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Good day Rum Aficionado. 

Hope you like our new program called "Industry Interviews & Notes" where will host key people that support and promote the Rum Industry. As previously mentioned, bellow we will continue sharing  the most recent "Rum Industry News" we consider to be interesting. Hope you like them. 

Industry Interviews & Notes



Kate Perry

GM of Rumba, the North West's premiere rum bar.

1) Bucket List items for this year.

  1. Drink rum on a Caribbean beach, because it just tastes better that way.
  2. Get to a rum producing region I have not explored yet--I'd love to visit DDI in Guyana or Cuba because, Cuba.
  3. Attend a rum festival! I went to Miami last year, this year I'd love to do UK or the Bahamas.
  4. Latitude 29. Enough said.
  5. A bar takeover. We just had Portland's Hale Pele up to turn Rumba into a tiki bar for an evening. It was such a blast! I think it would be a good time to be on the other side and Rumba-ify another bar for an evening. Any takers?

2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry. 

Changing a guest's assumptions on rum--even just one person at a time-- is my biggest achievement. Getting people away from the notion that rum drinks are sugary-sweet and rum isn't for sipping; Opening a person's eyes to the breadth and diversity of r(h)um. So many people come in and say "I'm not really into rum" to which I usually respond "Perhaps you just haven't met the right one!"  I feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I can make a solid introduction.


3) Favorite Drink + Recipe

My favorite drink is a classic Ti' Punch, the national drink of Martinique and popular throughout the French islands. I'll happily drink any blanc rhum that wants to jump in my glass, but my personal favorites are Dillon Blanc if I want something aggressively funky and St. James Fleur de Canne if I'm feeling more elegant. A coin of lime and a dash of sirop de canne are all it takes to make this simple, but wildly complex cocktail. I prefer mine neat and undiluted.

4) Where do you see the rum industry today?

The rum industry today seems to be a melting pot teaming with large production distilleries, island staples, the little guy and the new guys. One of the things I love about rum is it's lack of regulation--it feels like the Wild West out there! So often we come across new rums and distilleries making sugar cane spirit. It's exciting to have so many different points of view, old-school and new. I think that many average consumers are starting to realize that there's something to this beyond the Rum & Coke.

5) Where do you see the rum industry in 5 years?

I think we will experience a push towards the sipping rums. Even in the last two years, we've seen a push in this direction: we sell more neat rums off the shelf than ever before! I think we will see a lot of large production rum companies pushing their top-shelf selections or creating new sipping rum skews (a la Bacardi's Facundo line). I think we might begin to see people starting to sip unaged rums, like the agave movement is seeing now.


6) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you. 

This is hard! There are so many amazing people in the rum & spirits world.
-Guillaume Lamy, Alexandre Gabriel and the folks at Plantation are exceptionally wonderful. They are always available to answer any question down to its geekiest level for me, and always willing to share their secrets and remain transparent. Cognac Ferrand and Plantation Rums are an incredible company full of integrity and great people. Plus their rum bottlings are delicious!

-Andrew Bohrer for being the first to tell me that Rumba is something special and we should keep doing what we do. Many people shook their heads when I told them we were opening a rum-centric bar in the farthest reaching US corner, away from the Caribbean, as possible. Andrew has been an advocate and friend to the bar since Day 1, and I deeply appreciated his kind words and recommendations during our first few months and to this day.

-I would be remiss if I left my first bar manager, Connor O'Brien, off this list. Connor has a deep wealth of information regarding all things sugar cane and he helped me develop my knowledge base and palate.

-And my current bar manager, Jim Romdall, for teaching me that rum is FUN! I've never enjoyed my job as much as I do every new day, and a lot of that is credited to my managing partnership with Jim.

Info at: 
Twitter: @RumbaSeattle




KEVIN GALABA - 5/11/2015 - Westword


One of the best rums in the world is produced right here in Colorado. Montanya Distillers was notified in April that its Platino Light Rum, produced in Crested Butte, had been selected as ‘Best White Rum’ at this year’s World Rum Awards. “It’s probably the coolest award we’ve won so far,” says Karen Hoskin, CEO and co-founder of the distillery, “and it’s the highest honor you can win in that category. The gold medals are amazing for us, but best-in-class is the holy grail.”

The World Rum Awards is an annual tasting of rums by a panel of internationally renowned spirits experts in Norfolk, England. Hoskin submitted her Platino Light Rum to the panel earlier this year, where it qualified to be entered into the white rum category, alongside rums from all over the world. The competition took three months to complete: The initial qualification in took place in January, with a second round in February and the final round in March. More than 100 rums were submitted to be evaluated and tasted.

In April, Hoskin received a letter from England notifying her that her rum was the best in its category. “We should have thrown a big party right then and there,” she says of her excitement upon being recognized on an international level. “It’s hard to describe what it feels like to be validated by experts — you spend so many hours every day every week, in your bubble, just making your rum.”

All rums were tasted blind, with judges having no knowledge of which rum they were judging. Rums were rated in five categories: balance, character, complexity, quality and functionality. The top rum, Hoskin says, needed to have all five of those characteristics — and be the best in each of those categories.

Hoskin attributes the success of her rum to many things, including the Rocky Mountain water that goes into the each bottle of Platino: It's drawn from a well that extends 350 feet below Crested Butte, percolating through layers of stone and mineralized layers of rock before it reaches the surface. “We think this is where the best water source is,” she says. “Our water doesn’t have any chlorine or any other chemicals in it.” Chemicals in water will become residual flavors in any distilled spirit, she adds.

While many rums are made from molasses, Platino is made from raw unrefined sugarcane, sourced from a small farm in Louisiana. Hoskin knows the family personally. The sugarcane is non-GMO, “which is becoming more and more rare in the world,” she says. She uses only the juice from the first pressing of the sugarcane, “which is similar to extra virgin olive oil,” she adds. “It’s the most favorful part of the sugarcane. It’s really hard to get that.”

Another aspect that sets Platino apart from other white rums is that it’s aged in a barrel before bottling, unlike many rums that are aged in stainless steel tanks. Time spent in a barrel turns clear spirits brown, but Hoskin filters the aged rum through layers of coconut husks. “It pulls out the color,” she says, “but does not take out the flavor in the way the charcoal filtering can.” Bottled Platino retains the hints of oak and smoke that are introduced in the barrel-aging process.

Earning a top honor at the World Rum Awards isn’t the first time Montanya has won big acclaim. Since starting production in 2008, Montanya has won two other “Best in Class” designations including the Rum XP Competition, and six Gold medals including the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

“This is the only competition that we submitted to in 2015 so far,” Hoskin says, “and probably the only one we will submit to this year.” Hoskins enters her rums into about half of the available competitions, choosing only the most reputable ones. “Our goal is to work our way slowly up the chain of the best competitions,” she continues. This was the next logical step for us, to submit to something international, that is well respected and sets the industry standard.”

“To be elevated to the top spot among such a group of experts, and among such an exceptional group of rums is the most heartwarming feeling you can imagine,” she says.


Shellback Rum Announces Collaboration with Singer-Songwriter Jared Ashley

Real-life Naval Shellback Joins Rum Brand to Spread Good Times and Good Company

5/11/15 - PR Newswire

Shellback Caribbean Rum today announces its partnership with emerging Nashvillesinger and songwriter Jared Ashley, who will serve as an ambassador for the brand. Named for the brotherhood of mariners who have voyaged across the Equator, Shellback Rum is inspired by these sailors' sense of camaraderie and adventure. As someone who achieved the distinction of becoming a shellback, Ashley will join Shellback Rum to honor this proud naval tradition and the spirit it represents.

Before becoming a finalist on season four of USA Network's "Nashville Star" and gaining national recognition for his talents, Ashley served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Independence and USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carriers, during which he achieved the shellback accolade in 1999. It was during his service's long trips out to sea that Ashley cultivated his musical talent and, at the encouragement of his shipmates, began performing. 

"As a naval shellback, I've felt a connection to the Shellback Rum brand since I first discovered it two years ago," said Jared Ashley. "Crossing the Equator together forged lifelong bonds between me and my shipmates, and I look forward to helping Shellback Rum communicate the inspiration for the brand – this sense of adventure and brotherhood – with rum enthusiasts across the country."

Ashley has been recognized as the Regional Act of the Year winner and Country Male Artist of the Year nominee at The Georgia Country Music Awards. After releasing his well-received debut self-titled album in 2011, featuring the radio single "Last Train To Memphis," Jared was signed to a deal with Blaster Records, also home to Montgomery Gentry, Chuck Wicks, Aaron Lewis, and Jack Ingram. 
In his new role for the brand, Ashley will share how he uses Shellback Rum to celebrate good times by creating signature cocktail recipes for the brand. Shellback Rum will be featured at select concerts and events that Ashley is a part of in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as events held by the U.S. Navy Flight Deck Veterans Group, a charity founded by Ashley. 

"Jared perfectly embodies the spirit of the Shellback brand," said Anna Bell, Director of Marketing for Shellback Rum. "He's passionate and talented as a musician, and we share a respect for the time-honored Shellback tradition. We're excited to be working with him." 

Shellback Rum is an award-winning Caribbean rum, available in both Silver and Spiced varieties. 

About Shellback Rum
The taste of the Caribbean pursues a modern progression with the debut of Shellback Rum, named after a proud naval tradition in which the title of "Shellback" is awarded to courageous sailors who have successfully crossed the equator. Available in two expressions, Silver and Spiced, Shellback Rum is produced at the century-old West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) on the island of Barbados, the birthplace of rum. Both expressions are a blend of continuous and pot still components featuring neutral, heavy and aged light rum. Adding further depth to the final Shellback Spiced blend, a portion of the rum spends a minimum of 12 months in once-used American bourbon barrels. Shellback Rum is available nationally.

Where to Drink Rum in Chicago

This spring, rum is sweeping Chicago as the discerning tippler's spirit of choice.


Whisky isn’t the only brown liquor having a moment; these days, rum has taken over as Chicago’s trendiest spirit. “It’s really picking up momentum,” says Bill Terlato, CEO of Lake Bluff–based Terlato Wines, whose premium new Don Pancho Origenes rums are made from 100 percent estate-grown sugarcane molasses and are aged eight, 18, and 30 years. “Brown [spirits] have had a strong resurgence,” Terlato continues, “and people are interested in higher-quality products for sipping.”

“Rum is a rogue, pirate spirit—no rules,” says Erin Hayes of Logan Square tiki bar Lost Lake (3154 W. Diversey Ave., 773-293-6048). Beverage manager Paul McGee stocks 275 varieties of the spirit, divided by country of origin, from Martinique to Guyana and Trinidad. While the Logan Square oasis offers trios of rum tastings for imbibers to experience the spirit’s full range, Hayes and McGee recommend the Daiquiri of the Day, a changing cocktail made simply with lime, cane syrup, and a different highlighted rum.

The undisputed daddy of Chicago’s revitalized rum scene is Three Dots and a Dash (435 N. Clark St., 312-610-4220), which first reintroduced Chicago to the spirit via the Hawaiian-shirt-wearing and flower-covered movement that is tiki. “It’s a lifestyle,” says beverage director Diane Corcoran, “because it’s so much about having fun and almost taking people on vacation, even if it’s just for a cocktail.” Libations rely on layering rums to contrast housemade juices and syrups. The classic Three Dots and a Dash—adapted from a Don the Beachcomber recipe circa 1940—blends aged rhum agricole and Guyanese rum with honey, lime, falernum, allspice, and Angostura bitters.

Before banana dolphins and seven-ingredient cocktails, there was grog, a drink dating to 1655 that’s made by combining diluted rum with sugar and citrus. A modern version is available at Boystown’s Dive Bar (3445 N. Halsted St., 773-770-4618). Co-owner John Dalton is a bit choosier with the rum selection in his Navy Grog, though: “Rums can totally make or break a drink,” he reasons, opting for Bacardi Gold, Plantation Light, and Cruzan Black Strap to balance lime and grapefruit juice, Demerara, and honey syrup.

Fortress Rum exceeding expectations

SYDNEY — A new rum product that is matured at the Fortress of Louisbourg is proving popular among Nova Scotians and is available in a growing number of locations.

Laura Jean Grant - 5/10/2015 - Cape Breton Post

Fortress Rum is produced by Guysborough-based Authentic Seacoast Company, in partnership with Parks Canada's Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site, where the rum has been maturing in oak barrels at its Magazin du Roi since September 2013.

Fortress Rum was officially launched in Louisbourg in February, and while Authentic Seacoast Company president Glynn Williams didn't release specific sales figures or expectations, he said the product is doing well in its first couple of months on store shelves.

"To say that we're thrilled with the response would be a total understatement," he said. "It's wonderful to have the support and encouragement of folks in Cape Breton for this product. It really is great."

Williams said they've had lots of good news in the last number of weeks, with Fortress Rum claiming a bronze medal in the over-proof rum category at the 15th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and the product receiving a great response at the Saltscapes Expo in Halifax.

"There were lineups for samples that we were giving out throughout the course of the three days and we managed to give out 4,000 samples. It was incredibe," he said. "And on the Friday beforehand, I was told that Fortress Rum in the previous month of March was the best-selling amber rum in the province."

Williams said they're hoping to carry that momentum into the summer, when the product will also be available at the Fortress of Louisbourg.

"There's a whole rum experience planned for the summer, so visitors will be able to come to the fortress and learn about how rum was served in the 18th century, as well as taste it and interact with the animators there," he said. "There will be rum nights, there will be rum tastings, rum will be part of the menu at the Grandchamp Tavern, and what's also really great is we'll be able to sell our rum at the fortress, which is a first, so we'll be part of the retail experience there."

Fortress Rum, packaged in a French-inspired rum bottle with wax seal and paper labels, is currently available at approximately half of all Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. outlets, at the Authentic Seacoast Company, several bars, restaurants and retailers, and at the Fortress of Louisbourg. Williams said they hope to secure distribution of the product across Atlantic Canada in the coming months.

Kōloa Rum Expands Partnership with Young’s Market Company

Press Release - 5/6/2015 - BEVNET

Kōloa Rum Company today announced that the company’s full portfolio of artisanal, single-batch Hawaiian rum will be distributed by Young’s Market Company throughout the Hawaiian Islands beginning May 11, 2015. Kōloa Rum Company’s partnership with Young’s Market Company in Hawai`i is the next phase in an expanded agreement naming Young’s as the brand’s exclusive distributor in ten U.S. markets.

Currently, Young’s distributes Kōloa Rum products in California and Arizona. Within the next few months, Young’s will launch the authentic Hawaiian rum in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

Kōloa Rum Company’s expanded agreement with Young’s Market Company includes representation of the full Kōloa Rum portfolio, including Kaua`i White, Gold, Dark, Spice and Coconut Rum and Kōloa Ready-to-Drink Mai Tai and Rum Punch cocktails.

Bob Gunter, President and CEO, Kōloa Rum Company, said, “Young’s Market Company is an outstanding company that has consistently delivered exceptional value and service to Kōloa Rum in California and Arizona over the past several years. Expanding our partnership with Young’s in Hawai`i and throughout their 10-state distribution footprint is a natural evolution in the ongoing growth and development of our brand. Our partnership with Young’s personifies the high degree of trust and confidence that we have in the leadership and capabilities of this dynamic organization.”

Regarding the expanded distribution partnership, Rick Gillis, President, Young’s Market Company, said, “Young’s Market Company is proud to distribute Kōloa Rum to the brand’s home state of Hawai`i and we are excited to expand the geography of our partnership to ten U.S. markets.”

Philana Bouvier, EVP General Manager, Young’s Market Company, Hawai`i, added, “The Kōloa Rum brand is an award-winning premium local rum that visitors from all over the world recognize and love. Young’s Market Company is well-positioned to take this brand to the next level for all channels of distribution. We are excited that Kōloa Rum Company has extended its distribution agreement with Young’s across ten western U.S. states.”

About Kōloa Rum Company
Kōloa Rum Company produces artisanal, single-batch Hawaiian Rum and ready-to-drink cocktails at its distillery in Kalaheo, Kaua`i and operates Kaua`i’s first and only distilled spirits Tasting Room & Company Store on the grounds of Kilohana Plantation, near Lihue. The Company’s multiple award-winning portfolio includes its premium Kaua`i White, Gold, Dark, Spice and Coconut Rum in 750ml and 50ml bottles and Kōloa Ready-to-Drink Mai Tai and Rum Punch cocktails. For more information about Kōloa Rum Company, please visit

About Young’s Market Company
Founded in 1888, Young’s Market Company is the premier distributor of fine wines, spirits and selected beverages in the western United States. With operations in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, we are proud to represent industry-leading brands and supplier partners. Our best-in-class team of wine and spirits professionals represent a collection of unique life experiences, world views, and ideas all focused on our core values; Integrity, Family, Quality, and an Entrepreneurial Spirit. We are committed to adding value to our customers, providing exemplary professional representation of our suppliers, reaching the highest standards of respect for our employees, and supporting the communities we serve.

Newly available Kill Devil Rum, a first, flies off the shelves

Russ Lay -5/5/2015 - The Outer Banks Voice

Social media demonstrated its marketing power once again when Outer Banks Distilling posted a small item Monday on its Facebook page that Batch 1 of its long-awaited Kill Devil Rum would be available in Dare County liquor stores starting today.
The distillery at 510 Budleigh Street in downtown Manteo has been featured on The Outer Banks Voice, and we’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first batch.

Outer Banks Distilling is the first distillery approved by the state ABC Board to operate in Dare County.

Kelly Bray, Scott Smith, Matt Newsome and Adam Ball were excited when we checked in with them mid-morning on their first sales day. They said they checked with the local ABC store and were told sales were brisk.

A trip to the Nags Head ABC store demonstrated just how brisk those sales have been. The manager there told us he went through 10 cases of Kill Devil Rum in just over an hour.
“Reinforcement” inventory from other stores arrived about 1:30 p.m. and sales continued to be brisk, with many people making spur-of-the-moment purchases upon seeing the display or overhearing chatter in the store.

The bottles are hand-numbered by batch and initialed by the employee who bottled it.

The retail price is $24, and according to the distillery, it is available today at Kitty Hawk and Nags Head, Duck on Wednesday and Buxton on Thursday. You may want to check stores earlier than the above dates as some stores may begin selling as soon as they accept delivery.

Under North Carolina law, the distillery cannot sell its product at the production site in Manteo, but you can stop by for a tour and a small sample. They have plenty of swag for sale, too.

A Rum Named For The Master

Jack Bettridge - 5/8/2015 - Cigar Aficionado

After five decades of producing rum, both in Cuba and Panama, Francisco "Don Pancho" Fernandez now has his name on a line of superpremium spirits—Don Pancho Origenes—tailored as a nod to the signature Cuban style and imported by Terlato's Artisan Spirits Division.

Fernandez oversaw the Cuban brand Havana Club until the 1970s when he moved to Panama to blend such noted brands as Abuelo, Zafra, Cano Bravo and Selvarey. The new line comprises an eight-year-old, an 18-year-old and a 30-year-old, all aged in ex-Bourbon barrels.

In following the Cuban style of rum, the spirit is made with molasses (a by-product of sugar cane refinement) and distilled in copper column stills (as opposed to pot distillation). The cane was estate grown and hand-harvested.

The age statements are all based on the youngest rums used in the blends. This follows British and American standards for whiskey. As rum, made in a variety of countries throughout the world, has little regulation, many examples display age statements that define only the oldest spirits in the bottle or an average of ages, not minimum age.

The result is grouping of rums with very rich, viscous flavors well-suited as cigar companions. You may consider the youngest in trio for cocktail making, but it would be a sin with the older two. However, a splash of water or an ice cube will cut their unrelenting sweetness and open up the taste profile a bit.


Boozy Day Trip: 250,000 Rum Barrels Await at This Historic Jamaican Distillery

Scott Kearnan - 5/6/2015 - Jaunted 

Booze and numbers don’t mix. If we were better at doing math while drunk, would we still agree to all those outrageous Uber surge prices after a night at the bar? (Well, probably. But that’s beside the point.) 

No arithmetic is required to follow along with our latest adventure, though. While traveling in Jamaica(checking out some dapper Ralph Lauren-decorated rooms at Round Hill Hotel and Villas) we took a daytrip to tour Appleton Estate, a rum distillery in the Nassau Valley of Saint Elizabeth Parish. Our Round Hill-chartered driver took us through winding roads, past street-side fried fish stands and trinket-selling shanties to the distillery, where a guided tour — and most importantly, tasting — awaited.

The Appleton guide was enthusiastic and informative, and covered the rum distilling process from top to bottom. But along the way we socked away some particularly interesting facts about this famous Jamaican distillery that were worth sharing.

Here are a few that globetrotting spirits aficionados should note: 

1655. That’s the year that the estate was founded. It’s believed that the land was a property payment made to Captain Frances Dickinson, who helped the English oust Spain to conquer Jamaica. (And you thought your salary bonus was sweet.) However, the first historic references to Appleton as a rum-producing estate don’t come until 1749. Ownership of the estate would change hands a few times over the next, oh, three centuries or so. 
1997. That’s the year that Joyce Spence took the reins as Master Blender at Appleton. Why is that important? Because Spence has the distinction of being the first female to claim that title within the spirits industry. She’s like, the Marie Curie of booze. 
2012. That’s the year that Appleton rum was purchased by Campari. Yes, now Italians technically own this Jamaican rum distillery. However, we’d still stick to a Merlot with your spaghetti and meatballs. 
11,000. That’s how many acres over which Appleton Estate now sprawls. Most of that land is used for growing sugarcane, which is crushed to release the sweet juice that forms the foundation of the rum-making process. 
250,000. That’s how many barrels full of rum are currently aging in the cask room. (And yes, that’s a lot.) The longer that rum ages, the more the oak barrels imbue complex flavors that recall vanilla, coffee, and other interesting notes that result in a smooth sip. 
3 years. That’s the shortest amount of time that rum will be aged. 
50 years. That’s the longest amount of time. 
800. That’s how many bottles of 50-year aged rum Appleton produced in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. They sold for $5,000 per bottle. The Appleton Estate received 13 of the 800 bottles to sell itself. Today only 1 remains, displayed proudly behind corded rope in the gift shop. 
8. That’s how many varieties of Appleton rum you’ll taste at the end of the tour. 
0. That’s how many seconds it will take you to crave a nap after. 
Intoxicated by these facts? Next time you’re in Jamaica, hire a driver, hit the road, and crunch some numbers of your own, so to speak.

Until the next newsletter!

Federico Hernández - The Rum Lab


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