Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rum - Distilling & Summer Travel

Looks like we may be able to do some traveling this Spring/Summer. Good for us - good for you (we hope) and good for American Made Rum...

In early May -- we will be visiting North Carolina and South Carolina. We had a GREAT time there a couple of Summers back and plan to see what's new.







When we visited in 2013, we discovered Muddy River Distillery and had a wonderful time meeting. It was a real conversation with a wonderful couple who had a great passion - and it was RUM. The Distillery has undergone a great amount of expansion and I had promised both that I'd visit again after they opened the newly acquired (back then) space. For you, the reader, it's worth the click to relive that meeting. I am sending email to MRD to alert them and we hope to have a fun, informative reunion.
Robby and Caroline. That first visit is highlighted here. Our more personal article here.





We will be having a bit of a shortened visit, so we can't visit Broadslab Distillery.... They were "discovered" twice in 2014, and we have not been able to figure out a "hook-up". First Mention - The Second. If we finagle a way -- I'll get back to you all.... Don't think so, but still planning at our end.






The next spot that comes up on our list is ---- Striped Pig Distillery!!! I have been fascinated by this place -- their humor, passion and dedication to making a great Rum has been evident. My little sample bottle is empty and I need a big boy refill. We talked about Stripe Pig first in July 2013, and October of that same year. I have trying to work in a trip there since and 2015 looks like a winner! We will be contacting them and try to make a one-on-one meeting in May! We talked about them in this article, and tasted their Rum in October, 2013.


We are looking at a whirlwind visit to Iowa -- in late May and early June (think Memorial Day weekend).... Looking at maps and planning -- we will get back to you soon!


Until Next Time:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Serving Rum to Craft Rum Newcomers

This past weekend I had the opportunity to serve some of the craft rums I have to two of my Nieces (yes I am plenty old to have many nieces and nephews old enough to drink -- many with pretty discerning palettes, I might add) who were looking to advance their Rum Experience. Serving sample after sample, judging their responses and trying to lead them toward a brand(s) or type(s) of rum they might enjoy, I found a couple of things.

One:     While they found more than a couple of brands and styles they liked, getting them is the challenge. As much as the Craft Rum Industry has grown, availability is still a problem, getting better, but problematic.

Two:     Convincing people that a blog can help them in their search seems to be more difficult than I thought. As I poured and talked, talked and poured, I found myself constantly referencing RTRR for them to help answer questions and help them expand upon what we talked about. In addition - sending them to a spot where the distributions questions could be answered easily.

I have sat and pondered the happenings and have come to these conclusions. We need to promote Rick, the Rum Runner and make sure it is at the fingertips of anyone into Rum, looking into Rum
and/or just seriously thinking about it. A blog like Rick, the Rum Runner is important to help spread the word. There are tons of rum blogs that include every rum under the sun - and do a great job too, but I thing RTRR is about THE ONLY ONE that consistently follows Craft Rum and Distillers as its sole purpose.

That said -- I'd like to ask a favor. To all the rum distillers out there -- could you PLEASE include on your website - and or social media site a link to RTRR?? I link (or try to) almost every mention of any/all distillers in the body of all my blog posts. In addition we have the "Places You Should Visit" Directory, by State, of Distillers, country-wide. A lil, link back would be appreciated.

I know the link back works as a few Distillers have already done this and those distillers' blog posts turn up consistently high in rankings, month after month. It helps us both -- You by turning you customers and potential customers to an independent  source of more information about your product and it helps me because it allows people easy, quick access. Finally - and most importantly, it helps the new, learning even experienced Rum Enthusiast, find new and additional spirits to enjoy...
I hope to email each and every Distiller we have with a cut and past link to us -- hoping to get them to add it to their page(s).... For you the Drinker --- I hope this helps you in YOUR quest to be a Rum Runner!!!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Rick the Rum Runner - Just Talking Rum

The winter is kind of Rum Doldrums, not because people stop drinking it (it is a great warming spirit), or that the Distillers stop making it. I think it's because I don't get out and visit Distillers or make tastes happen at local spots. It's me, it's not you.... That said, I have to take time to look back and revisit moments of the year past and talk a bit about where we are going next.

After a few discussions with a couple of Distillers, its heartening that the Rum business is growing still, and that Rum is gradually shaking of the "Pirate Party" persona. Don't get me wrong; who doesn't like Pirates? Who doesn't like to party? I see you nodding - I thought as much. But, we have some setting to do. The subject of my blog here is small batch, craft Rums, mage in America. The last part is not 100% enforced, face it, I love rum. I talk about rum, I drink rum. I am part rum.... So you'll see posts about Puerto Rican Rum (American enough for me) and even fine foreign rums. I just don't put them in the Blog Directory. Still, we tend to specialize here.

The other part is the Small Batch, Craft Made labels -- Handmade and Hand Crafted are other words tossed about or printed on packages. We may need some definitions on that. In the wake of more than a few lawsuits may very well set that certainty into motion... I have not seen any in the Rum Business, hopefully we won't see any either as rules will be more defined. But I am open to discussion (and will print and discuss your comments here) on the subject -- so comment here or email me your feelings or experiences.

My education continues, slowly I learn more and more about the types and styles of rums as well as how it's made, what variations are there in the distillation methods, ingredients, aging, etc? I am constantly learning. This year mostly due to the education at the Rum Expo in Chicago, I really learned to taste and enjoy Rum Agricole. Simply put it is when the distillation is from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice. It is a distinct (to me now that I know what to look for) taste for me - best described and an herb, or grassy taste, with immediate a growing sweetness on the tongue. I have learned to appreciate it. I find the use of sugar cane juice becoming almost the norm. It is definitely different from Molasses.


I am finding more flavored rums. Used to be Light, Dark and Spiced. Flavoring and differing aging of rums makes so many variations available that it can get nearly as dizzying as the rum does when you drink to excess. Still, flavoring is looked upon by me as a good thing. It means the Industry is looking to expand. Remember when we all drank Vodka, then were told that one Vodka was SO much better than another? Then we were able to distinguish the grains used and the filtering methods as we drank more and different Vodkas. Then, the flavored vodkas arrived. I feel that marked the quest for growth by the distillers, looking for new drinkers ones that perhaps were not into the variations and fine differences, but liked Vodka. I find this a good thing in my mind. A bit of fun with flavor, but at the same time Vodka had more of a formal feeling that flavoring loosened up. Does rum really need a party feel? I think lightening up the market will still attract drinkers and QUALITY comes out more at the small batch/craft level than the flavored rums of many of the "Bigs".


As far as plans -- I talked a bit about plans for travel. I want to attend more shows and hope to make more videos as well. I want to taste EVERY rum, and am trying to make sure that Distillers that I find are listed in the directory, Tasted when/if possible and the description published here and RumRatings.com. So keep reading about more there happening throughout the summer.

Finally -- write me - ask questions. I don't know much but love to learn so I will find out what you want and learn things too. If you distill and market -- please try to get me a taste even 2 oz of  you product is appreciated and I will LOVE to write about it. If you want to talk anything about rum -- make this the place..

Thanks for the last two years and now onto 2015!!