Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What Does Rum Mean to the World?

   That is a funny question, but one that I was pondering as I looked over some spirits industry news.   For some it is an old pirate and crusty sailor's libation, but to others it is a very sophisticated spirit to be lavished with a cigar and a restful evening on the patio.  Still others see it as a means to make a living working in the industry.  No matter how you see rum, it has become a major player in the world economy and in the eyes of the people that enjoy it.

    In Barbados for instance, rum has a major effect on the economy of the country.  The sugar cane and the rum industry make up a very large portion of the little island's economy, and how well these industries do has a big effect on the welfare of Barbados.   But over and above that fact the people and the producers of rum enjoy the high quality of their rums as well.

     National pride is involved as well, the pride of the people that produce rums in Panama, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Trinidad, Venezuela, and the many many other countries involved are extremely proud of the rums they put their names on.   From the cane farmers and the field workers to the Maestro Roneros and the distillery workers, they all play an important part in the making of their countries rums.

     I find that there is so much pride in the people that make your rums every where that I travel.   Finding new ways to make their rums unique, like aging the rum below the ocean, or blending with the use of varied types of barrels, the product is what is important and the pride they get from producing a high quality product is always in their eyes.  It is their willingness to share what they have been doing with all of us that will listen that makes my job so much fun..    I feel that it is this price in their product that separates the rum category from all of the rest of the spirits.  No where is their such freedom to make a product as unique and different as your imagination will allow you to create.   Many of the old masters in the business are coming up with rums today that have you singing their praises every time a new rum is introduced.  

     It is these masters creating the honest and traditional based rums that will take rum to it's next level.  There is enough of the vanilla flavored
and caramel colored rums out there already, we need to allow the real masters to apply their skills and keep creating some of the honest rums that are getting their flavors from the barrel instead of the chemistry lab.  Making use of quality barrels, solera systems, clean distilling practices and good blending procedures will take the category to a place of higher respect in the spirits world.

    Rum consumers are the ones that will move rum to the next level by speaking with your consumer dollars and buying the quality rums rather than the cheap ones that just perpetuate the pirate swill image rum has had in the past.   ;o)