Friday, June 30, 2017

Spirits Business Top 10 Rum Sales Champions

Spirits Business has announced its top 10 selling Rum Brands for 2016.  There have been some very interesting changes over the past year.

1.   Bacardi

2016: 17.23m Cases - 2015: 17.42m Cases – Percentage of change: -1.09% - Place last year: 2  Having lost its position as the world’s best-selling rum brand in 2014, Bacardi finally has gotten the title in 2016, despite a marginal sales decline. In recent years, the brand has been in a close battle with McDowell’s No.1 Celebration.   Bacardi is set to increase its presence in the key US market after moving distribution to the newly formed any Southern Glazer.

2.   Tanduay

2016: 16.60m Cases - 2015: 16.50m Cases - Percentage of change: +0.61%  - Place last year: 3   With McDowell’s dropping to number 3 it makes Philippines-made Tanduay Rum the world’s second-largest selling rum brand despite relatively slow sales in 2016.  The brand has had solid volume gains since 2013, but it hasn’t hit the record highs of nearly 20m cases back in 2012.   Tanduay is the best-selling rum in Asia and available in the US.


3. McDowell’s No.1 Celebration

2016: 14.90m Cases - 2015: 16.20m Cases – Percentage of change: -8.02% - Place last year: 1.  2015’s best-selling rum brand now finds itself in the third spot. Last year, India’s McDowell’s No.1 Celebration experienced an 8% drop to 14.90m cases, which was the lowest sales in five years.  The brand was likely hit by market difficulties in India.

4. Captain Morgan

2016: 10.70m Cases - 2015: 10.30m Cases - Percentage of change: 3.88% - Place last year: 4.   Captain Morgan rum has maintained a position as the world’s fourth best-selling rum with sales gains of nearly 4%.   Captain Morgan increased its sales with new expressions in the past year helping to increase sales.  Captain Morgan has also added some punch to its market efforts for the year ahead.

5. Havana Club

2016: 4.19m Cases - 2015: 4.01m Cases – Percentage of change: 4.49% - Place last year: 5.  Havana Club is making headlines as speculation mounted over the prospect of the US lifting its trade embargo against Cuba.  Havana Club and Bacardi are still battling over the Havana Club trademark in the US.   Havana Club experienced a 5% growth in 2016.   Alexandre Ricard, CEO of Pernod Ricard, said that a significant increase in tourism to Cuba has had an extremely positive impact on Havana Club’s sales in airports”.

6. Barceló

2016: 2.07m Cases - 2015: 2.04m Cases – Percentage of change: +1.57% - Place last year: 6.    Dominican Republic’s Ron Barceló is sold in more than 50 countries. It has continued to have a solid performance in 2016.  It hit 2.07m cases. Barceló has not experienced any declines in the last five years, even though its rate of growth has slowed.

7. Contessa

2016: 1.98 Cases - 2015: 2.70m Cases – Percentage of change: -26.67% - Place last year – Unranked  Contessa was hit hard by market factors in India, and as such experienced heavy sales losses.  Dropping the brand below the 2m case mark for the first time in many years.  Contessa has a presence in Africa, South East Asia and Middle East and is now ready to open the USA and Canada. 

8. Old Port Rum

2016: 1.69m Cases - 2015: 1.92m Cases – Percentage of change: -11.98% - Place last year: 7.  India’s Old Port Rum experienced a sudden sales drop in 2016, showing a three-year low of 1.69m cases.  Indian’s market issues last year like so many other brands.

9. Ron Medellin
2016: 1.39m Cases - 2015: 1.04m Cases – Percentage of change: +34.20% - Place last year: Unranked   Fabrica de Alcoholes y Licores de Antioquia has for the first time provided its sales data, showing that Ron Medellin rum is the ninth best-selling rum in the world.   Columbian made Ron Medellin made an astonishing 34.20% growth during 2016, the fastest growth rate among any million-case-selling rum brand.
10. Appleton Estate

2016: 1.22m Cases - 2015: 1.25m Cases – Percentage of change: -2.40% - Place last year: 8.  Having increased sales by 50,000 cases in 2015, Appleton Estate Rum sales had significantly different results in 2016.  Volumes have dropped by 2.40%.    The growth of Campari’s total rum portfolio was held back in 2016 by the US and Canada following the new naming classifications and packaging updates for three of its core expressions.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tasting Spirits to Really Get the Most from Them

    How do you taste rum and really get anything out of the tasting?   I hear people tell me that they first sniff then put it into their mouths and swallow.  When I watch the people that I serve at a tasting, the majority just slam it back and wonder why they don’t get much out of it.   I’m of the conclusion that these are the people that also think “Captain Morgan” is great sipping rum.   Rum like any other quality spirit is a very special entity, that takes some time and interest by the taster to really understand and enjoy.
The Neat Spirit Tasting Glass
     First of all, you need to be in a place where you are comfortable and undistracted.  To properly enjoy a good spirit, you first must be interested and not just going through the motions.  You also need proper glassware to allow you to take in the aroma of the spirit without being over whelmed by the alcohol that is hovering at the top of an improper glass.   The “Neat Glass is a good example of a glass that will allow the alcohol to flow away and allow you to take in the aroma of the spirit without being overcome by the alcohol fumes.
     When I start the evaluation my first step is to hold it up to the light where I can observe the color and the clarity of the spirit.  Color is a big part of the appeal of a good quality spirit.  Next is the taking in of the aroma of the spirit.  Aroma is a huge part of your tasting sensors.  You taste by somewhere around 75% aroma and 25% actual passing of the spirit across the taste buds in your mouth.  For this reason, I like to move directly from sniffing the aroma to taking a very small sip of the spirit that I allow to roll across my tongue and the rest of my
mouth.  Taking enough time to allow the flavors to fully develop in the mouth will give you a good basis for evaluating all the flavors the rum is providing.
     Next, I slowly swallow the sample to see how it goes through the rear of my mouth and down the throat.  This will lead me to how the flavors finish and linger before fading away.  If you then sit and savor the total experience you’ll really understand why you do or don not like the expression.  Before repeating the tasting be sure to cleanse the palate with water.
     It has been my experience that if you follow these steps and take some time to enjoy and truly experience a spirit you will find that there are a number of really fine spirits out there that you may have passed over because you weren’t taking the time to fully sense the expression.  Give this method a try I think you will be surprised how much more you get out of tasting spirits.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Cockspur Rum Brand Sold

     Goddard Enterprises Limited, has concluded an agreement to sell its majority interest in International Brand Developers N.V., owner of the Cockspur Rum brand.   GEL has had a long association with the Cockspur brand, dating back to the days when it sponsored the Cockspur Gold Cup Race in the early 1980s. This race and the promotion of it for 15 consecutive years, helped to propel the Cockspur rum brand to the position of market leader.

     Following this success, the Cockspur brand had been met with aggressive campaigns from other brands and changing market forces, and so, options were explored to grow the brand. GEL then investigated various options for the future of the brand as it determined that the spirits industry no longer fitted in with its business strategy.
     A global search ensued but an eventual offer came from an internationally experienced company in Barbados – Woodland Radicle Limited and its affiliated companies (the “WR Group”) – with a global reputation in brand creation, brand building and activation of beverage brands. The WR Group sees great potential for the Cockspur brand. 

     The WR Group management team is comprised of Damian McKinney, Steve Wilson and Allan Reinecker supported by local investors.  Damian McKinney, who is based in Barbados, was until recently the creator and owner of McKinney Rogers Consulting – a global business execution agency specializing in bringing businesses and brands back to greatness with a very impressive list of global clients and brands.  Steve Wilson is a veteran in the creation of global spirits. He was involved with many well-known brands including Bailey’s Irish Cream, Malibu, Ciroc Vodka and Smirnoff Ice.  Allan Reinecker is an expert in global finance and business development having concluded many beverage deals globally. 

     In terms of changes as a result of the sale, the headquarters for Cockspur will be at the WR Group’s corporate base in Woodland, St George. Highly motivated individuals will be recruited to work with a network of distributors globally to aggressively market the brand, while local distribution for the brand will remain with Hanschell Inniss Limited, a subsidiary of GEL. The brand will continue to be produced in Barbados. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hemingway Rum Company Still Produced its First Output Yesterday

Steam in the Upper Windows
     It was an exciting day for all of us at the Hemingway Rum Company yesterday.  We fired up out still for the first time and heated water to the point where it passed through the rectifying tower and into the condensing tower and out into the collection bucket.   We spent most of the morning torquing the tower bolts and securing all of the water jackets clamps before we fired up the boiler and started making steam to heat up the 150 or so gallons of water in the in the pot.

Distilled Water Coming out the output pipe
     What was so rewarding is that there were no leaks from any of the connections in the system.  All of our systems operated like they should and we produced about 10 gallons of distilled water by the time that we shut down the boiler and let the still cool.

     Congratulations to Carlton Grooms, Shawn Martin and of course myself.  We worked so well as a team getting all of the systems operating without any problems.  The whole system powered up and made distilled water and shout down without any issues.  Fun, Fun, Fun, can't wait to do it again with beer in the belly of the pot and we start making real rum.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Ruling in on Captain Morgan vs Admiral Nelson Trademark Dispute

     Heaven Hill’s Admiral Nelson’s rums “infringe” Diageo’s Captain Morgan trademark, this long-running case in Canada’s Federal Court has ruled.     In the June 12th ruling, the judge said that Heaven Hill has “directed public attention to its wares and business so as to cause confusion in Canada” the Admiral Nelson brand and Captain Morgan.
     This action was first brought against Heaven Hill in 2014, stating that the Admiral Nelson image was “clearly intended” to mimic Captain Morgan in an attempt to “trade upon the brand’s goodwill and create consumer confusion”.   The judge has ruled in favor of Diageo, with Heaven Hill being banned from selling, distributing or importing products bearing the Admiral Nelson’s character in Canada.   Heaven Hill was also ordered to pay damages to Diageo.

     A Diageo spokesman said that “we are pleased with the ruling in the trademark infringement case against Heaven Hill was overwhelmingly in our favor; clearly supporting our view that Admiral Nelson’s product labels infringes on the Captain Morgan trademark”.    “Diageo is a global leader owning a collection of well established brands, of which Captain Morgan is one of their most valued characters”.   Diageo is committed to defending our intellectual property throughout North America and around the world.”

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The House Looks Good with the Leaves and the Green Grass

     The new grass is grown in and the trees have their leaves back on them making the place look so much better.  The lake is full and the place is finally looking really good again.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Kill Devil Colonial Cocktails

     Rum during the Colonial times here in America was still for the most part in the "Kill Devil" quality.   It really had to be mixed with something to be drinkable.  This was the birthplace of some very interesting cocktails from the era.  

Flip, The Cocktail
     Flip was a vastly popular drink, and continued to be so for a century and a half.  I find it spoken of as early as 1690. It was made of home-brewed beer sweetened with sugar, molasses, or dried pumpkin, and flavored with a liberal dash of rum.  It was stirred in a great mug or pitcher with a red-hot loggerhead or bottle or flip-dog, which made the liquor foam and gave it a burnt bitter flavor.

     Landlord May, of Canton, Mass., made a famous brew, he would mix four pounds of sugar, four eggs, and one pint of cream and let it stand for two days.   When a mug of flip was called for, he filled a quart mug two-thirds full of beer, placed add four great spoonfuls of the compound, then thrust in the seething loggerhead, and added a gill of rum to the creamy mixture.   If a fresh egg were beaten into the flip the drink was called "bellowstop," and the froth rose over the top of the mug. 

     "Stonewall" was a most intoxicating mixture of cider and rum. "Calibogus," or "bogus" was cold rum and beer unsweetened.  "Black-strap" was a mixture of rum and molasses. Casks of it stood in every country store, a salted and dried codfish slyly hung alongside, a free lunch to be stripped off and eaten, and thus tempt, through thirst, the purchase of another draught of black-strap.

     No one knows, or ever will know, what New England rum tasted like.  The generic roots of rum extends deep into the misty past before there were bottles and labels and such.   This is probably a blessing if some of the written descriptions of the early rums are even close to being true.


Friday, June 23, 2017

Copper Bottom Distillery of Holly Hill, Florida

     East Volusia County’s rum history dating back to the 1750’s. A historical marker at 715 W. Granada Blvd. in Ormond Beach is the site of the Three Chimneys, home to the oldest British sugar plantation, sugar mill and rum distillery in the United States.   And in the early days of Prohibition that ran from 1920 to 1933, Bill McCoy used a Holly Hill boatyard as a base for his ships that ran rum and other spirits from the Bahamas up the U.S. east coast. According to New York Times articles, he was arrested in late 1923, pleaded guilty and served nine months in jail.   With East Volusia County’s history of rum, the Craig family wants to add their name to it.  The family has converted an old laundromat into the Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, located at the western base of the Seabreeze Boulevard bridge in Holly Hill, Florida.  It is the first licensed craft distillery in Volusia County.
     Copper Bottom Craft Distillery initially made vodka, several types of rum and also put up bourbon in charred oak casks to age the required two years.   “With this being Florida and the local history with rum, we have to have different rums,” said Jenni Craig,.
Copper Bottom Distillery
    The distillery has tours for tourists and locals that will end in the tasting room where bottles will also be sold, but not for consumption at the distillery.   To grow the business, the Craigs hope to contract with a distributor to sell their liquor in stores, restaurants and other retailers.  Those tales will be part of the story and décor at Copper Bottom Craft Distillery, said Jenni Craig.   “I think it will help bring people to that area and that’s what’s needed to spruce up that area for redevelopment,” Holly Hill City Manager Joe Forte said. “This could be another incentive there. It’s a step in the right direction.” 
     Their white rum is one that is an excellent example of craft rums that works very well as a base for the cocktail mixologists and I wish the well in their business.  I hope that I get the opportunity to tour the plant in the near future on a trip to the Daytona area.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Spirit that Carried Colonial America to a Revolution

Christopher Columbus Voyages
     Sugar culture in the Americas in turn began with Columbus who brought sugar cane to the Caribbean in 1493. where, it flourished.  The popular and profitable sugar refineries had two major problems: rats and molasses. Rats, whose sweet teeth could do in up to 5 percent of a given sugar crop per year, were variously dealt with by poison, ferrets, dogs, and slaves armed with clubs.   Molasses, though less damaging, was messier. It was a by-product of the sugar-making process: the boiled cane syrup was cooled and cured in clay pots with drainage holes in the bottom; as the syrup crystallized to form sugar, the leftovers–in the form of dark, caramelized goo that oozed out of the holes. 

Barbados Sugar Plantation Circa 1600"s
     On average, about one pound of molasses was made for every two pounds of sugar, and nobody knew what to do with it. Some was fed to slaves and livestock; some was mixed with lime and horsehair to make mortar; and some was used to concoct a very ineffective treatment for syphilis. Most, however, to the tune of millions of gallons a year, was simply tossed into the sea.     No one knows who first noticed that molasses could be fermented to generate alcohol, but the breakthrough may have occurred on Barbados, a tiny pear-shaped island at the tail end of the Lesser Antilles. There, in 1647, a chatty visitor named Richard Ligon attended a party at which he was treated to a feast that included suckling pig, pineapple, and a throat-searing drink known as “kill-devil,” an early moniker for rum.   Though undeniably alcoholic, “Kill Devil” doesn’t seem to have been tasty, even the perennially upbeat Ligon describes it as “not very pleasant.”   More forthright critics called it “rough and disagreeable” or “hot, hellish, and terrible.” Nevertheless, it sold like hotcakes.

Medford, Mass Ship Building and Rum Distillery of Colonial Times
    Pirates, traditionally, accounted for a lot of it; excavations at Port Royal, Jamaica, a famous pirate hideaway  that was once dubbed “the wickedest city in the world”, turned up hundreds of rum bottles.   Even more was sold to the North American colonies. In 1699, a British observer commented that rum was “much loved by the American English” as “the Comforter of their Souls, the Preserver of their Bodies, the Remover of their Cares, and Promoter of their Mirth.” It was also a sovereign remedy, he added, for “Grumbling of the Guts” and chilblains.      By the early 18th century, nearly all the rum exported from the West Indies went straight to North America, between 1726 and 1730, Barbados and Antigua alone shipped out over 900,000 gallons.    American colonists were not only importing rum; they were distilling their own.  As of 1770, there were over 150 rum distilleries in New England, and the colonists, collectively, were importing 6.5 million gallons of West Indian molasses, and turning it into five million gallons of rum. One estimate from the time of the Revolutionary War puts American rum consumption at nearly four gallons per person per year. Unfortunately, most of it wasn’t very good, but it did have the advantage of being cheap.
      The Molasses Act of 1763 had called for a tax of sixpence per gallon on non-British sugar and molasses imported into the North American colonies. This measure had been proposed by sugar growers in the British West Indies who wanted Parliament’s assistance to force the colonies to buy their produce, not the less expensive sugar of the competing Spanish and French islands. The sixpence tax was high and, if strictly enforced, would have caused severe hardship for the New England distilleries. Rum was a great social lubricant of the day and was much in demand throughout the colonies, but heavy taxation could put the beverage out of the reach of many in the lower reaches of society.  The problem with this Sugar Act was they could not really enforce it.  The colonists were smuggling the non-British molasses into the country.  Later, the Sugar Act of 1764 was passed.   The ever-frugal New Englanders worked their way around the tax by bribing customs officials.   British enforcement officers were aware of what was happening, but followed the “salutary neglect" of the colonies. Merchants on both sides of the Atlantic were prospering, so why rock the boat?  
     It would be these kind of taxes that would eventually lead the colonies to war with the British.  Even the start of the war began with rum.  Did you know that during his ride Revere made a little pit stop in Medford, Massachusetts at the home of Captain Isaac Hall. Captain Hall happened to be a distiller of rum, and Medford happened to be the rum capital of America at the time. Being a good host, Captain Hall started pouring flagons of rum, and the rest, as they say, is history.   By the time Revere saddled up again, he’d "sampled his fair share" of Captain
Paul Revere's Ride 1775
Hall’s hospitality and “he who came a silent horseman, departed a virile and vociferous crusader, with a cry of defiance and not of fear.” Not surprisingly, Revere was “pulled over” by the authorities (Redcoats) and detained for an hour before being released.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Atlantico Introduces a Bold New Look for the Line

      Atlantico Rum, from the Dominican Republic, is introducing a bold new look. It is inspired by classic ceramic tiles found throughout the Caribbean, creating a fresh, distinct design that clearly stands out from other rums. 
     "We love the Caribbean, particularly our home in the Dominican Republic. The people, food, culture and lifestyle are simply incredible. We wanted to find a way to capture the vibrancy and flavor of the Caribbean in our packaging while doing it in a classy way that is different than any other rum," said Brandon Lieb, Atlantico's Co-Founder. "With our new look, we are communicating Atlantico's hand-crafted credentials, unique process and flavor notes while transporting the imagination as much as the palate," adds fellow Co-Founder Aleco Azqueta.
     Atlantico sourced materials from all over the world to achieve its design goals.  The bottles, produced in France, are rounded with a heavy glass base. The wood and cork closures come from Portugal and are debossed with an updated Atlantico logo. All labels come from Northern California and include tasting notes, raw material information, barrel types used, individual bottle numbers and the signatures of the two founders. The designs are the work of Los Angeles-based luxury design firm M+.    "I couldn't be happier with the new design," adds singer Enrique Iglesiaswho is a partner in Atlantico. "It has a timeless, sexy look that captures the spirit of the Caribbean." 

Travel Day to Boston then Mooresville

Mom Leonard
     Today is a travel day for me, I'm heading to Boston and then drive down to Taunton to visit for the day with my Mother.  I make this trip every year to spend a little time with my mother and catch up on what is going on with her.

     She turned 96 last February and is doing very well, she still lives alone and manages everything for herself.  I'm very proud of her and her stubbornness to live life on her own terms.  Determined to make 100, it is always a joy to travel up and spend some time with here each year at this time.

     It isn't a bad thing either for me to get off of the rock for a few days either.   After a visit with mom, it is off to Mooresville, North Carolina for a few days to take care of some issues at the house.  There are a couple of things that I need to take care of to help make it more salable in the current market.  Once I get the work done there it will be back to Key West on Friday and back to work on Saturday.  Looking forward to a fun and productive trip.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ron Barceló And Artist Ruben Ubiera Launch Limited Edition Bottle for Barceló Añejo Rum

Ruben Ubiera
     Announcing a first-time collaboration for the Dominican Rum producer as part of an artist series.   Blending art, spirit and the proud Dominican heritage.   Ron Barcelo has partnered with neo-figurative artist Ruben Ubiera who has created the first of the limited edition bottle for Barceló Añejo Rum.   Inspired by his own personal experiences, the Dominican born, New York raised and Miami based artist created this energized design on a metallic gold background in his signature Postgraffism style.

     The interpretation best personifies Ron Barceló Añejo, a golden, amber rum whose bold, rich notes hold woody aromas of butterscotch and toffee with flavors of vanilla, caramel and spice.  The Ruben Ubiera Limited Edition Barcelo Añejo 750ml bottle is now available at retail stores in the east coast markets of Florida, New Jersey and New York.   It will begin rolling out in other U.S. markets by July 2017.   Quantities of the Ruben Ubiera bottle are very limited; only 1,000 cases will be available for the U.S.

     Special bottles like this that bring out the taste of good rum with the heritage is a great thing not only for the brand and the artist, but brings an opportunity to share it with the world.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Beautiful Day on the Water at Bahia Honda

     This week for the first time in over a month we got to return to Baja Honda State park.   It was a beautiful sunny day that we spent out on the Kayak and the boat just soaking up the sun and the sea.  I just wish that schedules and weather would get back to normal soon and we can spend more time out on the water and specifically at Baja Honda.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Antigua Distillery Hit by 2500 Metric Ton Molasses Spill

Molasses Flows Down into the Streets
    Antigua Distillery, producer of English Harbour Rum, Cavalier Rum and Kokocaribe Rum, discovered the molasses leaking from the distillery’s 2500 metric ton capacity storage tank, which was delivered the previous day. A thick layer of foam had formed on top of the molasses and was found to be leaking through the vents under the roof of the tank.   The ship was then immediately notified to stop pumping.  Once the overflow of foam subsided, pumping resumed and was completed by 10.30 pm.
    Sunday morning, the main storage tank located at the deep-water harbor began foaming over again. The foaming later subsided after a vacuum truck removed the spill-over molasses and additional truckloads of backfill were brought in.  Efforts to remove the spill have been underway since Saturday evening. Truckloads of backfill and a backhoe have been brought in to spread the fill, and to absorb the excess molasses both inside the distillery compound, and on the main road in front of the distillery.
     A water truck was also brought in to wash the main road of any residual molasses that may have traveled onto it from the storage tank.   The primary concern is the pungent odor emitted by the spill. The distillery is working to ensure that the situation will be fully contained by this weekend.  The distillery’s managing director Anthony Bento admitted “full responsibility” for the “unusual” incident, which is the first of its kind in the company’s 85-year history.
     “The company has always placed an emphasis on ensuring the environment is not endangered as a result of our activities.   For the past two years, the company has been involved in a pilot study with a US biotechnology firm to find ways of managing its effluent. This is a Caribbean-wide problem in the rum industry.”  Antigua Distillery are currently conducting further investigations into what caused the accident.

     Molasses spills are rare but can be incredibly serious, not only for the environment, but to people close by.   The most famous molasses-related incident is the Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster, which happened on 15 January, 1919 at the Purity Distilling Company in Boston, Massachusetts.  A large molasses storage tank burst spewing forth a wave of molasses through the streets at an estimated 35 mph, killing 21 and injuring 150. Almost a century after the incident, residents still claim that on hot summer days the area still smells of molasses.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The One That Lost the Least is the Winner!

Bacardi Takes Back the Number One Sales Position for Rum
     Bacardí has reclaimed its title as the world’s best-selling rum brand.   The Spirit Business has released its The Brand Champions 2017 data, which ranks the world’s best-selling rum brands. Bacardí’s sales fell 1.09% in  to 17.23 million cases, however it was still enough to return the brand to the top spot.  Philippines-made rum Tanduay is the world’s second-largest rum brand, recording sales of 16.6 million cases in 2016.   Mc Dowell’s No. 1 Celebration finished third with sales of 14.9 million cases.  It is not a good omen for the category that the company with the smallest decline in sales becomes the sales champion.

     McDowell’s No.1 Celebration – owned by Diageo subsidiary United Spirits Limited (USL) – took the top title from Bacardi in 2014, but figures now show that McDowell’s took an 8% drop – making it the world’s third best-selling rum brand.   USL was hit by the complete ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in India's Bihar region as well as operating model changes.

     William Grant & Sons has confirmed that Sailor Jerry rum passed the mark of one million cases sales mark for the first time in 2016, a volume sales increase of 3.8% making it the second best-selling spiced rum after Captain Morgan. “The US remains our biggest market and they have done a great job in growing our share of the spiced rum category through consistent visibility in the off trade, grass root partnerships led by our local brand ambassadors, and impactful experiential partnerships,” said Chin Ru Foo, global brand director, Sailor Jerry, told the spirits business.

     Earlier this week, global rum ambassador Ian Burrell told Drinks International the rum category would benefit from having regulated classifications around the world.   There is no regulated classification of rum, even though some areas do have their own rules and regulations on the spirit".   There are lots of different interpretations of what can be called rum.   Rum has an old man stigma, a pirate’s drink which can only be drunk with coke.  But some of the rum cocktails produced here have been amazing and that can only help the image of the category.   The one area of growth in the category is the premium and ultra-premium expressions.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rum Made Right!

It is not often that I run an entire article, but this one merits your attention.  Jan Warren has done a good job of covering the subject of honest rums very well.  This is a great read.

Subtraction by Addition

05 June, 2017
Jan Warren sings the praises of properly made, flavorful rum.
     Once upon a time, some brave soul in the Caribbean decided that his industrial waste could be turned into a cash crop. Maybe the sun had gotten to him. Maybe the heat had cooked his brain, but he was convinced that the foul smelling muck left over after boiling cane juice to make crystallized sugar could be fermented, and the resulting liquid distilled into a purer liquid, high in alcohol.
     Greek alchemists were using the process of distillation as early as the first century AD, with the Chinese on basically a parallel timeline. We see the alembic as early as the third century, but it takes almost another thousand years for some intrepid Italians at the University of Salerno to make alcohol proper, again, with the Chinese perhaps independently on the same path. We first see a reference to ‘burned water’ served as a beverage in Germany in the 15th century, but it is likely that both Germany and Ireland were serving potent distillates as early as the 12th century.
     The tradition of fermenting sugar cane juice into a wine or beer-like liquid came down from Chinese and Indian antiquity, and when the technique of distillation caught hold in the world, you can bet that any and all fermented liquids were passed through an alembic, somewhere. We don’t know exactly where fermented cane juice or molasses was first distilled, but you can be pretty sure it was in the new world, and likely either Brazil or Barbados. By the mid 17th century, rum was beginning to be made as far north as Staten Island and Boston. The world caught fire with the desire for rum. Why? Because the liquid, squeezed out of properly grown cane, artfully fermented with wild yeast, batch distilled in pots or small columns, and carefully aged (and sometimes blended), is as quaffable as the finest whiskies, mezcals, and eaux de vie.
Jan Warren
     Admittedly, and my fiancé will confirm, I spend a little too much time on social media, and the internet in general, trying to learn as much as I can about various types of alcohol. I’ve always been fascinated by the history of rum, as that story is directly tied to the saddest and most shameful segments of my country’s own.
     In my learning process, I’ve been lucky enough to stumble on to Richard Seale. In the early days of my crush on rum, I traveled to Barbados, and while I was there, happened on to a bottle of rum in the shape of a crumpled leather bag. I thought it was interesting, and I bought it. The liquid inside was the best rum I had ever had. It wasn’t close. I really had only been familiar with the lighter and more commercially available Spanish style rums, and the depth of flavor in that bottle wowed me. It was called RL Seale and I was awestruck.
     I’ve been lucky enough to read a lot of stuff written by Richard Seale, and one of his constant mantras is that rum should be made the right way. That means not continuously distilled in industrial facilities that produce a neutral liquid upwards of 90% alcohol. That means not tossed into barrels with actual sherry left in them so as to flavor the rum. That means not adding sugar syrup in the blending process. I’m a bartender. I make a damn good cocktail, and I’d prefer to use spirit that doesn’t come pre-mixed with sweetener.
     There are rums out there that have been lab tested and shown to have up to 98g/l of sugar. For a little reference, Coca-Cola comes in at 108g/l. I’d have to believe that adding that much sweetness must take away from the actual flavor of the distillate.
     For my part, I’m just happy that people are out there making rum that I think is delicious, and with methods that can be considered traditional and authentic. The market for more neutral rums won’t be going away anytime soon, but the market for flavorful liquid with an honest method behind it is expanding rapidly in Europe, and coming to America soon. Thank you Mr. Seale!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cocktail for the Early Riser

     In the case the ones that are early risers with a taste for some spark in your coffee, this is an interesting idea.  I some times love a coffee cocktail in the morning when I'm trying to write and my mind just doesn't want to work.  It opens the eyes without the hype.

Bahama Bob's Early Riser

  • 3 oz. Brinley Shipwreck Coffee Rum
  • ¾ oz. Licor 43
  • 1 ½ oz. CoffeeMate Cinnamon

Preparation: Place all ingredients into a Shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled and pour into a coffee mug.  Top with fresh nutmeg.