Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rum from Florida.?

Boarding the Cape Air plane
     Yes there is an incredible amount of rum being produced in Central Florida.     Our two day trip through the Drum Circle and the Florida Caribbean Distilleries was an eye opener for all of us Rum XP's.

Drum Circle Distillery

Troy & Tom with their Still
      Mike Streeter and I boarded the "Captain Tony" Cape Air plane for Fort Myers early on Monday morning and it was off on our little adventure.     After arriving in Sarasota and getting settled into my friend's boat (our crash pad for the night), we were off the the Drum Circle Distillery.      Drum Circle is one of the fast growing and very popular small artisan distilleries  that have popped up around the industry.     These are the "mom & pop" small plants with very talented distillers and blenders that seem to be able to create very high quality rums and spirits.     Drum Circle is no exception, and they have the awards to prove it, winners of the "Best in Class" at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in 2011.    They are continuing to develop new and very fine rums from this fine little facility. 

Some of the brands made or bottled here

     On Tuesday morning we arrived at the Florida Caribbean Distillery and a HUGE eye opening experience and in full contrast to the small plant that we visited on Monday.     This is a full on liquor, wine, and beer facility.     The distill spirits by the ocean load, not to mention the bottling and other creative things they are doing at the "Most complex spirit operation anywhere".    Instead of seeing the entire operation in three small rooms we traveled around several acres of equipment to see where spirits come out of the still like a "fire hose" instead of a slow trickle.     The fermentation and the distillation are all handled by a computerized system that keeps everything consist ant and virtually non-stop.     The fermentation is done in batches, but the stills are run 24-7, keeping the flow of the spirits flowing from the plant non-stop.   

Part of the fermentation process

     This plant is also very "green" in it's operation, the leftovers from fermentation are turned into cattle feed and they make wine from the rinds and pulp from a local orange juice concentrator, among the many interesting things they do to make use of all of the waste from the process.    I commend them for this policy, not only is it a profit center when done properly, but it helps keep the landfills, streams, and especially in this area, the everglades clean from the industrial waste. 

The laboratory

     Next we are taken to the laboratory that tells how well and consistent the products and through many electronic and tasting methods to ensure the consistency of the products they are producing.    As we are moved into the lab and bottling areas we are required to dawn hairnets and safety glasses for our and the product's protection.     In stark contrast to the filling of four bottles at a time at Drum Circle, this plant can fill nearly a thousand  an hour under the proper conditions. 

Bottles being filled

      The two plants are in stark contrast to each other, but both provide services that make the industry and the rum so interesting, not only to drink, but to admire the unique ways that it is produced.     I'll bee focusing a bit closer of both of these facilities in the next few days and the differences in the ways that they produce the products, but a little bit if the differences in where they are heading  with the products and production of them.     Oh, we did get to have dinner at Trader Vic's in Sarasota as well.     ;o)