distillery, Ugly Dog Distillery, Grand Traverse Distillery and Big Cedar Distillery. If I see any others, trust I will be stopping. I have also reminded myself to ask at bars and restaurants, as they sometimes have others or even, Their Own! The finality of these stops is based on their availability, and us being there! While I try to make every effort - I am vacationing and tend to have a more Devil-may-care attitude than usual. Of course my usual attitude is also quite DMC....

I can assure you of a few things. We will be visiting Chateau Chantal for wine... LOVE this winery. Also, while visiting Grand Traverse Distillery, they have NO RUM! But their website says "Coming Soon." Well, so am I guys!!! Hope to talk about the arrival of a rum and a taste for poor, dry-mouthed Rick.

Please click on the links in the story to take a look at the Distilleries. If you are hitting the road or traveling to other cities - please click on the links in the PLACES YOU SHOULD VISIT sidebar (I love that word - Sidebar) to the left. this will take you to Distillers around the country. Plan a visit, taste their spirits and please send me an email telling me all about it.... Heck I may even publish your review/letter. You are welcome to include pictures too! If you know of, or have a place NOT on my list -- please use the email link to send me info as well!

Stay tuned here as Rick the Rum Runner hits the road again!!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hello & Welcome to.... The Striped Pig

When I got a hearty "Hello" and a follow on my Twitter Account from these fine folks -- I had to say -- Love The Name. Let's take a look at this Distillery set in Charleston South Carolina (Another good reason for me to return and -- DANG we missed you on our trip!!!). Oh I stole pictures from your gallery --- Hope you don't mind.


Their Tradition and History
I only post an introduction to their Tradition and origin of their name. I encourage all to visit their website and read, look and be entertained... Also make plans to visit and sample! RTRR

The original “Striped Pig” is referred to in an Old Sturbridge Village booklet, Rum and Reform, in Old New England. In this selection from A History of the Striped Pig, 1838, we learn of the pig.
This tongue-in-cheek story obviously drove home the point of the temperance reformers like Carrie Nation and Frances Willard; the pig symbolized all drinking men of that time in our country’s history. 

South Carolina Grown
At Striped Pig, we pride ourselves on only using the freshest, local ingredients to make our liquors.Myer’s Farm in Bowman, South Carolina, is the source of our corn, rye and wheat. A fourth-generation farm that has been around since the late 1800s, Myers Farm has over 1,700 acres of land.
Our Stripes are green.
All of our ingredients are locally sourced, contributing to our efforts to stay as green as possible. Also, our waste is donated to local farmers to feed their animals and grow their crops.
You will be impressed to find that the mill house in our facility, most of the furniture, wall décor and even the bars that we serve you on are all made from recycled wood from old barns in surrounding areas.
The Distillery
Welcome to Striped Pig’s Distillery! Here you can learn about our building, our machinery, and how we go about making the delicious products you enjoy.
Everything about Striped Pig is customized to our exact preferences, therefore delivering you the best product for your taste buds.
Our product begins in our own mill where the mash is created then filters into our machinery.
Our top-of-the-line machinery was designed from start to finish by our two head distillers, Johnny Pieper and Todd Weiss. Not only did they design every aspect of the machinery, but also put it together themselves. No detail was overlooked in creating our state of the art, custom-made copper plate condensers and stainless steel boilers.

 So, the call from Rick is ---> If you are in or plan to be in the Charleston SC area -- Let's pay them a visit! In the mean time, I will have to imagine what their Rum tastes like... Someday soon maybe I can get a sample..
In addition to the website, they have a Facebook page too

 That's me!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ipswich Rum -- New on my list

Wanted to welcome some of the new Distilleries that have made it to my list of PLACES YOU SHOULD VISIT. Now, when I say they are new -- they are new to ME. I may have overlooked them or not been aware - but they are out there. Part of my job, running rum, is to keep abreast of distilleries and in doing so -- keeping you up-to-date as well.

Turkey Shore Distilleries
Ipswich Rum

These are the distillers and their product we want to introduce you to....

The History

Part of this journey is that I love finding out the history behind these rums. Distilled spirits and rum in our case is like a living, breathing thing. Finding out HOW, WHEN, WHY, WHERE is what it is all about. Here, in their words, is a brief history of Turkey Shore Distillery. (RTRR)

Evan Mat TankTurkey Shore Distilleries LLC was formed in 2010 in the historic coastal town of Ipswich, Massachusetts by two childhood friends and locals, Mat Perry and Evan Parker. The idea of starting a distillery first came to Mat in 2007 when he was on a one year sabbatical from his job teaching high school history. During that year, Mat attended graduate school in Hanover, New Hampshire where he was exposed to a robust culture of locavores. Sampling the delicious abundance of what New Hampshire and Vermont had to offer, Mat was struck by the lack of local options when it came to spirits. As a history teacher and avid rum drinker, the lost connection between New England and its rum proved an alluring basis for a possible revival.
The idea of starting a rum distillery gained traction one night when Mat pitched the idea to Evan in a pub over of couple of Ipswich Ales (product of an excellent local brewery). Dogged in his approach to all things in life, Evan did the research that proved micro-distilling was a movement that was sweeping the nation and so it was, indeed, possible to open a distillery. Further research revealed a distillery that operated in Ipswich during the colonial days. That distillery owned by John Heard, which operated from 1770-1836, was located on the street that both Mat and Evan grew up on (Turkey Shore Road) and that the barrels of molasses that originated in the West Indies were unloaded at an old wharf called Hunt’s Wharf, located in Mat’s back yard along the Ipswich River. The molasses and rum were then rolled back and forth across the street from Hunt’s Wharf to the distillery. Furthermore, the manager of the distillery, Nathaniel Heard (John’s brother) lived in Mat’s house. Upon this discovery of a personal connection, Turkey Shore Distilleries was reborn. Now, more than175 years later, Turkey Shore Distilleries once again sits along the banks of the Ipswich River ready to revive the ancient tradition of producing New England rum!

 Now, making a rum is only the start of a process. Ingredients, methods, process control even marketing and sales are all part of it. The biggest basic piece of machinery is

Oi Rum Logo Hi Res
250 Ipswich PotstillAiming to reconnect New Englanders to a significant (but largely forgotten) part of their past, Turkey Shore Distilleries produces a line of hand crafted rums under its flagship brand Old Ipswich Rum. Using table grade sweet molasses from the sugarcane fields of Louisiana and a custom built 250 gallon copper pot still built in Kentucky, Old Ipswich Rum is a true American product destined to awaken the New England spirit in all of us. We sincerely hope that through our commitment to using only the finest ingredients and our devotion to producing rum at the highest quality standards, that both experienced and novice rum drinkers alike will gain a greater appreciation for this wonderful and most versatile of locally made spirits. Have a drink with history and please enjoy Old Ipswich Rum responsibly!

Apparently, they are doing some real good.... Here is a sampling of press about them:
Rums the Word; Salem Evening News
North Shore Magazine Fall 2012 Addition
Back in the Mix: New England Rum
Getting the rum-around
April 20, 2011
Full of spirit: Rum distillery combines two loves

Turkey Shore Distilleries: Rum With A Sense of History
Locavore Liquors
Still Waters
Taste of the Nation, Boston: A Great Showcase of Local Craft Beer & Spirits
Not too shabby, eh? 

Links for you ---> Facebook, Twitter, Webpage

To my readers -- please drop by - visit and leave word that you heard through me. To the Folks at Old Ipswitch Rum.... I have to plan a visit -- but like many have a tight travel budget. If there is a way I can sample your rum and share it with our readers -- I'd appreciated it!! Also -- please link us from your website as we do you??

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday -- Rum News!

Things from around the Rum Web...

We can't wait to taste! RT @Local_149 Looking forward to hosting @girlspintout tonight with some beer cocktails featuring @PrivateerRum!
Also from Privateer...
Racking up casks to be conditioned. It's great to add to our family of barrels. We now have over 100! @PrivateerRum
We need a picture of the missing bathtub that used to live in front of the distillery. If anyone snapped a picture we could use it. KUSA wants to put out an APB but needs a photo.
Check out the updates to our website, now featuring additional news and events and details about where you can find Busted Barrel

Well, at least there's always an occasion for a drink!

30 Signs You're Almost 30    

We are one of America's coolest distilleries! Neat!  

Future Siesta Key Gold Rum boiling in the still. It will go into barrels soon and not see the light of day for a few years.
Future Siesta Key Gold Rum boiling in the still. It will go into barrels soon and not see the light of day for a few years. 

"New Orleans, which they believe wholeheartedly is "the greatest city in America..."

Yes, yes it is.

We know y'all have all been patiently waiting for the release of Oryza Gin & Rougaroux 13 Pennies Praline Rum... Guess what? It's HERE!

To celebrate the release of both of these fantastic products, we will be having a Release Party THIS Saturday, July 13th from 12pm - 6pm at the distillery (1635 St. Patrick St. in Thibodaux). This is your chance to try samples of both products, as well as in cocktails, with bottles available for purchase. To top it off, our distillers will sign the first 100 bottles of Oryza Gin just for you :) These products are not yet available in stores.. GET IT HERE FIRST!

To get more details, call 985-446-0002 or message us on Facebook. Thanks for all your support!

Downslope is now on Pinterest,

Check out tailwinds Spirits now carried 20 West Wine in Lombard!

Brand new menus are in the tasting room today! More summery drinks, more sweet cocktails, more rum and whisky drinks! Thursday night, don't miss the Aquila Summer Concert Series, followed by our ongoing weekly open mic comedy and poetry night, with 1748 Promotions. And we still have tickets available for the Stills in the Hills festival in Central City this weekend!

We're working hard to revive Boston's legacy as a leader in rum production. See what makes our Boston Rum unique, and while you're at it, try the Boston Old Fashioned: muddle an orange slice and maraschino cherry. Add 2 OZ of Boston Rum, 1/3 OZ simple syrup, and a couple dashes of Angostura bitters. Stir. Add ice.

Had some nice visitors yesterday....Alicia Raben and Blake Kapelka from TopGolf Austin, along with Ashley Raben and Janet Budmon. Alicia was the top seller of Blake's creation, The White Hat Hook, during the month of June. We're happy they stopped by to visit our distillery and very grateful to TopGolf for supporting Texas craft distilleries!

Read our Exclusive Interview with Founder of the American ‪#‎Rum‬ Association (ARA), Mrs. Kelly Railean.


Tune in for more -- and stuff from my rum-addled brain -- every Monday -- Wednesday and Friday -- better yet -- Subscribe by email and get the blog sent to you!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rum Related Stuff
Chattanooga is now Richland Rumland!
Richland Distilling Company Launches Artisan Rum - Chattanooga Based Distributor Appointed To Introduce Handcrafted Ultra-Premium Rum In Eastern Tennessee:

RICHLAND, GA, July 8th 2013 – The Richland Distilling Company is partnering with @[186530668102926:274:Premium Brands, INC.] – the Wine and Spirits Division of @[100437726668871:274:Carter Distributing Company] in Chattanooga, TN, - to introduce and distribute Richland Rum in South-Eastern Tennessee.

    Richland Rum is proudly hand-made in Richland, GA, to rekindle the standards once set by makers of fine Rhum Agricole and Cachaça, while reversing the negative trend in quality expectations among consumers, brought on by mass production and bulk blending practices.

    Sourcing and processing of organic cane syrup, slow fermentation, copper pot distilling in single day batches, aging in American oak barrels and ultimately bottling when reaching maturity, are all handled on-premise, with one objective: to bring out the amazing purity, floral qualities, harmonious aromas and velvet elegancy of aged rum, made from natural sugar cane syrup.

    "Richland Rum is honest and authentic and does not depend on celebrity endorsements or marketing ploys to project an imaginary experience as a substitute for quality” said Erik Vonk, the company’s founder and proprietor. 

     Bob Monroe, General Sales Manager of Carter Distributing Company added: “ Richland Rum is a great addition to our growing spirits portfolio; its premium quality meets the increasing demand for high end, hand crafted, superior products by sophisticated consumers. We are delighted to be taking Richland Rum to the Chattanooga market and we take great pride in our partnership with the Richland Distilling Company”.
Richland Distilling Company Launches Artisan Rum - Chattanooga Based Distributor Appointed To Introduce Handcrafted Ultra-Premium Rum In Eastern Tennessee:

RICHLAND, GA, July 8th 2013 – The Richland Distilling Company is partnering with Premium Brands, INC. – the Wine and Spirits Division of Carter Distributing Company in Chattanooga, TN, - to introduce and distribute Richland Rum in South-Eastern Tennessee.

Richland Rum is proudly hand-made in Richland, GA, to rekindle the standards once set by makers of fine Rhum Agricole and Cachaça, while reversing the negative trend in quality expectations among consumers, brought on by mass production and bulk blending practices.

Sourcing and processing of organic cane syrup, slow fermentation, copper pot distilling in single day batches, aging in American oak barrels and ultimately bottling when reaching maturity, are all handled on-premise, with one objective: to bring out the amazing purity, floral qualities, harmonious aromas and velvet elegancy of aged rum, made from natural sugar cane syrup.

"Richland Rum is honest and authentic and does not depend on celebrity endorsements or marketing ploys to project an imaginary experience as a substitute for quality” said Erik Vonk, the company’s founder and proprietor.

Bob Monroe, General Sales Manager of Carter Distributing Company added: “ Richland Rum is a great addition to our growing spirits portfolio; its premium quality meets the increasing demand for high end, hand crafted, superior products by sophisticated consumers. We are delighted to be taking Richland Rum to the Chattanooga market and we take great pride in our partnership with the Richland Distilling Company”.


We at Rick The Rum Runner are very happy about this. Great to see this distillery grow and get closer to spreading Richland Rum further!


Hey JAD fans! Want to try some Busted Barrel Rum? It is now available at Fitzgerald's 1928 in Glen Ridge! The first five people who post here proof they ordered a Busted Barrel rum drink will get a free rocks glass! The next 25 who order a Busted Barrel rum drink and can prove it get shot glasses. Get over there and order some! Make sure you ask for it by name!
Hey?? A bit of a drive for us right now -- but to you there in the area --- Go for it and report back!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Rick's Rambles

It has been a busy month and it's only 8 days old! During this time I looked at the movement of RTRR blog here and took stock.

We have a pretty loyal readership, a few thousand reads a month and I see a real joining of this blog and American Made Rum, our Facebook presence. I like. I can't seem to get as many likes for American Made Rum as I'd like - but I can't drive about and twist everyone's arm to click the LIKE button. Withe the stats I see on activity -- it can't be the same 87 people accounting for all the activity there. So if you go there -- please LIKE us... it helps our placement to be seen by even more people.
This disparity is why I experimented with copying some of the input to AMR to this blog to attract more activity here. 3000 reads a month and 2 registered users??? How many of you subscribe, or receive via email and I don't know about it? Anyway -- thanks to all the people who DO read both this blog and American Made Rum.

Another thing is the remodel going on here with me building the directory of Distillers. Yeah, I'm lazy (face it I'm a rummy). As I say often around the house - It will get done when it gets done. I am enjoying Summer and tend to drive off on some adventure or another and neglect things here a bit. Which brings me to another point. I took a bit of vacation from blogging over the last few days, but fear not; I should be back in the grove as we go on. I tend to be VERY laid back in the summer and being retired means I even forget what day it is. I like the Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule I have adapted and will generally keep to that, so a return to normal is forthcoming.

Rum related entry:
Was at a local restaurant that we love for their great food and wonderful bar, Hackney's. We stopped after a warm day of driving (chasing down Garden statuary -- the place used to crawl with these places, now, when I want some -- nothing...?) we stopped at the Palos Hackney's and my wife ordered a Sweet Tea Vodka, tea and lemonade drink. When asked who's Vodka it was, I was happy to hear -- Firefly!!! Oh and I sipped it and it was great!!! Which leads to another question. How many of us ask for the brand of what ever liquor we want and What is the best way to get a bar to carry the rum we wish?? I confess I need to do this more but hear stories of "If my distributor doesn't carry it I can't get it." Is that rue? What up wid that??

OK back to the statue search and clean up after the July festivities here at the Rum Cave in Tinley Park.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Happy Independence Day ! Rum and the Founding of our nation...

A big thanks to Richland Rum (for posting this on American Made Rum) and to (For publishing it back in 2010 for us to republish here -- for you!) RTRR


Artisan Rums

The Second American Revolution

America’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking in artisan and micro distilleries across the USA, and rums are leading the way. Once the proud property of the colonies, rum is striving to return to its historical place here at home. Dozens of craft rum distilleries are springing up across the country. Some do business in New England and celebrate the historical birthplace of American Rum, while others embrace the versatility of rum and strike out on a path both traditional and creative.

Colonial American history is rum’s history. Early American history is inextricably tied to the history of rum in the Western Hemisphere. Whiskey production needed precious grains far more important for food, and strong beer joined hard ciders and imported brandy as the quality alcoholic beverages of choice (along with a cornucopia of hideous homemade potables). Once Caribbean rums started arriving in port, early American settlers were hooked. It didn’t take long for Yankee ingenuity to see the potential in the molasses barrels arriving alongside the ‘kill-devil’ rum. Sugar refineries in the Caribbean produced far more residual molasses than they could ever use. This dark syrup was cheap, it did not spoil and clever colonists soon found it an inexpensive and tasty source for alcohol production.

Rum distilleries began springing up along most of the Atlantic coast, with New England home to many. Phil Prichard of Prichard’s Distillery offers this: “There was a time when Rum was America’s largest export and greatest source of revenue for the new colonies. There were over a hundred rum distilleries in New England alone; the shipping centers all created great commercial rum markets. You might say, with that “yo ho ho and a bottle of rum,” it was American Rum they were hoisting! The rum of course was made from molasses produced in British and French tropical islands”. Most of these distilleries were very profitable.

Was it good quality rum? Not at first, with some noticeable exceptions. Was it popular? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Cheaper than the imported rums and other spirits, American rum soon dominated virtually every household, farm, roadhouse, and tavern. With popularity came increased attention to detail and craftsmanship; American rums soon gained a reputation in Europe for outstanding quality. Barrels marked “Rhode Island Rum” were worth their weight in gold to European aristocrats. In New England, good rum was dirt cheap and this noble spirit dominated the menu at local pubs.

Cocktail creation soon followed, some substituting rum for whiskey or brandy, others original in their birth. Punches, flips, shrubs, and mimbos were just a few of the colorful names for tavern and kitchen mixologies. Quaffed to stave off cold, consumed as breakfast to start the day, rum was considered to be vital to your health. Hey, who are we to argue?

Rum became the Colonists’ currency, barter, and drink. By 1700, any rum you drank was more likely to be produced in North America than in the Caribbean. Alas, all good things usually come to an end, and a cash-strapped England needed income. The Molasses Act of 1733 followed by the Sugar Act of 1764 taxed, tariffed, and restricted the colonial rum industry. In his book ‘And a Bottle of Rum’, Wayne Curtis states “…excessive regulation is not the spirit of America. Unrestricted experimentation is.” That’s how the angry Colonists saw it, and trouble soon flared up. “It wouldn’t take the American Colonists long to learn that they could buy molasses from the French cheaper than the English.” states Phil Prichard; “More so than the tax on tea, when the British imposed the tax on molasses, it provided the fuel for the rebellion and Rum became the fire of the American Revolution.” The ‘Boston Tea Party’ was as much about rum tariffs as it was about tea tariffs, and maybe more. Conflicting stories have the tea going into Boston Harbor but the rum possibly going ashore – I believe that one.

Regardless, the Revolutionary War saw molasses rapidly drop out of the picture, forcing rum out and, by necessity, whiskey in. American Rum languished, content to let the Caribbean (along with increasing production in Central and South America) to dominate rum markets. It took the Federal government to tell us ‘you can’t have that’ to stimulate Americans into another love affair with rum – thank you, Prohibition and ‘rum running’. Illicit rums arrived on our shores alongside whiskies, and Americans who could afford the travel flocked to Cuba and reacquainted themselves with the romance of rum.

The Second Rum Revolution can thank beer and Mother England. The ‘microbrewery’ wave first arrived in the UK, with a returned interest in traditional ‘barrel’ or ‘cask’ beers. This local-production idea spread to the USA in the 1980’s, and craft breweries sprung up across the country. Entrepreneurs embraced the marriage of quality yeasts and good water to produce alcohol, and artisan spirits soon appearing on the scene. Many of these have their roots in microbreweries that decided to spread their wings into distillation. Rediscovering their early American roots, rumophiles started experimenting with different qualities of molasses and cane sugar, and domestic rum production sprung anew.

The typical American qualities of experimentation and independence led to a spectrum of production methods. New infusion and ageing methods joined with traditional approaches, resulting in a wide variety of new American Rums on the scene. Some purists are chasing down historical representations of past spirits, while creative distillers are crafting unique rums for selective niche markets. Throw in competition and pride of your craft, and a ferment (bad pun acknowledged) of creativity has resulted in dozens of American artisan rum distillers.

American artisan rums are springing up like mushrooms after a good rain. When you talk to these folks, their love for rum’s flexibility and creative potential really shines through. Sometimes, it’s a lifestyle question, as you can see from Kelly Railean of Railean Handmade Texas Rum: “Rum is & has been a passion of mine. Sure, friends & family thought I was crazy to leave my cushy wine job & start up a rum distillery, but my husband & I had a vision. Some of the best rum I ever had came from small, unknown distilleries that we had stumbled upon while sailing in the islands. Years ago, much of the gulf coast of Texas was covered with sugarcane and rum was a staple of the pirates who once sailed these waters. It just seemed like a perfect fit to build a rum distillery on the Texas Gulf Coast where I live and play”. John Couchot is Rogue Spirit’s master distiller: “It's great to see American rum come in to it own and stepping away from the drinks like Mai Tai and the old rum and coke. People have found though the microdistilling movement that rum is a rich and wonderful drink that can stand up to any bourbon or scotch on it's own. I welcome rum back into the American glass with open arms”. Daniel Barnes of Treaty Oak Platinum Rum asserts “Modern American rums, like artisan spirits in general, have found their place in the global rum community. (Gold and silver medal) results are showing that American rums will continue to gain respect and attention both in the U.S. and abroad”. Susan Karakasevic of Charbay Distilleries offered a creative, artistic view: “When (we) decided to distill an American Rum, the focus was to accent the perfume of the ingredients. For Rum, there are several fractions of the cane. (We) chose the most expensive fraction of the sugar cane, the cane syrup. At first there was talk about a molasses, but (we) are perfumers at heart and that means sourcing the premium part of the cane”.

I had the pleasure of recently showing off some of these rums, first in London and then Miami. Ian Burrell is the grand guru of the UK RumFest in London, and he graciously supported a seminar on some representative American rums at the October 2008 show in London. Ian strongly supports the ideals and efforts of our growing craft distilleries: “American artisan rums show how versatile the rum category can be. From Jamaican style rums, to Barbados style, French style, Spanish style, British style, South American/Guyana style, and now unique and original American styles, the current American rum distilleries are showing both their heritage as well as the versatility of the rum category”. Most of the seminar attendees were either UK/EU/Russian bartenders, mixologists, or bar/spirits store owners. All were amazed with the variety and quality; when I told them that this was only a small sample of the full spectrum in the USA, they were blown away.

Robert Burr is the publisher of the Gifted Rums Guide and host of the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami . 2009 was the inaugural year of the event, and its raging success set the tone for 2010. In addition to rums from every corner of the globe, Robert was keen to have as many American rums on display as possible. “We need to keep an eye on these up and coming American rums,” he stated. “We see lots of pride, enthusiasm and creativity among these ardent distillers.”

Many of my American Rums eventss did present an issue. For rum distilleries that wish to take a ‘vineyard approach’, who try to be strong locally and have a limited regional identity, public recognition outside the industry (and frequently inside as well) can be hard to come by. For those who are striving to expand outside of their local geographical base, they run right up against the ever-decreasing availability of cooperative distributors. Internet store sales address part of this, but not enough. Marketing these craft distilleries require lots of man-hours and more than a small budget. An expanding number of such distilleries are relying on Facebook, Twitter, and other e-media sites. While cost-effective, they have to compete against the information and volume clutter prevalent with such methods and can get lost in the overwhelming tide of information. Fortunately, there are more than a few of us – rummiers, rum marketers, events promoters, writers – who are happy to pass on to the public the increasing enthusiasm about the return of American Rum.

Bits & Pieces of News and Fun

Good Morning! Passing on rum things you may have missed, as I scroll the Statuses and Tweets
Some days there is so much cool stuff going on -- just got to share 
From American Made Rum and our twitter feed...

The NJ Senate and Assembly have both passed the Craft Distillery bill. Now it is up to the Governor to sign it into law, which we hear might happen as early as Thursday! This means that soon your favorite distillery will be able to have tours of our facility and that you will be able to stop by, have a taste and go home with some rum and some JAD swag! We are SUPER EXCITED!!!!!
Taildragger rums bring home silver medals in the Beverage Testing Institutes rum tasting competition. With a score of 88 Taildragger Amber rum becomes their highest rated American born gold rum.

Railean Handmade Texas Rum
Heading to work....submitted the Railean Vodka label and the Railean White Whiskey label to the Feds last night! Now if only I could get all this Blue Agave and Rum made so I can work on the new stuff!
Awesome! Have you had a Bywater Bomber yet?!

Babies! (375 ml bottles, now available only at the Tasting Room in Crested Butte)

Bayou Rum started shipping late last week and Rouse's Supermarket is apparently first to market with Bayou Rum! Check out this picture from:

Rouses Supermarkets #32
4350 Highway 22
Mandeville LA 70471

We look forward to seeing you Saturday

Stray Tweets: (Not responsible for the links.... My editor says they are live.... but who knows!)

Ah, the DIY ingenuity of the Baltimore dive-bar :) --> RT : Ice in the Urinals

The 4th of July is right around the corner... what's on your menu?

B.A.R.S. & Bajan Sun. Get connected. FaceBook: BarbadosRum & BaJanSun Twitter: & . BB Pin #: 21FCA6A4

Looking good! prominent as it should be!

Till Next Time