Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Yves Assier de Pompignan Opens New Martinique Distillery

Yves Assier de Pompignan 
     “I always dreamed of making rums,” Yves Assier de Pompignan tells me, walking through the waving stalks of a sugarcane field.

     Martinique is an island where there are more rum distilleries than anywhere else on earth, creating a new one is a tall order, especially when most brands have centuries of heritage.   That’s what makes the product of these dreams so rare, Assier de Pompignan has accomplished the remarkable here in Martinique on a small, centuries-old sugar estate that was the home of the former governor of Martinique and the rum is called A1710.

     Assier de Pompignan has taken a small property in southeastern Martinique and created the island’s newest working rum distillery.   It took three years of jumping through hoops, planning and plotting, but a life-long dream has become a reality.

     The challenge for any new rum brand, particularly in a place like Martinique, is the aged variety.   White rum can be produced in a few months, but an aged variety of quality needs years.   A1710, named for the year his family first came to Martinique, has initially released three expressions that are special blends of rums from both Martinique and Guadeloupe, using significantly aged rums, some as old as 17 years, to create what is a truly French Caribbean rum.  The result is splendid, with rich, complex flavors with all of the texture you expect from a great French rum.

     The white rum is the heart of this story, produced beginning last July right on the Habitation, and soon to hit the shelves in Martinique.   This rum, produced using a rebuilt former Cognac “Charentais” still, converted into a hybrid column-pot still that produces the only pot-still white rum in all of Martinique.

The White Rum is a bold, sweet, vegetal with a wonderfully earthy taste; while Yves is humble, it’s clear he knows how good it already is.   Some of the white rum, about a third, will be hidden away in bourbon barrels for long-term aging.  It will be a few years before the aged expressions will come from the new distillery, but I’m sure that they will be wonderful.

Read More at http://www.caribjournal.com/2017/01/13/rum-journal-martinique-new-rum-born/

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Taste of Cayman, Realy Fun Event

Taste of Cayman Festival Fiels with about half of the Tents Visible
     The Taste of Cayman, held in Camana Bay on Saturday was a lot of fun and a chance to share a lot of the culture of the Cayman Islands.   The event was all about the food, spirits and the people, This made for some very warm adventures and a chance to get to know many new people herein the Caymans.

2017 Seven Fathoms Cocktail Competition Panel of Judges
     The Seven Fathoms Cocktail Competition was a really great event, it gave seven first class bartenders an opportunity to show their talents on stage and to the judges as they presented their works of art and mixology.   It was such a great group of bartenders entered from the Cayman Islands and the two winners from the United States as well.  The competition was very close both in the primary heats and the final.  The winner, Sabrina Kudic from Chicago produced two wonderful expressions that really brought her talent to the forefront.  Her Overnight, a
Sabrina Kudic, 2017 Champion
variation of the classic cocktail Air Mail, had a nice balance to it and very flavorful without being overly sweet or tart.  The final cocktail, Star Shine, made with the secret ingredient star fruit, was again well thought out and by muddling the star fruit into the mix, gave the finished product a very unique and enjoyable flavor.  The final came down to a 1 point split between first and second which was a real good indication of how good their expressions really were.

   The creativity of the bartenders in their use of syrups and flavorings that were created by the individual bartenders was very impressive.  The use of the liqueurs make the cocktails more flavorful and uniquely complex was well handled.   What made the best cocktails great was the use of these additives in such a way as to not bury the flavor of the rum.  To often mixologist will often use too many and to much of these additives and the rum's flavor is lost in the mix.  I know that I use a quality rum in my own creations because I enjoy the flavor of the chosen rum and what is added is purely to enhance the rum's flavor, not to cloud or cover it up.

Swanky Girls, Swanky is where you et those great costumes
     The festival was filled with wonderful food and drink provide by the many fine restaurants and bars around the island.  It was a total experience of Cayman Food and their wonderful cocktail culture.  This is an event that I look forward to returning to next year, it is a lot of fun and very filling.  Plus if there are any beautiful women around I am going to find them.  I just love my life.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

     Today we relaxed until it was time to head to Camana Bay and the Taste of Cayman.  It was so relaxing to walk out to the end of the dock and just look all around.  The view of the Resort from the chairs at the end of the dock was great.  I love this image.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Cayman First Full Day: The Fun is Underway

     You know that the day is going to be a good one when it starts with a walk along the beach and beautiful ocean waters on the horizon.   After a nice breakfast and a walk it was time to get down to the business of being ready for tomorrow's Taste of Cayman Festival.

     Now is off to the Cayman Spirits Distillery and get together with Walker Romanica and Nelson Dilber to get ready tor the cocktail competition tomorrow evening.  The event opens at 5pm tomorrow and we needed a new 7 Fathoms cocktail for the booth and taste some rum that I finished in the barrel on my boat.  These are really tough times, I know it is so demanding, but it still has to be done.  On the serious side I secured more high wine to work with in barrels back in Key West when I get back.  New barrels and wine soaked rum barrel cubes to work with.    I just love to visit this distillery, so many new things happening and tw fun guys that really have an ability to create great rums.

     Things are being shaken up at this year’s ‘Seven Fathoms Cayman Rum Challenge’, taking place at the 29th annual Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival, with the addition of some international competition.   Three U.S. mixologists each won preliminary rounds held in New York, Chicago and Miami, and will compete against some of Cayman’s finest  in the annual challenge at Taste of Cayman, which takes place Saturday, 28 January 2017 at the Festival Green, Camana Bay. The winner of the final will be crowned ‘Seven Fathoms Mixologist of the Year’.

     Work is done, now it is time to settle down on the veranda look out over the ocean and sip some really nice rum for the rest of the evening.  Marta is doing a great job of mixing up some wonderful libations to carry us through the night.   

     Tomorrow is the big day, Taste of Cayman, cocktail contest and getting to meet people in the Seven Fathoms Rum booth.  The Taste of Cayman is a huge food, wine and spirits festival here in Georgetown.  If you happen to be in Grand Cayman tomorrow, stop by, things get under way at 5 and go on into the night.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Grand Cayman Day One

Touch Down Grand Cayman
     After a smooth flight from Key West to Miami and then on to Grand Cayman, the fun really began for us today.  Got our rental car and it was off to the west bay to check into the Holiday Inn Resort.
Holiday Inn Resort
This is one of those beautiful resorts with a gorgeous view of the water as you look out of the room.
One quick trip to the grocery store to stock the kitchen and it was time for the fun to begin.

     Today's first stop was the Cayman Spirits Company Distillery for a quick talk with Walker Romanica and Nelson Dilbert.  The samples of the rum that I finished in my barrel on the boat was a real hit with the boys.  Tomorrow we will be getting ready for the Cocktail competition at the Taste of Cayman event on Saturday.

Wyndak Reef Resort Bar View
     Now it is time to jump back into the rental car and head down the road to the east end of the island and the Wyndam Reef Resort to have a nice dinner and listen to my friend George Barefoot Man Nowak.  The show was filled with great music and laughs.  I find his brand of humor and music to be fun and well worth the price of admission.

George Barefoot Man Nowak

     A twenty mile drive back to the Holiday Inn Resort and it is time for a good night sleep.  Another exciting day ahead of us tomorrow, with a full report on Saturday.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cayman Island Here I Come

     We are traveling today to The Cayman Islands for some fun and to be a judge for "The Taste of

Cayman" cocktail contest.   It will be a chance to have some fun at the festival and enjoy the island including seeing Barefoot Man at the Reef and some good beach time.  I always enjoy visiting my friends Walker Romanica and Nelson Dilbert at Cayman Spirits Company Distillery.

      Things are being shaken up at this year’s ‘Seven Fathoms Cayman Rum Challenge’, taking place at the 29th annual Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival, with the addition of some international competition.   Three U.S. mixologists each won preliminary rounds held in New York, Chicago and Miami, and will compete against some of Cayman’s finest  in the annual challenge at Taste of Cayman, which takes place Saturday, 28 January 2017 at the Festival Green, Camana Bay. The winner of the final will be crowned ‘Seven Fathoms Mixologist of the Year’. 

     I love the Cayman Islands they never disappoint me, it seems that  the people and the islands can take your to a level if relaxation and serenity that can't be beat.   How can it be any better, good music, good rum and a great festival filled with great rum cocktails and the food of the islands.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cold Night T Punch

     This last storm with the high winds called for a warming cocktail last night.  I was in the mood for a t punch, with is a combination of rhum agricole, lime juice and cane syrup.  Then I had this idea, why not a hot t punch with a little twist.   Actually it was a good thought, by adding some cloves and a cinnamon stick to the mix you have a really nice warming libation.  This is a simple to make hot cocktail you might want to try an a cold winter night.

Hot Rhum Guadeloupe

  • 2 oz. Damoiseau VSOP Rhum
  •  oz. Hot Water
  • ½ oz.  Cane Syrup
  • ¼ oz. Lime Juice
  • 3 Whole  Cloves
  • 1” Cinnamon Stick

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Heat the brandy balloon in a tin of hot water, then double-strain the cocktail into the warmed brandy balloon. Garnish with orange zest and a cinnamon stick.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The North Winds Have Arrived

     Every now and then, we get a winter storm blow through here in the Keys.  Last night was one of those nights, we spent the night being rocked in the cradle.   I still got a good nights sleep as the rains and wind passed through the area.

     This morning we have still got some strong winds remaining between 20 and 35 miles per hour.  Bright sun and strong winds mean that we stay here on the rock instead of heading to Bahia Honda for Tuesday and Wednesday.  This is our winter, it is when we get some strong north winds every now and again, but it still beats the heck out of snow and ice.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Seems Moderate Drinking is Coming Under Scrutiny Again

     January marks the 98th anniversary of the ratification of the 18th Amendment, more commonly known as Prohibition. While Prohibition is remembered as one of America’s greatest failed experiments, today we’re seeing something of a revival of prohibitionist thinking among the public health community who have begun to attack even moderate alcohol consumption in earnest.   I found this article to be very interesting and a really good read.
     There is long-standing consensus about the negative health and social impacts of excessive alcohol consumption. But for decades there has also been widespread agreement about the health benefits from a regular glass or two of your favorite beer, wine or spirit.   Studies tout that the moderate consumption of alcohol can lead to a healthier heart, a reduced likelihood of Type 2 Diabetes, and protection from the common cold.   Most notably, moderate drinking has been shown to decrease all-cause mortality.        This “health halo” has provided a détente between public health officials and the beverage alcohol industry. Both groups condemned excess and touted moderation. Alcohol companies have spent billions advising the public to “drink responsibly,” while the USDA proclaimed that moderate alcohol consumption can have health benefits.
     But in 2016 this system started to break down as a handful of researchers began pushing dubious science suggesting that even small amounts of alcohol could increase the risk of various cancers.  But before you swear off the occasional glass of wine at dinner, consider that there may be more driving the sudden anti-alcohol-even-in-moderation narrative beyond disinterested science.   The hysteria was partially fueled by an analysis performed in New Zealand by Jeannie Connor — an anti-alcohol researcher who has claimed that “alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others.” Connor alleged causation admittedly without “confirmation of specific biological mechanisms by which alcohol increases the incidence of each type of cancer.”
     Anxiety about alcohol was further nurtured in 2016 by a host of stories about women and drinking. A Washington Post headline from last month blared, “Heavy drinking among women has been normalized, and it’s killing them in record numbers.” But in reality the “record number of deaths” is a record exaggeration. It is true that there is an increase in the number of white women aged 35 to 54 dying from alcohol-related causes, but only by about one-one hundredth of a percent over the course of 15 years.
     But if you want to push for big government solutions, you need people to think the problem is bigger than it actually is.  This is leading some researchers and public health officials to go outside the bounds of good science or fair reporting to try and undermine the moderate drinker vs. the excessive drinker paradigm.   Take the latest Surgeon General’s report “Facing Addiction in America.” Rather than focusing on solutions to alcohol addiction, which only affect 3.5 percent of U.S. adults, the report’s recommendations took aim at anyone who drinks by calling for a wide variety of new regulations on the sale of alcohol.
     The health benefits of alcohol have long flummoxed public health officials in more activist circles who believe alcohol should be regulated as the new tobacco. Bans on alcohol advertising and Sunday sales, sky high taxation, further lowering the legal BAC limit, and restricting alcohol access, are primary goals of many in the public health community.
     To the dismay of activists, the public understands that alcohol and tobacco are apples and oranges. They can’t be linked or compared. Even the most moderate of smokers are damaging their health. And, unlike alcohol, there is no way to incorporate smoking as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Quantum Key West Yacht Races

     I was fortunate enough to be the guest of Mount Gay Rum aboard America 2, a 106 foot long replica of the original America's Cup Racing yacht to spend the day off of Key West enjoying the Quantum Key West yacht races.  We couldn't have been given a better day to enjoy the ride and the great races.  Blue skies, relatively calm seas, and a perfect wind, life doesn't get much better.  This is the way that I enjoy my sailing.  A beautiful day of just cruising around the waters of Key West and watching the sailboat races.

Transpac 52 Class Racing Sailboats

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Florida House and Senate Bills Would Ease Restrictions on Craft Distillers

     Two weeks after a Florida Senate bill on craft distilleries was introduced, Rep. Cyndi Stevenson of St. Johns County filed a companion bill in the House, HB 141.  The goal of the two bills is to ease the restrictions on small distillers of spirits in the state.   Stevenson filed her bill at the end of December after state Sen. Greg Steube of Sarasota filed SB 166 earlier in the month.
     According to a release from Stevenson's office, the House bill would allow: A reduction in the annual license fee for craft distilleries.   Removal of individual container limits on sales in on-site gift shops or a local sales room.  Finally, an increase in the annual production limit allowed for qualification as a craft distillery from 75,000 gallons to 250,000 gallons.

     "This bill frees craft distilleries from unnecessary regulations and allows them to continue to grow," Stevenson said in a release. "Already we see the potential of craft distilleries in Florida's economy. They not only create good jobs, but also support Florida's farmers and invigorate historic districts. I look forward to working with Senator Steube on this bill."

     State law has changed several times in recent years in regard to craft distilleries.   A change first allowed customers to buy two bottles of liquor per year from a distillery, and then the law was further amended to allow customers to purchase two bottles per brand per year.   That means visitors to the Distillery can now buy two bottles each of the company's spirit brands. 

     HB 141 will give more freedom to Florida's craft distilleries, greater consumer choice and enable the growth of the industry.  The result will mean more jobs that will support manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, three of our state's leading industries. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mount Gay Day at the 30th Anniversary Quantum Key West Sailing Regatta

     2017 was 30th anniversary for the Quantum Key West regatta, the seas overall were good and the winds were with in a range that made for some really good sailing.  The races were close and the boat numbers were good.  There was some top notch talent that were on hand to make the races close and exciting through out the week.  I was lucky enough to be a guest of the Mount Gay people on the America 2, a replica of the original America's cup boat.  It is a 106 foot boat that rocketed along in Wednesday's winds between 6 and 19 knots.  It was a great vantage point from which to watch the races.  I'd like to thank the Mount Gay people for having me out on the boat and to the crew of the America 2 for making the cruise absolutely wonderful.

     Mount Gay Day,  Day 3 of the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week  saw a softening of the breeze on the racecourse and a corresponding shakeup on the scoreboard in some classes.  After a windy and wavy start to the regatta today’s conditions were far more manageable. Depending on the racecourse the wind ranged anywhere from a high of 10 to 13 knots before dying away to 7 to 9 knots by the third race in the afternoon. The sea state, while calmer than the first two days was still lumpy.

     The Mount Gay Rum Boat of the Day was awarded to J.D. Hill’s of Houston, TX sailing Second Star, a J/122 boat.   Competing in his first Quantum Key West Race Week, Hill’s crew won the first two races and finished tied for 2nd in the third. Second Star leads the ORC Class with 13.5 points and holds a 6-point lead over Alex Sastre’s (Coconut Grove, FL) High Noise (Italia Yachts 9.98m).

     The low point boat of the day in the class, however, was Austin and Gwen Fragomen’s  of Newport, RI  Interlodge V.   The newest boat in the class from the Botin design group, Interlodge V posted scores of 1-1-8 and holds fifth place overall with 39 points.  "We had a great day on the water," said Interlodge tactician Andy Horton (Shelburne, VT) "In the first race we led all the way around. In the second we led, got overtaken on the run, but then retook the lead for the win. It was probably our best race yet in the new boat. In the third race we got caught in a little inside-out shift that dropped us to 8th and we couldn't dig out of that. But we're in the hunt and happy for that."

     In the 52 Super Series Harm Müller Speers’ Platoon from Germany temporarily dropped out of the lead after placing 10th in Race 5, but then rebounded with a 2-5 in Races 6 and 7 to stand tied for the lead with Alberto and Pablo Roemmers’s (Buenos Aires, ARG) Azzurra, each with 31 points. Third place is held by Ergin Imre’s Provezza IX of Turkey with 32 points.
You can read more about the rest of the racing at https://keywestraceweek.com/2017-press-releases/253-race-week-reels-off-3-races 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2017 Taste of Cayman

Taste of Cayman

     The Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival is the Tourism Association’s biggest fundraiser. It began in the late ‘80s when a small number of restaurants from the Cayman Islands Restaurant Association met in a field to compete in a Chili Cook-Off. The event has grown to attract thousands, with more than 45 restaurants, bars and vendors participating. There are some new features this year, including a VIP area.

Seven Fathoms Cayman Rum Challenge
     Things are being shaken up at this year’s Seven Fathoms Cayman Rum Challenge at the 29th annual Taste of Cayman Food & Drink Festival. For the first time, international competitors are going to be a part of the event.  Three U.S. mixologists who each won preliminary rounds in New York, Chicago and Miami will compete against some of Cayman’s finest in the Seven Fathoms Cayman Rum Challenge at Taste of Cayman on Jan. 28 as a part of the Festival Green, Camana Bay.   The winner will be crowned Seven Fathoms Mixologist of the Year. This year marks the first time international contestants that wone preliminary rounds will compete against local mixologists.  The three preliminary winners are Sabrina Kudic of Chicago, Benny Hernandez of Miami, and Selma Slabiak of New York.
How Do I get Tickets

     For more information, contact tasteofcayman@cita.org or call 623-6700. Tickets can be bought online here. General admission tickets are $40 in advance; $50 at the gate; kids ages 5-13 are $20; and VIP tickets are $150, which includes entry to the VIP hospitality lounge, 25 food and drink tickets, one experience voucher, welcome drinks and canapes, express entry and a private cash bar.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Key West Police Question August Busch IV In Gun-Related Quarrel

August Busch IV
     Just think International news coming out of Key West, Florida.    August A. Busch IV, who was questioned by police Thursday after he pulled a gun during a confrontation at the Bank of America Office in Key West, FL.    No arrests were made, no charges were filed and no one was injured, according to the Key West Police Department report.   The incident occurred about 11 a.m. on the lot of a Bank of America branch, when a man in a pickup truck became angry with Busch for parking in a manner that blocked access to a bank door.  
     A witness to the confrontation said that while Busch walked to an ATM, the pickup driver got out of his vehicle, became confrontational by yelling at Busch and walked toward him.   The witness said Busch pulled out a handgun, but kept it pointed at the ground.   Busch, 52, was cooperative with the responding officer, he readily admitted to having a gun and then presented the officer with a valid driver's license and concealed-carry permit.   The former head of Anheuser-Busch Cos., who ran the brewing giant from 2006 until it was bought out two years later, has had several high-profile dealings with police in his high-profile past.

     Fortunately, this incident was nipped in the bud before it got out of hand.   Cooler heads finally prevailed before the incident turned violent.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Miami Rum Festival

      The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival has established a dedicated presence for Rums to spotlight the emergence of this spirit category and delivers a unique learning experience for festival participants.   While many of these rum products have widespread distribution across the United States, and the international markets, some are local and regional brands are not well known to the growing population of rum enthusiasts and collectors here and abroad.  The Miami Rum Festival is a place to learn more about the Rum Category from the people that make and promote it. You can experience rum at its best, April 22 and 23 at the 2017 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, at the DoubleTree Miami Airport Convention Center.

     The American Rum Portfolio
     This portion of the event showcases the best American Rums at the venue and attracts the largest concentration of rum experts, professionals, consumers and press, establishing  greater awareness and appreciation for these emerging spirits.   There are distilleries now producing rum in the United States that are growing at an incredible rate, igniting what can only be described as a new American Rum Revolution.    “From Alabama to Wyoming, from California to Maine, from Florida to Washington, we’re reaching out to American Rum Producers at a time when the craft rum distilling movement is burgeoning, flourishing and expanding greatly.”

Miami Rum Festival Trade Expo

     International Trade Exposition for Rum, a trade-only industry exhibition that brings rum producers and spirits industry product manufacturers together with importers, distributors, retailers, buyers, brokers and spirits industry trade media.  This is an invitation to members of the spirits and beverage trade to visit the International Trade Exposition for Rum, running concurrently with the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.   This is an opportunity for professionals to sample, savor and evaluate wide-ranging brands from every rum region of the world.   Guests can engage with representatives of exhibiting brands who are eager to share their knowledge and discuss opportunities to secure and expand distribution of their brands.   The business of rum happens here, Thousands of rum producers, importers, distributors, retailers, food and beverage managers, buyers, brokers, consultants and members of the spirit press will gather in Miami for this international Rum Expo.

 “From the great sipping rums to the essential ingredients for creating fine cocktails, it’s important for professionals to know their rums and discover new expressions that may bring value to their business,” said Robert Burr. “We’re investing in the trade by traveling to the furthest reaches of the globe to bring the largest selection of rums together in one room.”

Rum Festival Schedule

Saturday, April 22 and 23 from 1 pm until 6 pm

  • Grand Tasting
  • Trade Expo
  • VIP Tasting Bar
  • American Rum Portfolio
  • Seminars
  • Show closed each day at 6 pm

You can get your tickets at the show either on line or by telephone.  Remember that there will be no tickets sold at the door, so make sure that you get your tickets in advance of arriving to the festival The tickets can be secured at http://www.miamirumfest.com/tickets/ or by phoning 877-855-3378.

Two-For-One Ticket Discount Code
     For our loyal rum friends and family, here's a 2-for-1 discount code you can use to purchase Weekend VIP tickets online for a limited time.
Enjoy the Rum Fest Grand Tasting events all weekend and bring a friend along — for free — to share the experience.

Two-For-One Discount Code: MRF17VIP241

Monday, January 16, 2017

Diplomatico Introduces Planas and Mantuano

     Diplomático Planas is still made the same way as the original Reserve Blanco, aged for six years, charcoal filtered, 50/50 pot and column still with one key difference, the abv has been upped from 40% to 47%.  ‘Now it’s very much a premium sipping rum, said Speciality Brands  Jon Lister.   It boasts a chewy texture, with great fruit character up front, some cappuccino flavors in the mid palate and a nutty, long finish.  Lister suggests mixing it as a rum Martini with Gancia Bianco, which he filters through milk powder, then adds 2.5ml of palo cortado sherry.
     Diplomático Mantuano is taking the place of the Reserva, and production has changed a bit: the rum is still predominantly eight years old and 40% abv, but the new variant is comprised of 40/60 pot to column still, as opposed to the previous 50/50 split.   Mantuano boasts a distinct caramel flavor, with some hints of stone fruit and vanilla, and a long, drying finish.   This has the flavor that will make it a great premium cocktail base.   ‘The changes have been brought in to give the rum more mixing capability, to move it away from the Reserva Exclusiva and to bring out the dry, tropical notes, rather than being the poor man’s Reserva Exclusiva.  It has got a tiki element to it, but it’s still a moody sipping rum, only it’s much more versatile.’

The bottles of the two new expressions are similar in shape to the Reserva Exclusiva, bringing the three rums in line with each other.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Keys are Bright and Beautiful for 2017

    The Florida Keys are blessed with so many beautiful days and afternoon every year and it looks as though this year will be no different.  I had the opportunity to cruise my favorite quiet place in the Keys this week and the afternoon was not disappointing.  I hope you enjoy my afternoon between the bridges at Bahia Honda State Park.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador Looks at Rum for 2017

Ian Burrell
     Ian Burrell, a global rum ambassador friend of mine offers his feelings of where the rum category is headed in 2017.   The rum category this year is at a point where the  consumers will start to question more about what type of rum is in their glass and are they getting real value for money?   “With an increase in true premium rums being launched in 2017 by such producers as Diplomatico, Foursquare,  Appleton and even Bacardi’s acquisition of Santa Teresa’s distribution rights will be the center of conversation  at rum festivals, rum clubs and online.    A shift in how premium rums are being made, marketed and sold is also expected.   Most people in the industry will be focusing on the Bacardi vs Havana Club trademark war in the US.  There will be a few other Cuban rum brands like Santiago de Cuba, Ron Varadero, Ron Caney and Ron Mulata will be getting ready to make their presents on the international stage during 2017.
Peter Holland

     Peter Holland of The Floating Rum Shack, thinks that there are plenty of gains to be made at the top end with a more educated consumer demanding authentically produced rums, with the emphasis on the contents rather than the packaging.  You can expect a greater demand for genuine aged products and the cost of the “juice” will surely go up as well.  There is a risk that the middle ground products will lose out a bit without age statement blends being reduced a bit to compensate for the improvements at the high in.
      “Rum cocktails will also continue to drive the category as bartenders seek to use premium rums in their creations.”   The spiced and flavored end of the market will continue to expand. I’m expecting releases from major players this year, but I’m a bit worried that we’ll have too much ‘Sugar & Spice’ and end up with rum having nothing as far as the “nice image” goes.   “There may be a touch of desire for amazing expressions like cachaça and agricole to hit the market!    “Education is still very much needed throughout the category.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Santa Teresa Rums Announces a Global Distribution Agreement with Bacardi

     Venezuela's Santa Teresa, one of a dwindling number of successful rum companies , announced a deal with the Bacardi, for global distribution.   Despite a harrowing economic crisis in Venezuela, the rum industry appears to be the only thriving industry.   The deal will grant the family-owned Santa Teresa "a significant market expansion from the existing 34 markets, aiming for double-digit growth for its portfolio of aged rums within the next three years." The company will retain distribution in Venezuela.

     Santa Teresa is one of Venezuela's top rum companies. It was founded in 1796 and began producing rum in 1885.   Over the years the company has done some modernization of its distillery, but still retains its venerable old solera aging bodega.    International sales have risen steadily in recent years - from 160,000 cases in 2014 to 200,000 cases in 2016.   

Santa Teresa Solera Aging Bodega
     After launching its own, small, selection of premium rums, this deal will provide Bacardí with a great selection of upper end rums to the marketplace.   Santa Teresa's rum is Venezuela's oldest rum producer, are distilled and bottled at a sugar-cane estate in the state of Aragua, Venezuela.