Thursday, October 30, 2014

We are at it once again! -- We Taste Rums from Tailwinds

The series of videos captured at the 2014 Chicago Independent Spirits Expo continue here with a great visit with Tailwind Distilling. As I watched it I remembered that very first visit to find Toby Beall (Supreme Distiller by Agreement) running the still and really introducing me to the world of Craft Rum. It was from there that we felt we had found a niche that we really enjoyed and the people within the industry were the great kind of folks we wanted to meet. So for our start I tip the hat to The Beall Brothers...

If you are local to Plainfield IL, you should make a trip to their tasting room -- It has continuously been upgraded and is a very friendly atmosphere to learn, ask questions, sip a bit and really find out about a Distillery Crew that is as passionate as they are dedicated.

It seems right that this video comes out as we pass our second anniversary and they continue to grow as they too have grown into their third year... Hope you enjoyed this as much as we did bringing it to you!

Continuing with things happening in the rum world. Another Distillery with whom we have a history with is opening their Downtown Traverse City Tasting Room -- Their premier Rum should soon make its debut and we hope to be there to taste, report and enjoy!
Their release reads as follows:

* * * * * * * *    NOVEMBER    *    07    *    2014    * * * * * * * *
Dear Valued Customer(s),

We're proud to host a Grand Opening at our new Tasting Room located at 215 E. Front St. in Traverse City from 10:00am until 8:00pm.

Grand Traverse Distillery, LLC.
We will be having a drawing at the end of the day for a "Private Tour/Tastings/Cocktails" for the lucky winner and 11 guests. Throughout the day we will have drawings every hour for merchandise ranging from koozies and glassware to t-shirts and hats. We have our new Fall Cocktail menu in place so you can try a handcrafted sample cocktail for $5.00 or do our normal Tastings. The whole downtown will be bustling with activity as this is also "Shop Your Community Day" with 15% of sales going to various charities that you get to select.
Thanks again for your continued support.


The Management and Staff,
Grand Traverse Distillery, LLC
So, on that fun note -- We wish you all a great weekend and better upcoming weeks as well! -- I am, as always:


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Rum Bulletins – This Week – This year

Looking around the wide world of Rum, we have a few things to talk about.
But I can do that later. Damn I love the retired life!! What I real want to say is in this message:

 – On October 28, 2012 I published my first blog as Rick, The Rum Runner (RTRR). Click thislink and give it a read – please.

So this is two years being your craft rum source of information and fun. I has been fun too! I have
emailed, phoned and visited so many fun people in this business that it's hard to understand how anyone gets work done! The Distillers and other Distillery workers are so friendly and generous with their time and knowledge, that learning about run (thought I knew a lot when I started – what a laugh – after two years I think I am scratching the surface) and how its made has been the most fascinating part, I think.

Still things continue – things grow, expand and blossom. There have been a few losses in the Industry – but in general Rum Distillers are finding a nice niche. 

A common discussion I seem to be having with many Distillers is improving Rum's reputation. Yes it IS all things pirate'y and such, but it is also historical, political, military based as well as so much more complex than many of us realize. We are not improving the reputation as Rum does not NEED a reputation upgrade. What we need to do is ADD to the reputation of this complex and intricate spirit. I have learned how different distillation techniques give us different flavors and backgrounds
of said flavors. Different ingredients also do that as well as variations of basic ingredients, for example we might say Molasses but what kind? What cut of the refining process? Where was it grown? And so on.

The use of aromatics to add subtly flavors and palate treats, even the use of sugar, sugar syrup and so on can alter, add and fulfill the destiny of a certain Rum. It's all there – it's there for us to explore and enjoy. Rum is the first Distilled spirit in the New World – it was important for the very survival of some of the first settlers. Politically it was as involved- if not more involved in the cause of the Revolutionary War than tea. The Tea Party was as much a Rum Dump, except that the party-ers knew, Dump The Tea – Save the RUM. The Whiskey Rebellion that rocked the first President's term most likely had a lot more Rum than Whiskey involved. Need I bring up slavery? Yes the sugar plantations needed more and more labor to harvest and press cane... It rivaled the tobacco crops on the mainland.

Rum history goes on and on from its beginnings in ancient China or perhaps India, to the first Rum distillery in the British colonies set up in 1664 on what is present day Staten Island and just three years later join by another in Boston.

I was once told by a whiskey snob (not the fun Whiskey enthusiasts I have found so many of – a snob is rare and bad), that rum was just distilled Molasses, while his precious whiskey was true nectar... Well, Whiskey is just aged moonshine then. 

I believe it was Jim Irvin of Firefly Distillery who told me – Rum is special – it needs to be made into a beer before it can be distilled into rum.... As you sip a great rum – remember that as you taste the complexity.

Craft Rum is NOT the big name stuff – Craft Rum is hard to come by. Please use my directory to fine places near and far from you – where they can be bought – some even on the internet. If you find a place – please let me know – we have an email addy – so use IT!

Finally – after two years I have become so comfortable with you all, kind readers. Please comment – send email. Those in the business – remember I am here to spread the word – a sample, an invite – just letting me know you are out there helps us both... Thanks and hope to her from you soon –

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

We Are Tasting Again!! -- RTRR Meets Treaty Oak

Today we will be showing a video that was important to me. Two years ago as I began my journey in rum, Treaty Oak was one of those Distillers that came up at the top of the list. I'll give away a secret. See, we writers use LOTS of resources. For me, when looking for things rum-like, say, Distillers for instance The Distilled Life is great to begin research. If you just put in their search engine for RUM and TEXAS -- Treaty Oak is #1.

It was a thrill for me to finally taste the rum and meet one of the Distillers, Curtis Chaney. I have to say their rum is outstanding. It is pretty much everything a clear rum needs to be to have an adjective like "outstanding". Of course its me talking and you and I could spend the night tasting - talking, comparing even disagreeing as to what outstanding rums are. That is why I taste and talk - to let you know what to expect!

As with the best of the best, distillers that have a passion for what they do come through in person. Treaty Oak is passionate about what they do and damned good at it.

RTRR is not alone - here is what Texas had to say about Treaty Oak.

Treaty Oak Distillery: Austin's Worst Kept Secret

Treaty Oak Distillery Making a Name For Itself by
Pssst, don't say anything, but Daniel Barnes is making rum in Austin. Not a lot, just a couple hundred cases a month. But that's fine with him. He wants to keep his Treaty Oak Distillery small. That way he can focus on the fun parts of making a whole line of unique spirits without having to spend all his time on the less fun parts.
He might want to work on his strategy though. In addition to rum, he's also making gin and sweet tea-flavored vodka. He'll be releasing a clear vodka and an aged rum soon and he's toying with the idea of creating his own whiskey. Distilling and distributing six different spirits is not the best way to keep a low profile in Texas.
Daniel Barnes of Treaty Oak Distillery
Daniel Barnes
Treaty Oak began as a collaboration between Barnes and his father in law, Bruce Graham. "It started out as a vision of handcrafting a quality product," Barnes explains. "Phil's background is in engineering and I grew up in the food service business so it was sort of natural that we try to create something unique in the food and beverage world."
While Graham was designing the stills being used at Treaty Oak, Barnes was working out the recipe for his rum. Using molasses from the last sugar mill in Texas and Hill Country spring water, the two have developed a rum that's so smooth it's compared to high-end vodkas. "I come from a wine background," Barnes adds. "I've been involved in food and beverage most of my life and back in the early 2000's I got out of the business after I met my wife but I stayed very active in home brewing and made my own wine at home. I saw what was going on in the craft distilling movement in the Pacific Northwest and California and I decided it would be really fun to open a distillery here in Texas and do things a little differently than what was out on the market so far."
[To read the rest click here]

We love talking rum - we love bringing rum talk (and tasting) to you. I hope you enjoy and learn
from watching - as much as we enjoy, learn from doing them!!
See you next time
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thursday Rum Report - We Are Tasting Jersey Artisan!

One of the best parts of visiting Chicago's Independent Spirits Expo last month was getting to meet the people behind the rum. Jersey Artisan Distiller (JAD) is one of those near the top of my list. Now, don't get me wrong - every Distiller we met was absolutely great. The new ones we had not been acquainted with, ones we had featured but not had the opportunity to try - all these visits were GREAT, but JAD was kind of special.

If you look over to the right of the main blog (on our page, not sure how you are viewing, I am talking at Rick the Rum Runner, using a PC) you get to see a column entitled "Popular posts in the last 30 days." As one could imagine, most of the list is comprised of blogs done within the last month or two. Occasionally, when we do a follow up with a Rum and/or Distiller, the older visit will pop up on that list as well. Not so with JAD. They climbed there soon after the their very first article and have remained there pretty much since! Everything about Jersey Artisan Distiller's is about Enthusiasm, Passion & Fun. Part of that is Krista Haley and Brant Braue. Now Brant is the Distiller and Krista is the partner concerned with primarily the legal end and is a marketer of great personality and passion. I list Krista first because she was THE contact that got RTRR the information and the spirit of JAD. So, before they were really on the market with Busted Barrel Rum, they were featured in this, the first blog here.

Apparently the Enthusiasm, Passion & Fun part extends beyond the making, and marketing of Busted Barrel, as JAD has, as of this writing, well over 500 page views since January 30, 2013, making it the #1 viewed post of all 270 we have done!!! In fact they are still on the "Popular posts in the last 30 days" list with over 20 pageviews over the last thirty days! Now for McDonald's these numbers seem paltry - but for a tiny blog in the growing world of Rum -- it's substantial. In a rare moment of humbleness, some of my blog posts don't have 20 pageviews for their entire life!!!

So -- let us do a few things - Let's taste some Busted Barrel, lets talk to Jersey Artisan Distillery and let's meet Krista!!

 Sorry -- Could not get a thumbnail here..
Ok -- that was as much fun to watch as it was to have done...  In it I mention that Dark & Stormy as a favorite drink. Seems every time I mention it in person, people are curious as to its ingredients. There are "Brand Name" Dark & Stormy recipes but simple it is: 
10-12 oz Glass with ice
Dark Rum (absolutely no reason not to use Busted Barrel Dark)
Ginger Beer
I tend to over measure a good 2 oz of rum - fill with ginger beer. We are NOT talking Ginger Ale, we mean Ginger Beer. This is a less sweet, very quenching drink. You can add some lime - even lemon has been used - I tend to avoid the citrus except in real warm weather (It adds to the thirst quenching part of the drink). Don't worry I have avoided scurvy so far.

I will do my best to keep you up with what is happening in Craft American Made Rum -- Just keep coming back!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday report - Some Rum News

While we do video visits with some of the distillers were were able to talk to at the recent Chicago Independent Spirit Expo, I wanted to interject with ongoing news about Craft Rum and happenings country-wide.

The biggest thing that has literally POPPED into my life is Bayou Rum. Got a Like at American Made Rum the other day and within a day we had 23 "likes" on that post (It would be nice if all 23 LIKED American Made Rum too..). So we did some hunting and find we actually talked about the Distiller - Louisiana Spirits - back in January 2013. We have bee waiting for further news and it seems they are up, running, and making news!
They have three Rums - you can go to their website and read ll about them but I will post a bit about each here:

Bayou® Satsuma Rum

Sugar Cane and Satsuma Combine with a Refreshing Citrus Taste.
From the land where sugarcane and Satsuma oranges first arrived in the USA, comes Bayou Satsuma Rum Liqueur, a craft-made, All-American rum flavored with Satsuma juice. Biting into a freshly peeled Louisiana Satsuma is hard to beat! During the last Satsuma harvest in Louisiana, we started mixing this brilliant citrus juice with our Bayou Rum and the taste was so smooth and refreshing we decided to bottle it!

Bayou® Silver Rum

Silver Bayou Rum is proofed with triple filtered fresh water delivering the cleanest and purest taste possible. From traditional cocktails, including Louisiana favorites, to your own creations, Bayou Rum delivers the heart and soul of the ultimate cocktail experience. The smooth and subtle character of Bayou Rum is perfect over ice, in a classic daiquiri or mojito, or in your favorite rum cocktail creation.

Bayou® Spiced Rum

Spiced Bayou Rum is infused with classic traditional spices with a Louisiana twist. Featuring Louisiana grown ingredients, this special gumbo of spices creates a unique and satisfying blend that makes it the perfect rum for mixing. Spiced Bayou Rum livens up everything from a rum and cola to unsweet tea or an ice cube. One sip and you’ll see what we mean. Laissez les bons temps rouler!





So there you have the basics. I will add to my list of "Gotta have a taste" Rums and  hope I can finagle them to send me a bit of each...

Their site tells of the historic background of rum making in Louisiana from 1751 to 2013. From "Early Jesuits growing cane and using for making tafia (French word for rum prior to British naming in Caribbean)" to "Bayou Rum is announced and the anticipation begins…" A fine history it is too!

They have a very nice site and they have great info - some recipes for drinks, Locators for tours and a lot of great, Rum stuff! Their still is impressive an the Visitor's center looks like a great place to visit - if you happen by or want to plan a road trip... 

I love the post on American Made Rum -- 

"Hello Rick,
Have you heard about Bayou Rum yet? We have been winning a few awards this year...50 to be exact. I guess that makes us "The Most Decorated American Rum" Bayou Rum is America's Rum... Get you Some!" 

Trey Litel posted that - he is one of the founders of Louisiana Spirits and now that we have shaken electronic hands, so to speak, be ready to hear more soon! And to answer your question Trey - Yes.... Yes we have!

See you next week!

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

St George Spirits - From the 2014 Indie Spirit Expo

Welcome aboard a new week - We will continue touring our visit too the 2014 Chicago Independent Spirits Expo (CISE). Today we'd like to introduce a New Distiller and one that really falls into the New To Us bucket as they have been distilling since 1982! I say it puts them in the Old School/Pioneer class of Spirit Distillers.

We were scouring the banners and card stands of all the various Distillers looking for one that had a Rum. In addition to the ones we knew, and stopped by, we found some that we did not know. St George is one of those.

Their website says of California Agicole Rum: 
"Made from 100% California sugarcane, St. George California Agricole Rum (formerly Agua Libre Rum) is a pure, primal, unapologetic expression of fresh California cane.

Intensely grassy, sultry, and robust, this rum is not for the faint of heart—but for those who love it there is no substitute."
Andi (I am guessing at the spelling - sorry) was gracious and very knowledgeable. She certainly knows her spirits and the St. George California Agricole Rum in particular. This rum has a distinctive and bold flavor - do not think "Mixer". As usual you are more than welcome to mix and it will revolutionize the drink in your glass - but take the time to sip and enjoy!

We especially want to make sure you read this from their site:
"What were we thinking? Why couldn't we have just made a "normal" rum?

We could have. But we didn't want to.

It all goes back to eau de vie, our flagship spirit. As eau de vie makers, our goal is to capture the authentic flavors and aromas of whatever source material we're working with—be it pears, cherries, or in the case of our rum, fresh sugarcane.

Staying true to this philosophy resulted in a colossal, grassy rum that is a clear expression of California sugarcane—but it's a strikingly different flavor profile from most rums out there, many of which are made from molasses (a byproduct of sugar manufacturing) rather than fresh cane. And even among agricole-style rums (rums that originate from cane, not molasses), we know that ours stands out for its allegiance to the ripe, vegetal properties of just-harvested cane.

We're proud of that, and we love how this rum smells and tastes. We know not everyone's going to feel the same way, though, and we're cool with that. For those of you out there who try our rum and can't fathom why anyone would want to drink it, we'd be happy to point you in the direction of some "normal" rums."

To me, this really sets the tone and establishes the passion everyone at St George's seems to have. This is a true Craft Rum. Hope you try and enjoy - I did!
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Friday, October 03, 2014

Lyon Distilling at Chicago Indie Spirits Expo 2014

First let me say - Chicago Independent Spirits Expo (CISE) was a great time, and a time to enjoy, taste and discuss the process with some fantastic Distillers out there! We had a great time - Thank You to the Organizers and Tailwinds Distillers who made it possible for us to get and and cover this event. We videoed some wonderful stuff and will present that here over the next few blogs. We will try to feature each separately - to give them a great spotlight.

That said... Early word from the editing Department says we may be missing some video that we thought we shot.... WHAT!?!?! I will try to feature the Distiller(s) with my reminiscence when their turn comes.

Further, we had a controversy about American Made Rums. Yes we specialize in said rums and try to feature them here. We also visited some GREAT rums from outside the US and will feature our visits here too. The decision has been made to just not include them in our directory - although links (as always) will be in the individual post.
OK Disclaimers, apologies, rules, restrictions etc aside let's gather around the monitor and look in on Lyons Distilling Co....

As a way of introduction - Jamie and Ben were great to meet and talk to, knowledgeable, fun, and curious. Let's say when you hear "We just like making stuff," and "Booze trajectory" in a conversation you know you have Distillers who are in this to follow their passion and, have invited us along! Oh and guys, sorry we never made it back to you -- could you let us know what the "secret surprise" was/is??)....

Keep stopping by as we will discuss and show more videos in the next few coming days...
For me this is:
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