Friday, August 31, 2012

Ernest and Julio Gallo Introduces Shellback Rum

West Indies Rum Distillery  Bridgetown, Barbados
Ernest and Julio Gallo the wine giant of Modesto, California has partnered up with West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados to produce the rum for their new Rum Shellback.   There are two versions being marketed initially, a "Silver" and a "Spiced" versions.    The rum is made in Barbados and shipped to Modesto where it is bottled and flavored.   

"Our opportunity in the marketplace is focused on consumers who wish to progress in the rum category to a modern, premium, progressive rum," Gerard Thoukis, Gallo's senior director of marketing, said Wednesday. 
A variety of natural flavors go into Shellback Spiced, including cinnamon bark oil from Sri Lanka, ginger oil from China and Africa, clove oil from Madagascar and India, nutmeg from Indonesia, cassia from Vietnam and China, vanilla from Madagascar and allspice from the Caribbean.      Shellback Silver is just rum, but a news release tells of "floral overtones layered with the suggestion of vanilla and tropical fruit, followed by a smooth, clean finish."     "Shellback" is an old naval term bestowed on sailors who crossed the equator for the first time. Also on the label is the motto "Rum Found Worthy."     Shellback could find favor with the "younger cocktail crowd," said Lexy McCallum, general manager of Bistro 234 in Turlock.   "We love to support local vendors," she said.   
     "We are actively looking at all of the major spirits categories," Thoukis said, "and as opportunities arise, we will take advantage of them."
     The website offers a story of how the name was derived, and some of the details of the rum's story.   
     A Shellback is an experienced sailor, revered for his nautical progression and courage, who has achieved the landmark triumph of crossing the equator. Shellback Rum honors the proud naval tradition of these sailors with its Caribbean roots and refined taste. Shellback allows experienced rum drinkers the opportunity to experience a modern ‘progression’ within rum.
     Shellback is proud to partner with a Barbados-based rum distillery in the production of its two bottlings, silver and spiced rum, debuting this Fall. Shellback Silver Rum is a clean and flavorful rum for the sophisticated palate featuring notable tropical, fruit, and sweet aromatics notes. Shellback Spiced Rum features no added sugar or artificial flavors and a medley of all natural spices resulting in a smooth, clean taste with notes of caramelized honey layered with hints of dark roast and brown spice. Shellback Rum delivers the authenticity of traditional Caribbean rum, while articulating the sensory cornerstones of an improved, full-flavored rum experience.
     I am looking forward to seeing this rum come on line here in Florida and placing it on the shelf here at the Rum Bar in Key West.   ;o)

Read more here:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Are Rums Heading Down the Trail of Vodka?

     I'm wondering if the rum world is going to follow suit and head down the path that Vodka has with the insane flavors.     Jim Beam has just purchased the Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack brands and they are going to be producing the rum for this brand.    

     I can't believe that there are going to be a bunch of really dumb rum flavors coming at us now like the have in the vodka world.  I can't wait for the arrival of cookie dough or who knows maybe chewing tobacco flavored rums will appear next.     There is a place in the teenybopper bars for these kinds of rums, but I really have to question the validity of  the market potential in the big picture.

     There has been another line of really inexpensive rums that appeared at the  2012 Rum Renaissance Festival called Flip Flop rums that are aimed at the quick grab a bottle to take to the party or lake group.  Maybe these flavored rums might fit the same group as well.

Who knows, I've seen stranger things succeed, so lets look and see what happens to this group of wild ideas.   ;o)  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hurricane Bob: Magic Elixir Revealed

If you are wondering about the "magic" cocktail that we drink on the docks to ward off the hurricanes, well here it is.   It is made in 2 gallon batches and will do wonders for every one on the docks before the arrival of a tropical storm or hurricane.   The flavors of the rum can be worked with to suit your taste, and the amounts of the fruit juices can be played with also.

    This is the same magic that keeps us protected here in the keys and you might want to try it in your neck of the woods also.   This has no guarantee to keep you safe, so please do all your preparation for the impending storm before starting to consume this magic elixir to drive the storm away.

     This is a great cocktail to take to the beach as well it dispenses well from a Gatorade cooler.   Just add ice and enjoy.   ;o)   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Carbonated Fountain Style Cocktails

     There have been several soda fountain systems available for the home to create any type of soda pop you want, but if you use the system to create cocktails that you can carbonate on the bar, this would be open the doors for some great new cocktails.     Just think, Mojito's that are carbonated in the glass instead of just adding soda water to them.     It is the addition of soda water to a cocktail that give it the light airy taste that is so refreshing.   The possibilities are virtually unlimited as to what you can create.    This is perfect for tiki creations and for updating of traditional cocktails as well.   

     My pea brain idea is to create syrups to flavor the cocktails then turn them into soda pops and then put them into the cocktail, adding flavor and fizz at the same time.    You can create carbonated rums, wines, even vodkas.   If your mind can create a new idea or flavor you can carbonate it with these soda gadgets.

     There are also some professional bar units that work off of a CO2 tank that can be placed at the bar so cocktails can be carbonated right in the glass.   The other alternative is to put something like rum into a keg and put through a tap just like draught beer and straight into a glass as fizzy as beer, but it is really "draught rum"   The Perlini System can be used to offer both bottled and carbonated cocktails right at the bar.   These are not mass produced, but your favorite bartender's own mix bottled or carbonated right in front of you at the bar.

     Today I'm headed to the store to try and locate one of these units and see what new things can be created in the "Rum Lab".    I really feel that the possibilities are endless and that you can many time over multiply your recipe book through the use of one of these systems.    This is really not such a new idea I remember "seltzer bottles" that you just filled with water and put a CO2 cartridge in and "Wa La", you have fresh soda water for your cocktail.   Now you can take the cocktail place it in the carbonator and "Wa La" you have a carbonated cocktail.    I can't wait to get this idea into motion.  ;o)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Isaac Passes Key West with Only a Wimper

   Issac is gone past Key West and headed up into the Gulf of Mexico.   The effects in Key West were a lot of work boarding up houses, businesses and many miles of extra lines applied to boats.    The really great thing that came out of Isaac is people took the time to clean up their loose debris around their houses and docks.  

     Duval was only occupied with weather people from the media and a few chickens as I drove to the Rum Bar yesterday morning.    By the time I got my inventory work done and the bar ready to open, there were people waiting outside ready to come in and start the "Hurricane Party", even though it was still only a tropical storm.  The good news is it still remains a tropical storm today.   The big event came and passed with a fair amount of rain and some gusty winds.   The  winds were strong enough to clear all of the dead fronds from the palm trees on the island.   Driving my scooter home at 6ish last night, the winds were still blowing around 30 mph and a little bit of rain was still falling.    I've gotten wetter in a normal every day thunder storm, but still it was nice to be back aboard the boat. 

     Today there are still some gusty winds blowing around, and they say there will be a few rainy times, but I met the sunshine when I got off of the boat and headed down the dock heading to the office.     I am happy to report that there were only very minor bits of damage that I noticed as I went to town this morning and the boards are virtually all off of the windows and doors this morning.   

     Last night the last of the "Hurricane Bob" magic potion was consumed to make sure that the winds didn't get out of control.  As usual, the magic in the mix decimated the storm before it got to Key West.   Do I really believe this, well, probably not.  Althrough the past 10 or so storms that have approached since the residents on the docks have sat and raised our cups in defiance, none have strengthened and most lost their strength or turned away.   Is this a coincidence, I really don't know, but until it fails us we will continue to make the "Hurricane Bob" and drink it up in defiance until it does fails us.   By the way, we were all prepared for the worst long before we started the traditional defiance party.

     This is the last official Bahama Bob Rumstyles Hurricane Report form The Rum Lab in Key West, until the next storm.   ;o)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

This is NOT Reality TV Anymore

     Things are starting to go down hill fairly quickly here in Key West.   The winds are sustained at about 21 mph and so far this morning it is dry.   We are at the center of the cone of uncertainty with hurricane warnings all around us.

Stephanie Abrams
     As pretty as Stephanie Abrams is, you know that it isn't a good thing when the Weather Channel comes to town.     We are the center of the media blitz for Isaac, at least for the moment, or until Isaac moves past us later today and heads up into the gulf.  It is interesting that we are getting as much media coverage as the politicians are on the week of their conventions.   Cool.

     At least this one is just going to be a minimal hurricane, or maybe still a strong tropical storm, the difference is little and because of the direction that it is coming from the storm surge will be minimal as well.    Hurricanes are really no joke, and if you don't prepare the price can be very high.   If you haven't gotten ready, time is running out and you need to begetting on it with earnest.  You are not only effecting yourself, but your neighbors and friends as well. 

    The preparation is done for most of us, and it is time to hunker down, party a bit, and wait for this thing to blow on through and get life back to normal again.     All of us are enjoying the break from the hot and humid weather that led us into the storm, but Isaac has brought a nice respite from the summer.

     I'm off to the Rum Bar now and getting ready for Rum Church which will get started as soon as the congregation arrives at noon or so.  We will be stay open for as long as the weather will let us today, and I can still jump on the scooter and head home without being blown into the sea. 

     Depending on what happens in the next 24 hours, I may or may not be able to get a blog out for tomorrow, but tip a great rum and keep yourself safe and we'll report what we see tomorrow.  Hopefully any how.   ;o)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Cone of Uncertainty Getting Smaller

      Saturday morning and we are awakening to rain and gusty winds.    The storm itself is still a day and a half away, but this storm is very large and feeder bands are already lapping against the keys.
     I've already got most of the preparation  for the storm completed, the boat is retied, and the loose things have been brought inside.     We have groceries, the water tank is full, and the holding tank is empty, these are very important things if the power is out for any length of time.   One other thing, the generator is in top notch operating condition, we will have power and air conditioning even if the power is out for an extended period of time.     We also have a good supply of my "Hurricane Bob" to keep the party happening for the duration of the storm.

     All kidding aside, this is a real storm hurricane warnings are in effect.   We have been serious about our preparation, and once that is completed, keeping the spirits up is probably the most important part of the riding out the storm.   We will get to spend from 12 to 24 hours inside waiting for the storm to blow over us.

     Today it is off to Duval Street, the bar is open and as long as it is safe and there are people stopping by we will stay open.    Then back to the boat as usual, hoping we don't have to head inside until Sunday night.

     I will keep you abreast of what is happening here, the fun and the preparation as the next few days until Isaac has blown itself out of the keys.   ;o) 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Go2TheKeys: The New App for The Keys

Go2TheKeys, The Definitive Guide to The Florida Keys, Creates New Model for Travel Apps


App delivers comprehensive and constantly updated information coupled with an

instructive guide.   It allows tourists to navigate like locals.


     Go2TheKeys, the first in a series of localized ‘Go2’ Apps from Flying Fish Interactive, breaks away from the impersonal data intensive approach common in travel Apps. Instead, Go2TheKeys delivers information gathered from a local perspective and then provides a guide in order to make sense of it all.


     Go2TheKeys delivers the most up to date and robust information available anywhere, period.  Each of the more than 2,300 listed businesses and points of interest were visited prior to inclusion. Go2TheKeys let’s visitors navigate and enjoy a destination as if they were locals.  “Each business in The Florida Keys represent more than a data point to us. Each is an owners dreams and investments, an employees job and profession, a families income. Each represents a customers memory of a great vacation with family and friends.” Says Carlton Grooms, cofounder and CEO. “We could not create this best in class App for The Florida Keys without having spent time getting to know our neighbors. I think that unique level of commitment and knowledge comes through in the App.”


     “Go2TheKeys is a result of applying cutting edge technology and programming in new creative ways.” Said Lee Jones, the co-founder and CTO. “We constantly pushed the envelope of the Apple iOS. We applied our own location based services solutions to create something consumers have never seen. I am personally excited about our proprietary coupon system.”


     Go2TheKeys can be used by visitors before their trip to The Florida Keys in order to plan their itinerary and highlight things they want to do and see. Keys businesses will be able to send customized offerings to users based on their interests as they plan their vacation. Once in the Keys, users can easily navigate The Keys, explore points of interest, and take advantage of Go2TheKeys unique coupon system which delivers customized offers to the traveler.   With Go2TheKeys loaded on their iPhone, visitors to The Florida Keys will no longer be lost due to no information or paralyzed by too much information. The App will help lead users off the traditional tourists paths and introduce them to a broader experience in The Keys. It will also help them save significantly more than traditional, non-earth friendly, paper based coupons and advertising.

     Go2TheKeys is now available in the Apple App store for iPhone. The Android version will follow soon. It is being offered for FREE for a limited time.


Read More:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

2012 Hurricane Season Becomes a Reality


Predicted path for Isaac
Isaac is making the 2012 Hurricane Season a reality for those of us that live in the tropics. It has been several years since we have had to prepare for the reality of a hurricane coming at us here in Key West, but it looks like this one, even though it will only be a minimal one is nevertheless headed our way.


     Very few here is taking it lightly, many of the snow birds houses are seeing the hurricane shutters going up and preparation for the blow is well underway at many of the residents. Tomorrow, I will be adding the necessary additional lines and fenders to secure the boat and putting away any loose objects that could blow around and cause damage.

     After the dock and the boat have been secured it is time to get all of the preparations for the "voodoo" ritual by residences of the marina to have a party and consume glasses of my magic "Hurricane Bob" cocktail that has been successful at warding off hurricanes for many years. The only really good thing about an approaching hurricane is the "Hurricane Party", and then it's off the where ever we go to ride out the storm and wait for it to pass.

     Today is a bit gray, but the sun is still shining and the day will go on here in "paradise" as usual. It is a work day and one that is usually fun, but with the tourists becoming hesitant about heading into the face of an imminent hurricane, this could be a rather slow day at the Rum Bar. If you are here and your preparation is complete it might be a fun afternoon to stop by. We can have a bit of fun and swap some stories. The funny thing about hurricanes is that it doesn't get cold, just windy and rainy. That is exactly what the weather predictions are for Sunday and Monday temps in the upper 80's with rain and windy.

     I'll keep everyone aware of what is happening here during the storm as long as the internet is still functioning, and believe me I have an adequate supply of good rum to get me through as I sit on the back of the boat and watch the wind, rain, and the waves. ;o)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Plantation 3 Stars White Rum has Arrived

   Cognac Ferrand has introduced its first white rum to the market.     This is a white that I was lucky enough to try as a part of the rum tasting competition at the 2012 Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami last May.   This is an ultra premium white rum that is blended from rums that come from three of the finest rum producing countries in the world, Barbados, Trinidad, and Jamaica.     If you haven't guessed by now, that is where the name comes from, Plantation 3 Stars White Rum.

     Cognac Fernand owner Alexandre Gabriel was quoted as saying," Most white rums on the market today are either too neutral and too vodka-like or too rough and rustic.  We wanted a rum that shows character, elegance, complexity, and a great finish - ideal rum for cocktails."   "This is the beauty of blending."  "You can capture the best of each - Trinidad brings elegance and refinement, Barbados brings character and aromatics with fruit notes without being too heavy, and Jamaica brings the funk, the touch that makes the product complete."

     When Plantation takes on a new project, they do so with a spirit and drive that is not found anywhere else.   It is in the fact that they are finishers of fine rum, and have the ability to finish and blend rums in a way that is unparalleled in the rum world.   This is a perfect example of a rum that the raw materials were sourced from three stars of the rum world and blended in a way to create a rum unlike any other white rum available today.    

     Winner of the most prestigious award of the 2012 Rum Renaissance Festival, this little white rum is destine to become a giant in very short order.     This well balanced flavorful white rum can be an asset to any cocktail, with the addition of very subtle spice and floral notes and a touch of vanilla at the finish.   Plantation 3 Stars White Rum is the next winner in the Plantation arsenal of ultra premium rums.   ;o)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Caribbean Rum Producers "Won't be Bullied" According to WIRSPA

Dr. Frank Ward
     The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) will continue to lobby regional governments  looking for a solution to the dispute over the rum subsides to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday, August 20, 2012 - The West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) is continuing to lobby regional governments to find a resolution to the dispute over unfair subsidies being given to its competitors in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) before ‘terminal damage’ is caused to the industry.

This was made clear by chairman of WIRSPA, Dr Frank Ward, in a release issued this morning (August 20) in which he stressed that the matter required urgent action and early resolution if the rum industry of the Caribbean Forum countries (the Caribbean Community plus the Dominican Republic) were to survive in their present form.

Dr Ward also made veiled opposition to the recently publicised stance by multinational rum producer Diageo that it might re-think its operations in the wider Caribbean if the Caribbean did not stop agitating for an end to the USVI incentives that allowed Diageo’s rum to flow into the US market at a cheaper price than WIRSPA’s member could offer, which Diageo strongly denied was the case. 

“Documented threats have recently been made in public against the rum industry in CARIFORUM countries. Such an approach threatens Caribbean economic sovereignty and suggests a failure by those involved to understand how small nations and their communities react to external hostility whether from multinationals or from governments. Such an approach will only strengthen Caribbean resolve,” stated Ward.

Read more:

     Dr. Ward feels that the dispute is truly between the Caribbean independent countries  and the United States , and not between the rum producers.  It is in the area where ambassadors from thee countries must sit down and figure out what is really est ofr all involved.  This is something that need to be settled sooner rather than later, if not there could be some serious damge done to the growth of a spirit that has made some monumental steps forward in the past decade.   

Monday, August 20, 2012

Study shows marriage stops men drinking – as their wives hit the bottle instead

Marriage appears to drive women to drink but has the opposite effect on men, a study has suggested.

Far from encouraging men to patronise a local pub to escape from domestic duties, marriage actively reduces their alcohol intake, according to research being presented at the American Sociological Association today.
However, the effect on women of walking down the aisle appears to be the opposite.
The researchers found that married women generally drink more heavily than single women, widows or divorcees.
By contrast, men who are happily married drink less than their bachelor friends and significantly less than divorced men.
The reason, the researchers conclude, is that while women can help keep their husbands’ drinking habits under control, men are simply a bad influence on their wives.

     This is an interesting revelation, after years of country songs talking about husbands out all night and getting drunk, it turns out that today women's freedoms have driven them to out drink the husbands.     It just might be that the marriage has drive the women to drink and the men to focus more giving them less time for hanging out and drinking.    This leads me to believe that married men are much calmer emotionally and marriage is tending to stress women for some reason, anyway an interesting article on the Mars and Venus ideas of the difference between men and women.   ;o)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

What a Concept!!

I guess that at some time or another that this idea as crossed your mind.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Things that Surround Us that We Never See

Hermit Crab
Isn't it funny how we walk around every day and so many things that we don't even see.  I took the camera out recently and started looking for things to photograph, when it dawned on me to look a little closer.   These are some of the things that I found.  As you walk around you are usually in the scan mode and really don't see anything but things that you are about to trip over, but when you really start looking there are many things around you that are truly beautiful.

Unusual Plant


Passion Flower

Try it, just look at your environment, you'll be surprised at what will appear around you when you take some time to look.    Notice your world, it is very enjoyable no matter where you are.  ;o)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Diageo seems to be Approaching Jamaica Differently

   Diageo has taken a different approach toward Jamaica in the Caribbean Rum Wars.   Diageo is seeking some support from Claredon Distillers Limited in reaching out to the West Indies Rum and Spirit Producers Association (WIRSPA) after last week's  statement, "The company warned last week that it was prepared to re-evaluate its operations in the Caribbean were regional rum producers to play hardball and file a dispute with the World Trade Organization (WTO)."    Diageo has a very good relationships in Jamaica and no plans  to change these during it's current contract terms.    

"Diageo said it recently invested significantly in renovating Clarendon Distillers, in which it has about 27 per cent ownership.
Clarendon Distillers, which is controlled by National Rums of Jamaica, is the producer of Monymusk White Overproof Rum.
"Indeed, we are actively seeking support from Clarendon to help us access some of WIRSPA's leadership to understand their issues," the company said." in an article of Autust 15, 2012 in the Jamaica Gleaner."
     Diageo was asked what its position on re-evaluating of its Caribbean interests with respect to the current conflict, Diageo said, "the terms of these contracts vary and we take pride in having positive relationships with our chosen suppliers. However, when contracts come up for renewal, we do re-evaluate them - which is sensible business."   Replacing the rum once supplied by Seralles Distilleria in Ponce Puerto Rico with rum produced in their own distillery in St. Croix was one of the decissions they had to make for the sake of the business. 
     Diageo is currently purchasing bulk rum in very large amounts from producers in Barbados and Guyana.   The truth of the matter is that they are purchasing, "the same amount of rum the  Caribbean that the WIRSPA reports that it's members export to the United States market."     The idea of the"cover over program" is not a new issue, it has been in place since 1917 when Congress enacted it to stablize the economy and offer fiscal autonomy to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
     I'm not sure where this battle is going to head next, but I feel that the two groups need to spend some more time together until something can be worked out.   ;o)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

2012 National Rum Day

Hemingway Daiquiri
    National Rum Day is the day you get to go out and experience the varieties of fine sugar cane spirits.     Rum has made an impressive renaissance if you will in the past 5 or so years.    Now knocking on the door of Vodka as the most sought after liquor these days here in America .     Rum is one of the most versatile spirits in that it mixes very well or can be enjoyed in a snifter or with just a couple of cubes of ice.   There are many classic cocktails that were made with rum and became popular as a part of the "Tiki Era" of the late thirties til the early eighties.   Others like the Hurricane and the Rumrunner that were created to get rid of a stocks of rum and other liquors that the bar owner had to buy in the early days after World War II in order to receive a case whiskey or scotch.

     Today with the resurgence of the craft cocktails and the Tiki style cocktails it is only natural that the rum is going to be a huge part of it.    Rum is a spirit that has many faces and likes showing all of them.  There are no two rums out there that taste alike, this is what makes the craft and tiki mixologists flock toward rum to create their masterpieces.  Rum has the reputation of being the fun spirit and seems to be the spirit of choice for fun events and cocktails.

    The other side of rum is one of sophistication and relaxation.   Fine rums are the perfect drink to sit and enjoy after dinner or just relaxing on the water in the evening.    Today there is a large market for rums of sophistication that can be enjoyed like fine cognacs and scotches have been in the past.    The fine rums of today are being used to celebrate the anniversary of fifty years of  Independence for Jamaica, 150 years of the Bacardi family producing rum, or 100 years of the Valera Hermanos family making rum in Panama.  This is an indication of the strength of the spirit in the modern world today.

     There are several methods for you to get to know rums here today.  You can stop by and visit with Martin Cates at Smuggler's Cove on Gough Street in San Francisco, Adam Kanter at the Rum Bar on Walnut Street in Philadelphia, or stop by and see me at the Rum Bar on Duval Street in Key West.   Any of us are very knowledgeable on the subject of sugar cane spirits and would love to assist you getting to know the rums of the world.    The other method that is easily accomplished is to go on line and see what Robert Burr can show you in his booklet "Rob's  Rum Guide" .

   National Rum Day offers chances to get to know what your newest favorite spirit is all about and courtesy of Crave, here is an interesting video and some recipes making use of Rhum Barbancourt products and some of my Rum Lab creations for your pleasure.   ;o)


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tulum: The Mayan Walled City

Temple of the Descending God
     Tulum, The Walled City, served as a major seaport for the "Pre-Columbian Era" Mayans serving the city of Coba.   The original name for Tulum was "Zama" meaning the "City of Dawn", because of it easterly facing orientation on the 39 foot cliffs and overlooking the Caribbean Sea.   Most active between the 13th and 16th centuries, although the earliest dated item is A.D. 564.  The Mayan city managed to survive some 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico.   Unfortunately it was the "Old World" diseases that were to bring the native Mayans into extinction.

     There are three major structures on the site, The Temple of the Descending Gods, El Castillo, and the Temple of the Frescoes.   The architecture of the site is recognized by the step foundations at the base of the structures and the similarity of the structures to those at Chichen Itza, but on a much smaller scale.   

     The largest structure on the site is "El Castillo" or the Castle a structure that can be seen from the sea or from inland.   It is the dominant structure of the site, although the shrine appears to have been built upon another structure.   El Castillo was  used as a beacon to guide canoes into the port.  There is a break in the reef exactly opposite "El Castillo" and it is in front of the break in the cliffs that provided the perfect location for any trading to take place.   Artifacts in the area indicate that trading at the site was one of the primary functions of Tulum.

     The Temple of the Frescoes was primarily used as an observatory to track the movement of the sun.  The Temple of the Frescoes has a lower gallery and a smaller second story observatory.  Like the other buildings of the site, the architecture is classic Mayan.

    Like Chichen Itza, Coba, and the other Mayan ruins that are located throughout the Mayan Riviera, Tulum is probably one of the more spectacular to see because of it's proximity to the Caribbean sea and the towns of Cancun and Cozumel.   It is a short hour and a half bus ride from the Hotel zone in Cancun to the site and a real pleasure to wander through the ruins and wonder at what the Mayan people accomplished with so few tools.   I guess it is the enormity of the entire Mayan cities and the engineering marvels that they constructed that keeps me in aah of the Mayans.   ;o

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Diageo Fires Warning Shots Back at CARICOM

        In the Caribbean Business Newspaper come the next step in the rum wars in the Caribbean over the U.S. rum subsidies.    Diageo is firing back with some warnings of it's own.

      Diageo is warning that it would be forced to “re-evaluate” its operations in the region if Caribbean Community & Common Market (Caricom) nations hike their challenge of sweet subsidies Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are offering rum makers with federal funds.
     Officials from the 15-member Caricom have been complaining to U.S. officials about the subsidies since last spring. Countries are now considering making formal complaints about the issue before the World Trade Organization (WTO). Such a serious move in the multi-front Caribbean rum war could imperil the lucrative federal rum-rebate program that pumps hundreds of millions of dollars into both territories each year.

     The widening rum war first broke out between Puerto Rico and the USVI when Diageo moved production of Captain Morgan rum from Ponce (where it was made under contract by DestilerĂ­a SerrallĂ©s) to St. Croix after landing huge incentives from the USVI government, which basically split the rum-rebate revenue between the government and the liquor producer. The USVI also entered into a similar deal with Fortune Brands, which produces Cruzan rum in St. Croix.
  Read More:
However, Diageo told “ that the amount of bulk rum it buys from members of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) is equal to the trade group’s reported exports to the U.S. market”.
     Diageo said rum exports to the U.S. by Caricom countries climbed 39 percent for the first four months of the year, reported.
     “These valuable relationships could be disrupted by a Caricom challenge at the WTO, which would force to re-evaluate its activities in the Caribbean,” Diageo told
     “This means that Diageo is not flooding the U.S. market with rum,” Diageo told “And Diageo’s premium rum doesn’t compete with, much less displace, the bulk rum produced by WIRSPA members.”

This is a complicated problem that is effecting much of rum world, and one that if it goes much beyond talk, could disrupt the world of rum in a way that it might have trouble recovering from.      Rum is in an up surge in popularity and many of the great rums are hard to get here in the United States without there being further restrictions upon the industry due to political issues.   ;o)