Friday, October 30, 2015

We Explore Connecticut's Smuggler's Rum!

When we searched Connecticut for Rum Distillers, one Connecticut Valley Distillery (CVD) stood out. The Owner and Chief Distiller, Rich Gummoe, was nice enough to answer questions from us about his journey to maker of SMUGGLER'S Silver RUM.
Now, I have to confess, I have not tasted this spirit (yet) but am hoping one of three things will happen soon. One, I get to visit Connecticut and head out to Ellington, Connecticut and sit down, taste and talk right there at CVD. Two, he sends a sample, allowing me to taste and tell you all about it. Finally, there's Three: One or more of my readers stop there and send me email telling me all about their tastes... I'll get back to you just as soon as I can on any or all of those happenings.

So, to go from there.... Let's talk Rum:


Rich Gummoe was nice enough to answer many of my questions. I tend to be very inquisitive because I am fascinated with not only the product (rum) but also the producers. In our first back-and-forth we find out a little about Connecticut Valley Distillery CVD and, Rich Gummoe.

So when it comes to hats, what one do you wear?
“I wear a lot but the one I am most proud of is Distiller. That was my goal as I started and the final product, Smuggler's Silver Rum is my rum child. It is what we have developed, to date, and I am proud to offer it to my customers.”

That brings us to the “when's”, the “why's”. Tell us about the beginnings, what got you started?
“It was early 2004. I was looking at brewing a beer. At the time Craft Beers were coming fast onto the market and the industry found a thirsty public, wanting to explore.
I played with different styles of beer. I was using my education in microbiology, yeast cell reproduction, I had learned at UCONN.

I was experimenting, looking for a higher alcohol content from the yeast I was using. The
idea to run the beer through a still and see what came out. The distilled spirit was, in fact, a whiskey of sorts. My Chem 201 Classes were continuing to pay off in my distillation skill. I have to say at that moment it was goodbye to the brew kettle and hello to the copper still.
I studied 17th century New England distillery process. I noted that Connecticut style of rum during those colonial times and I was struck by how similar these steps are to the initial production steps I was seeing during my time spent studying sake’ brewing in Japan a number of years prior. That led me to CVD's classic colonial Silver style of rum making.”

I notice Your Silver Rum is currently the only product you offer. I would imagine as you grow others (maybe whiskeys, etc) will come about.
“Smuggler’s Silver Rum is the only rum that we produce at this time. This style of rum was 3 years in research and 1 year development. The research of Smuggler’s Rum took me to many historically renowned New England rum making communities. When during one of these investigative trips to New London Connecticut, I struck upon what I thought was a unique process that I had not seen in other areas of New England.” However, we do expect the release of our Smuggler's Spiced Rum early 2016.

So that let's me know Rich is not a wide-ranging gunner of all spirits, but a thoughtful, and patient Distiller, looking for what, first of all, pleases him. He seems to want to make sure he makes the very best he can, and reproduce it for the parched, Rum Enthusiasts. I asked a question about his philosophy of distilling and his answer confirmed what I suspected.
“One of the reason that I chose to begin making rum over other spirits is the lack of TTB process restriction as is with other spirits like whiskeys.”
Often, I find this same attitude among many Distillers and find it's what keeps their focus and their quest of quality to the fore.

As we speak of Smuggler's Rum, I'd like to know how your growth, in a short period of time, has been?


“In the nine months CVD has made Smuggler's Rum we have already been recognized in CT NOW, Reader's Choice Poll as the #3 Distillery in the 12 listed Distilleries in the state. Smuggler's Rum is out #1 Rum produced in CT. I am proud to say that.”

So that pretty mush sums up this entry. I search for Rum all over the USA looking for it all. When I find it I will make sure you hear about it. Stay tuned -- for I AM:





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