Thursday, November 30, 2017

Say Good By to the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

The Map of the Tropical Activity for 2017 Says it All
     Today officially marks the end of the Atlantic Hurricane Season for 2017.  This has been a devastating hurricane season in the Caribbean, Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico.  There were three extremely powerful hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Marie that were responsible for the majority of the record setting damage.

     The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has been a hyperactive and extremely destructive one, featuring 17 named storms, tying with the 1936 as the fifth-most active season since records began in 1851, and the most since 2012.    The season also features both the highest total accumulated cyclone energy and
the highest number of major hurricanes since the 2005. Ironically, I arrived here in Key West right behind Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005.    2017’s hurricane season was by far the costliest season on record, with a preliminary total of over $367.56 billion in damages, which is more than double the second costliest hurricane season’s damage. The tough part is that nearly all of the costs was due to three of the season's major hurricanes, Harvey, Irma and Marie.  This season is also one of only six years on record to feature multiple Category 5 hurricanes. Irma's landfalls on multiple Caribbean islands and Maria's landfall on Dominica made 2017 the second season on record other than 2007 to feature two hurricanes making landfall at Category 5 intensity.  In addition, Irma was the strongest hurricane ever recorded to form in the Atlantic Ocean outside of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.  

     Lets just hope that the 2018 season doesn't come close to this one.  Good by and good riddens  to this year's hurricane season.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Vanilla Shortage Looks to be Having an Effect on the Spirits Industry

Vanilla Orchid
     Surging vanilla prices are forcing many spirits producers to get creative or eat the costs.  It seems that an unprecedented global shortage of vanilla is prompting spirits producers to make changes, whether that entails pulling certain vanilla-rich products from the market, adjusting processing techniques, or simply taking a hit until prices return to normal-if they ever do.   Vanilla prices have been on the rise for years, initially because of increasing consumer demand for "natural" vanilla. 

     Vanilla is derived from the pods of an orchid, with demand outstripping production and prices rising accordingly.   A cyclone hit Madagascar back in March, an island that produces about 80 percent of the world's vanilla, reducing the supply even further.  About one-third of the vanilla crop there was destroyed.   Today the price of vanilla beans is now 10 times what it was just five years ago. From a low of around $50 a kilogram in 2013, the price rose in 2015 and 2016 to $100 to $200 per kilogram as the demand for natural vanilla increased. The price skyrocketed after the cyclone, to around $500 per kilogram. 

Vanilla Beans and the Orchid Flower
     It takes about three years from the time an orchid vine is planted until the vanilla beans can be harvested and a new supply will be hard to come by for the short haul.  This means higher prices for some time.   There are three viable options for flavored spirits makers at this time.  One is to absorb the cost, pull the vanilla flavored spirits off the shelves, buying vanilla from other parts of the world, like Tahiti, Indonesia and Madagascar or using less vanilla in the blend.

      Most of the spirits producers are reluctant to pass on these costs to the consumers because of the highly competitive nature of the business.  However, there needs to be changes made if they are to stay profitable.   
There are some producers that seem to able to survive the vanilla shortage better than others.  Particularly larger producers, that have larger stocks of vanilla will most likely be unaffected by the current vanilla shortage.

     For the most part, spirit producers are trying to keep things going on an even keel and hope that this shortage like so many other shortages in history will eventually normalize and the prices will sink back down as they did when we had the lime shortage a few years ago. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

What Heats the Modern Still and How Dangerous Can it Be?

River Antoine Wood Fire Heated Still from 200 Years Ago
     Over the years there have been various methods for heating the stills that make your favorite spirits.  Most modern spirit stills are heated by steam.  This is a good method to get the needed heat with out the danger of an alcohol vapor explosion like often happened in the earlier days of the stills.

"Coffin Still" Kentucky Hills Shiner's Method
     Going back about 200 years or so they would often set a wood fire under the pot stills and get a good layer of coals burning hot enough to vaporize the alcohol from the wash and condense the alcohol.  This is a good source of heat, but open flames and alcohol vapors don't mix.  The real problem with alcohol fires is you can't see the flames and you will be seriously burned before you have any idea there is a fire.

      Many a moonshiner has blown himself up when the vapors of alcohol escaped from their still and got to their heat source and ignited.  The real problem is that many of the stills, both legal and illegal don't have a way to make steam safely and rely on propane or wood fires to heat their still.  I've seen people use a kitchen gas stove as a heat source.  If it gets too hot, then there is a risk of the alcohol vapor being ignited and at minimum a fire or maybe an explosion.

Stove Top Still with an Open Flame
       Besides the legal issues involved, there are also health concerns to worry about. Moonshine can become tainted with toxic liquids, especially methanol, the form of alcohol reputed to cause blindness and death. 

     All I can say is before you start to play with distilling find out what you are doing and realize that it is illegal for a reason, not just for tax and health reasons, but for your well being and personal safety.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Puerto Plata to Host First Dominican Rum Festival

     The Dominican Republic has long been one of the centers of Caribbean rum making, and now it will soon have a festival worthy of that heritage.  The “Dominican Rum Festival” is coming to Puerto Plata, which will play host to a festival aimed at exclusively promoting the products of Dominican rum houses.
     The inaugural 2018 edition will be held from July 5-7.   The event will take place in the Urban Park of Puntilla del Malecon in Puerto Plata, according to Roberto Casoni and Jakaira Cid, president and executive director of the Tourism Cluster of Puerto Plata, respectively.  The aim is to help demonstrate the “cultural identity of each of the participating brands,” according to Casoni.

     The aim is to hold the Dominican Rum Festival annually.  “The Dominican Rum Festival will be an exhibition of rums framed in a magical environment where our producers will exhibit the best products of the national industry to lovers and professionals of rum from around the world.”  Attendees will be able to enjoy different activities like concerts, seminars, talks, workshops, tours, tastings, cocktails and tasting contests.  “We will also have international guests from different parts of the world, interested in the presentation of new products for commercialization”.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Rum Origins are Blowing in the Wind

     Thinking back when rum was not what it is today, but rather something that was very rugged called Kill Devil.  This goes back to the days of Barbados and the island that was the king of sugar and a lot of molasses that was being dumped into the sea and other places.

     Today Barbados is an island that is steeped in history and the arguable home of rum.  This is a windmill that in its day was used to crush the sugarcane to make the sugar and yield the molasses to make the rum.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A New Study Shows That Different Alcohols Evoke Different Responses for Different People

     I found this to be an interesting article.  I know that I get different feelings when I drink different types of alcohol.  I know that I really don’t want to be drinking Tequila, because it makes me a bit on the grumpy side, where rum makes me feel good and in a happy place.  I find it interesting how the respondents to this study reacted to the different types of alcoholic beverages.
     Many drinkers claim to feel teary after a Gin &Tonic, or unusually aggressive after a shot of whisky, but researchers now say they have found new evidence to suggest different types of alcohol elicit different emotional responses.  Drinkers say they feel confident, energized, aggressive and sexy after drinking spirits
     The study, took responses from almost 30,000 people aged 18-34 and compared their thoughts after drinking spirits, red wine, white wine and beer.  After looking at the drinking habits of people across 21 countries, the study found that different drinks affect our emotional responses in varying ways.  Its results showed that 58% of people who drink spirits said they felt energized, while just 7% of red wine drinkers reported feeling the same way, and 60% of them said they felt tired.
     One third of respondents to the study were female, with the researchers noting that women were more likely than men to report each emotion when drinking a single type of alcohol.  The study found that 42% of people said they felt sexy after drinking spirits, while just 25% of red wine, 24% of white wine and only 19% of beer drinkers felt the same way.   In spirits drinkers, more people said they felt restless, aggressive and energized after drinking spirits than any other type of alcohol. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

What Happens to the expired Rum, Vodka, Wine and Beer or Soft Drinks That Doesn’t Sell?

Parallel Product against the Rancho Cucamonga Skyline
      There is a place in Rancho Cucamonga, California that turns all of the wastes of the alcohol and soft drink industries into fuel for your automobile.   From a vineyard in Napa, a bottle of red can travel to a five-star restaurant in Manhattan, or a well-heeled dinner party in Tokyo.  But for some unlucky vintages, it's a drive of more than 400 miles south down the coast of California, to Parallel Products, where, in a facility surrounded by scrub brush, scrap heaps and festering waste ponds, a bottle of fermented grape juice can be dumped into modified stills and converted into fuel-grade ethanol.

Huge Stills that Turn Waste into Fuel
     Commercial distilleries have been churning out ethanol as far back as World War II, but ones that turn our waste alcohol into fuel are relatively new.  Those forlorn wines turn east at Los Angeles and head 140 miles more down the San Bernardino Freeway ending up in Rancho Cucamonga, on the outskirts of the suburban sprawl.   This is an area filled with scrub brush, scrap heaps, and festering waste ponds and the end of the line for the cast offs of the beer, spirits and wine industry.

     The Rancho Cucamonga area is filled with car-eating steel separators and monolithic humming electrical towers and fermentation tanks in a junkyard.  This is the very reason for the facility's existence, the last stop in a side of the Alcohol business world that nobody ever thinks much about.   This is the home of Parallel Products, a company that might not manage the trick of turning water into wine, but turns dead alcoholic beverages into fuel-grade ethanol on a large scale. 

     "We destroy some products here that the brands don't want people to know about."   This is a place that no alcoholic producer would ever admit knowing about, but it provides a service that is much needed by the industry.  It is one of two ethanol recovery facilities operated by 30-year-old Parallel Products and where it turns the West Coast's distillery waste and unsellable wine, beer and corn syrup-rich soft drinks into fuel.   

The main products destroyed at Parallel are either waste from the distilling process known as "heads" and "tails" of each batch, this is the part you throw away unless you want to go blind, or "distressed surplus" beverages. According to its website "Each year, Parallel Products receives and recycles over 13 million cases and 3 million bulk liquid gallons of unsaleable beverage products."  Parallel, a place that processes skunked beer, tainted liquors and flat colas into gasoline additives, becomes an attractive option for a perfectly palatable Pinot.  Now you know what happens to a lot of the waste from the production of alcoholic beverages along with the high sugar content products that just didn’t make it into the “glamorous” world of the beverage industry.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

     This is just a short and sweet edition today.  I just want to take the time tow wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you will make the time to get together with those most important in your life and give thanks for all that you have.

     Many of my friends have had a pretty rough time this year, but they have made giant steps toward recovery and we call be thankful that we are still alive and putting our lives back together.  I'm thankful for so many friends and being down here in the keys still.   I'm hoping that you can enjoy this very special day and share it with your friends and families.

As the Sun Rises, I realize All That I Have to be Thankful For.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Another Major Merger of American Alcoholic Beverage Distributors, Are We Headed toward a Monopoly?

      The mega distributor Southern Glazer looks like it is going to have some huge company with the proposed joining of Republic National Distributing and Breakthru Beverage Group.  The completion of this deal will mean that 56% of the American alcoholic beverage distribution will be controlled by two distributors.  Many of the larger producers and looking toward having only one distributor in the United States, a trend that is being spearheaded by Bacardi and Campari, but we will see where this leads.  We question whether there will be pressures on other suppliers to consolidate their distribution networks to one wholesaler or continue with a portfolio approach. A sole supplier could lead to better coordination on retail activation and branding, lower inventory (better readings for stock levels), cost savings (simpler organizational structure). On the other hand, a sole supplier could lead to improved bargaining power of wholesaler over supplier.

    "The merger of RNDC and Breakthru will create strategic opportunities that will benefit our associates and our business partners in a rapidly changing and highly competitive marketplace. Much more than a growth opportunity, we are entering this venture to create something that is different, sustainable and transformative," said RNDC President & CEO Tom Cole. "Together, our deep bench of focused, diverse associates will bring great and unique advantages to our suppliers, our customers and the consumers who enjoy the products we represent."  Proposed Merger to Allow Greater Focus on Innovation and Differentiation in Rapidly Changing and Competitive Marketplace

     Breakthru Beverage Group President & CEO Greg Baird commented, "Breakthru looks forward to joining forces with RNDC to establish an even stronger foundation of industry knowledge, talent, history and heritage. We see this as the launch pad to bring innovation to life and to usher in a new era for our business and industry."   
"Across North America, the combined company of RNDC and Breakthru will benefit from a broadly expanded footprint, a passionate and progressive team, and an uncompromising commitment to providing innovation, value and service to all our stakeholders," added Cole.   The transaction is expected to close late in the second calendar quarter of 2018 subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Unique Aging and Finishing Processes

Oloroso Sherry Casks
     There are many ways that are known throughout the world for  finishing spirits.  They take in the factors of altitude, temperature, humidity, and even consistency of all of these.  For me, there are many of these that are very unique.   For instance there is one rum distillery in Thailand that places the rum casks in an open grid rick over a spring that gives off a cooling effect that keeps the aging bodega at a constant cool temperature.  There others that have their aging bodegas high in the mountains of Central America to get the aging dynamic that they are looking for.

     One of the most interesting that I have run across is in Grand Cayman where the Cayman Spirits Company places their casks down in the ocean at seven fathoms and leaves them there for two years .  This method keeps the casks in motion the whole time and a a very constant temperature and pressure.  I've als heard of companies that place their casks on ships and sen them on a year long journey that speeds the aging process because of the motion of the ocean and the ship cruises.

Seven Fathoms Special Edition and Seven Fathoms
     Cayman Spirits Company has taken their process one step farther, by putting the rum that has spent two years under the sea into a Oloroso Sherry cask for another year to put the final finish on the rum.

    These days there are many distilleries that are using different wine casks to put the final finish on their rums.  Richard Seale has used Zinfandel, Madeira, Oloroso Sherry and other casks for years to put the finishing touches on many of his fine rums.   Diplomatico and others have been doing the same thing for many years as well.
.  This adds a subtle finish to the rum that makes it really special.

     It seems that these days that the place you age your spirit is just as important and yield as big of an effect on the finished product as how you distill it and where you source your raw materials.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Local Sourcing for your Spirits, How Important is It?

     Today people are seriously concerned about where their foods and yes, spirits are made from. They want to be proud of the spirits that they are drinking, thus the rise of the small artisan distilleries across America are starting to become so popular.

     Just a few short years ago there weren't many local distillers, most of Americans were drinking their spirits made in huge factories.  Many of these especially in the rum industry were made in places other than America.  Today there a re a growing number of rum distilleries popping up right in your back yard. 

     Many brands like Siesta Key, Bayou, Fwago Rum, Koloa, Richland Distillery,Wicked Dolphin, Tailwinds Distilling, Savanah Distilling and many more around the country are producing premium quality rum with locally sourced raw materials.   By making their spirits this way, they are not only supporting the local farmers, they are adding a very special local terroir to their rums.  Craft distilling offers this ability that the large spirits factories aren't able to provide.

     This is why it is so important for you to support the spirits distillers in your back yard.  They are giving you all of the fine quality and local flavor that you can't get any other way.  It is important that you get to know your local distiller and start to enjoy the taste of your own back yard.  It is always nice when you support your local distiller.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Fabulous Frigate Bird

     Throughout the Caribbean you will see the fabulous frigate bird, this is a huge magnificent bird that soars over the seas looking like something out of prehistoric times.  Mostly found on oceanic coasts, islands, likes areas over warm waters, usually along coast but also far offshore at times.  Also soars inland in coastal areas like, crossing the isthmus of Panama from one ocean to the other. Strays are rarely seen far inland around fresh water. Nests on islands, usually small islands with dense growth of mangroves or other trees or shrubs.

     The Frigate forages in the air, swooping close to water to take items from on or near surface, making just a slight contact with the water.    They are not aquatic birds in that they do not swim.  Frigates forage over land in the same manner that they do over the water, taking prey from beaches without landing. Frigates are also known for their piracy, chasing other birds and forcing them to drop or disgorge their food.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Papa's Pilar Sherry Cask Limited Production Has Arrived

     We are proud to introduce a limited release of 1,400 special-edition Sherry Cask Finished Rum cases that will hit certain states this week. Our team of Master Blenders created this special edition expression to further bring out the Spanish Sherry flavor profile in our flagship Dark Rum. After the hand-selected rum goes through our unique solera blending process, it is further aged in wet Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks, resulting in an entirely new flavor experience.
     In a quest to get rum back to its roots, the Papa’s Pilar Production team chose to embrace a similar methodology used in Scotch Whiskey, with the goal to allow the rum blend to continue to meld together, while also interacting with the Sherry and French Oak. It’s also a method used by Cuban rum makers in their best rums, as they cannot easily source used American Bourbon barrels. The team chose to use French Limousin Oak Sherry casks from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, and only for a short period of time, because the grain structure of French Limousin Oak is wider and more open than American Oak Bourbon barrels (300L vs 200L).
     The rum has a mahogany color, with an aroma of caramel and notes of sherry. The flavor profile has sweetness of maple along with a variety of candy like notes and a bit of nuttiness.  It’s y well rounded and balanced, but not without personality. a Pilar that’s richer, more full-bodied, and, well, sensational. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

United States Senators Try to Overhaul Alcoholic Beverage Taxation

     This is something that is long overdue for American winemakers, brewers and distillers.   We offer a similar package for the distilleries in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, it is time to start taking of the alcoholic beverage producers at home.

     Almost 300 House members have voiced support for a similar proposal.   The amendment would cut federal excise taxes on beer and spirits.  It also would allow small winemakers to access a larger credit for the wine excise tax, which ranges between $1.07 and $3.40 per gallon.

     Groups that represent brewers, winemakers and distillers in Washington said on Monday that the Senate should use its tax reform package to enact long-discussed changes to the excise tax regime which, in the industry's view, would help both large beverage-makers and smaller, craft operations.

     In a Nov. 13 letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), industry leaders said including language championed by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) in a manager's amendment to the tax legislation would ease the excise tax regime for alcoholic beverage companies that are also advocating for looser regulations. The Beer Institute, Brewers Association, Wine Institute, Wine America, Distilled Spirits Council and American Craft Spirits Association signed onto the letter.

     "The beverage alcohol industry remains one of the most regulated industries in America," the groups wrote. "Brewers, winemakers and distillers pay state, local and federal taxes on their production. Federal excise taxes, which are regressive taxes, are simply too high."

     Portman's amendment would enact the provisions of S. 236, which contains several changes to how the federal tax code treats the sale and production of alcoholic beverages. The underlying legislation was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Finance Committee, on Jan. 30. It has bipartisan support from 53 cosponsors, including 24 Republicans and 11 members of the Finance Committee. Hatch is not a cosponsor. An identical House bill - H.R. 747, introduced by Rep. Erik Paulson (R-Minn.) - has 295 co-sponsors.

     Portman's amendment would cut federal excise taxes on domestically produced beer and distilled spirits and allow greater access to a credit for the wine excise tax, which ranges between $1.07 and $3.40 per gallon.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Special Cocktail

With Thanksgiving just over the horizon, here is an idea for those hours as the bird is cooking and you gather around to enjoy all those great conversations.   Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the bounty of the years labor in the fields, and this cocktail includes so many of them.  I hope that your Thanksgiving is a really nice one and you can include this cocktail idea in your celebration.

Bahama Bob’s 

Thanksgiving Special

  • 2 oz. Siesta Key Spiced Rum
  • 1 ½ oz. Pilar Blonde Rum
  • ½ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • ½ oz. Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 oz. Coffee-Mate Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Place all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled.  Strain into a tumbler filled with ice and garnish with fresh ground nutmeg.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The 2018 Chicago Rum Festival

Image result for Chicago Rum Festival 2018
     The 4th annual Chicago Rum Festival sometimes called the Midwest Rum Fest will be on the 14th of April in 2018 at Logan Square Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois. This year the program is being launched in a boutique style. More than 40 rum expressions will be shared from important countries for the entire rum industry. Before the American Revolution, rum was the most consumed spirit, and now an awakening is occurring.   “The Chicago Rum Fest is focused on becoming the Official Rum Expo throughout the Midwest”.   The event will be celebrated one day with the following sessions. 

The Spirit Industry Session

     Consisting of a 1 ½ hour program from 12:30-2:00 pm offering industry professionals the opportunity to network with brand representatives, attend training seminars, taste a wide variety of rums mingle with industry colleagues. Complimentary snacks and water will be available at each session along with a 2 oz. souvenir snifter cup.


     Which includes a three hour program from 3:30-6:30 pm offering attendees the opportunity to taste ¼ oz. pours of rum, attend educational brand seminars and enjoy pleasant mellow music.   Complimentary Snacks and water will be available at each session. A 2 oz. souvenir snifter cup is included. 

VIP Grand Educational and Tasting Session

     Consisting of a four hour program from 2:30-4:30 pm offering attendees the opportunity to taste ¼ oz. pours of rum, attend educational brand seminars and enjoy pleasant mellow music. Complimentary Snacks and water will be available at each session. A 2 oz. souvenir snifter cup is included. 

The event happens at Logan Square Auditorium
                                       2539 N Kedzie Blvd
                                       Chicago, IL 60647

You can get your tickets at

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A New Miami to Bahamas Ferry

     There is a wonderful new way to get to Grand Bahama from Miami temporarily.  The FRS Caribbean has expanded its service to the Bahamas, with its new route to Freeport, Grand Bahama in addition to their route to Bimini. The new Grand Bahama ferry offers seating for 427 passengers, with a duration of about 3 hours, operating three times each week.

     The Grand Bahama service is operating out of Port Miami Terminal H, where passengers can park either for the day or overnight. This is a convenient way to get to the Bahamas for the day or for an extended visit.  It is a much needed service to the Bahamas and all the fun of the islands. 

     The temporary service by FRS Caribbean will cover the period of October 23 until the end of December 2017.  According to the statement, FRS Caribbean presently provides a ferry service from Miami to Bimini but is in talks to establish a permanent route between the Port of Miami and Freeport Harbour. "The vessel will provide temporary service between Miami and Freeport for the residents and visitors alike, particularly stopover visitors.
     "The Government of the Bahamas, through the Ministry of Tourism has reached an understanding that this temporary ferry service will be provided by FRS while the Grand Celebration is on assignment assisting the US Government with hurricane relief.  "In addition the Government of The Bahamas will be providing the necessary marketing support to ensure Grand Bahama can maximize this opportunity and encourage as many stopover visitors as possible to come to Grand Bahama.

     "Additionally, discussions are ongoing between FRS and the Government of The Bahamas towards the full time establishment of ferry services between the Port of Miami and the Freeport Harbour.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Rum Renaissance Festival Moves to Fort Lauderdale

Rum Renaissance Festival
The Ultimate Rum Festival and Tasting Event
June 9-10 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

     The Rum Renaissance Festival has moved to Fort Lauderdale for 2018, with an exciting new facility and a great hotel located right next door to the Convention Center.  Only steps away from the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel Resort, the convention center is strategically located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s beach scene, night life and cruise port, with a great selection of fine restaurants and bars in close proximity. The hotel and convention center are minutes away from the Fort Lauderdale Airport located at on the water this state-of-the-art convention center is the 2018 home to the world’s largest rum tasting event, offering first-class accommodations for exhibits and tasting rooms, plus plenty of covered parking with direct covered access to the rum festival.

Order Your Rum Renaissance Festival Tickets Online

     Get your Rum Renaissance Festival Tickets to enjoy the world’s best rum tasting experience for a few hours, for an entire day, or stay for the weekend.
Call toll free: 877-855-3378. 

Grand Tastings

     From across the USA, the Caribbean, Central and South American to the far reaches of the globe, sample the best rums from every category.

VIP Tasting Bar

     The VIP Tasting Bar offers a selection of rare, vintage and limited edition rums for those that truly appreciate the finest spirits.

American Rums

     In the new American Rum Portfolio, discover an array of fine craft rums made at distilleries across the United States.

     Learn more about rum from leading experts, guest lecturers and international judges with master classes and hands-on interactive demonstrations.

RumXP Awards
     A select group of International Rum Judges are sequestered for three days of blind tasting sessions. The results are tabulated and announced at the Rum Renaissance Festival.

Tiki Events

     Enjoy special events at the iconic Mai Kai Restaurant and Molokai Bar for a magical evenings of tiki cocktails and great food along with the magnificent Polynesian dance show.

The Hukilau
     Celebrate tiki culture and exotic rum cocktails in collaboration with the annual Hukilau  gathering during the weekend of June 7-10 — a plethora of parties and special events. 

Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina Hotel

     Enjoy the luxury of waterfront accommodations in Fort Lauderdale’s most delightful location. Book directly with the hotel online to receive special discounted rates for Rum Renaissance attendees.  Make Reservations Online, a dedicated website is available for Rum Renaissance Festival attendees to book their hotel rooms online directly with the Hilton Hotels Reservations System.  Make reservations early to insure your accommodations at the host hotel.

     The convention center parking is conveniently connected to the Northport Parking Garage with covered, air conditioned skywalks. Northport Parking Garage is well-illuminated and security patrolled for your convenience.
Each parking deck has reserved disabled parking spaces near the elevator.