Thursday, January 31, 2019

Havana Club Launches Fashion Line with Daily Paper

      Pernod Ricard-owned rum brand Havana Club has partnered with Dutch urban fashion label Daily Paper to launch the Capsule Collection clothing line.  The Cuban rum brand partnered with Daily Paper for the eight-piece fashion line, which includes black and gold-themed t-shirts, hoodies and hip flasks. A limited edition bottle of Havana Club 7 Años featuring the Daily Paper logo will also be released.    Seminal rum brand Havana Club and streetwear force Daily Paper have collaborated to launch a limited edition streetwear collection and exclusive competition for young creatives. The distinct collection pays homage to the Cuban heritage of Havana Club, infused with the distinctive aesthetic of Daily Paper. The collection was launched on 26th January 2019 at an exclusive event in Belgium.

     According to Nick Blacknell, global marketing director for Havana Club International, “Daily Paper is a young and dynamic urban fashion brand and they have built their lines around their African heritage.     “Before we undertook the collaboration we had to ask ourselves if it was legitimate for Havana Club to undertake. Havana Club has always had a strong tie to music and street culture, this is a street movement and Havana Club has always been a street brand, it was born on the streets of Havana.”   The collaboration  launched last week at an event in Antwerp, Belgium, which also saw the two brands unveil the Cuban Links talent contest, which has been named in honor of the chunky gold chains that feature predominantly in the Capsule Collection.
     The contest will support, nurture and recognize emerging creative talent across the fields of design, photography and music. Three winners from the contest will travel to Cuba to be mentored by industry experts as they create new apparel pieces and a media campaign to promote the Havana Club x Daily Paper collection.
Alongside the Capsule Collection, Pernod Ricard has also introduced a “refreshed style” for Havana Club to reflect the “raw and authentic culture of the streets of Cuba”. The brand’s new style is centered around experimentation with the Havana Club logo, which includes new print designs, over-branding and logo dissection.  
     Blacknell added: “As part of this launch we have also gone to great lengths to refresh our drinks offering, with a shifting focus from the Mojito and onto the Daiquiri and new cocktails such as the Cancha, a cocktail created with Havana Club, honey, lime and soda.”
     The Havana Club x Daily Paper Capsule Collection is available to purchase from the Daily Paper website now.
See More at

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Pusser’s 15 Year Old Rum Gets a New Recipe

     Navy-inspired Pusser’s Rum has updated the recipe for its 15 year old expression and increased the price of the bottling following supply chain issues.  The 15-year-old blend is now made from a combination of aged wooden pot still and column still rums. The column still rum used in the bottling is now sourced from a distillery in Guyana.  The brand has also updated the packaging for the expression to reflect the higher retail price commanded by the new recipe.
    Gary Rogalski, Pusser’s CEO said: “We decided to re-package the 15-year-old blend for two reasons: first, the cost of the raw wooden pot still 15-year-old component had increased significantly, and secondly, the column-stilled component of the blend previously supplied by Trinidad Distillers was no longer available to us when they made the strategic decision to stop exporting their aged rum stocks.  “We replaced the component supplied by Trinidad Distillers with a similar rum from Guyana, which was again significantly more expensive. This required an increase in the consumer price on what is arguably the best rum in the world; so we thought it deserved a bottle, label and display box more in sync with its ‘crown jewel’ stature.”
     The new Pusser’s 15 Year Old expression is said to have aromas of demerara sugar, molasses, dried fruits and spices on the nose. It is described as being full-bodied and round with a “warm, smooth, long and memorable” finish.
     Pusser’s has produced 3,000 cases of its 15-year-old rum, with 1,000 being distributed in the US, Europe and the UK respectively.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

It is Really About the Shades of Grey

Just to the west of Key West lies a little key called Boca Grande.  The beaches are so beautiful and interesting to see.  I really love the way that the old and the new blend together on the edges of the key.  Enjoy the diversity of this little piece of heaven.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

An Old Town Portland Bar Sues Its Bartender for $115,000 for Drinking on the Job

     An Oregon bartender whose drinking on the job prompted his employer to have its license temporarily revoked is being sued for $115,000 in lost earnings, The Barrel Room wants Jorstad to pay up: roughly $5,500 per day for the 21 days they can’t sell alcohol. The lawsuit claims that bartender Gunnar Hokan Jorstad was drunk on the job last January while serving customers at the Barrel Room in Oregon.  Jorstad has also been penalized and his service permit suspended for 18 days,  a permit issued by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to employees who serve alcohol in restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, bars, lounges, private clubs, and similar businesses.    
     Commission spokesman Matthew Van Sickle elaborated, saying a police officer noticed Jorstad in a highly intoxicated state outside the bar about 10 p.m. Jan. 13. Five hours later, police were called to remove Jorstad from the bar as he neared the end of a shift that started at 8 p.m., Van Sickle said.
     This is a question I was often faced with here in Key West while bartending here.  It is technically illegal to be drinking while working behind a bar in Florida as well, but I’ve never seen it enforced here.   I would thank the customer for the offer and tell them I was bound by law not to be drinking behind the bar.  My comment to them is that I could not make sure that they didn’t get into trouble if I was as drunk as they were.  It seemed to work, because my customers didn’t get mad over it. 
     Oregon obviously has stricter laws relating to drinking behind the bar than many other states and enforces them.  The reason for both the bar and the bartender being penalized would appear to me anyway, that the bar management as well as the bartender were not paying attention to what was happening on the premises.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Fire at Mount Gay Rum Distillery Burns 150,000 Gallons of Alcohol in a Storage Tank

Barbados Today Photo
     A fire broke out at the Mount Gay Distilleries in Barbados yesterday, with the blaze burning 150,000 gallons of alcohol in a storage tank before being brought under control by the local fire services.  The Rémy Cointreau-controlled rum brand confirmed that there had been a blaze at its St Lucy site on January 16th.  The Barbados fire service received a call at 2:18 pm local time after reports of an explosion.
    Deputy chief fire officer Henderson Patrick told local media: “Arriving on the scene we discovered that it was an alcohol tank that was involved in the fire. The tank normally holds around 300,000 gallons of alcohol and we were informed that it was about half-full”.   “There is enough satisfaction in the operations that we are conducting because the tank itself is contained within a bund wall, which is intended to prevent the escape of potentially polluting substances and designed to hold the contents of the tank in the event that it is ruptured.”  However, he said in the case of a violent rupture, other buildings could be put at risk.   In extinguishing the fire, the firefighters ruptured the roof of the tank to allow the flames to escape before applying alcohol resistant foam.
     Patrick added that two people were sent for medical attention as a precaution. While an investigation is currently ongoing as to how the fire broke out, he suspects that individuals working near the area may have contributed to the blaze.  Mount Gay confirmed that the fire was out.  “Earlier today a fire occurred at our distillery home in St. Lucy, Barbados. We’re happy to announce that there were no serious injuries and the fire was extinguished”.
     As it related to the cause of the fire, the Deputy Fire Chief said it would take time to gather all of the pertinent information. He, however, indicated that two people were working near the tank at the time, “and that may have contributed to the incident.”
In recent years, Mount Gay Rum, which began operations in 1703, has been expanding its range of premium expressions using its reserves of aged spirits. In 2018 it released the first bottling of its Master Blender Collection – a limited-edition, peat-smoked rum called XO, a blend of column and pot still rums that have been matured for eight to 15 years in American oak barrels.  In 2015, it acquired a 134-hectare plantation in Barbados in order make its single-estate, “terroir” rum. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

I Just Love Key West After a Rain

     Here in the tropics, the almost daily occurrence of a rain shower is part of living, but when the sun comes back out afterwards, it is always so beautiful and everything looks so refreshed.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

100 Years Ago Yesterday, The Volstead Act Was Ratified by Congress

Andrew Volstead

     One Hundred Years ago yesterday, the Volstead Act, named for the Minnesota representative Andrew Volstead, was ratified by the United States Congress.   The 18th  Amendment led to the complete prohibition of “intoxicating liquors” in the United States.   There were seven states that had not yet ratified the 18th Amendment by that date, but the ¾ majority had been reached.  Seven more states would ratify the amendment between 17 January and 25 February 1919 and New Jersey passed it in March 1922. Connecticut and Rhode Island both rejected the amendment.

     In October 1919 Congress passed the Volstead Act – named after Judiciary chairman Andrew Volstead who supported the bill – which allowed for Federal enforcement of Prohibition.  Having ratified the amendment and introduce the Volstead Act, Congress announced that full Prohibition would be implemented on 17 January 1920.

     The 18th Amendment had grown out of decades of temperance activity and lobbying in the US.  One of the prominent temperance leaders was Protestant, mid-Western spinsters following  Carrie Nation, who became a prominent figure in the movement.  She famously led women into saloons and smashed them up with hatchets and hammers while singing hymns and quoting the Bible.  It is interesting that Carrie Nation died in 1911, but the movement she becan was driven by many “God fearing men”.

     Volstead of course was one but there was also Neal Dow and Wayne Wheeler, the head of the Anti-Saloon League.   Then there were political campaigners who saw in the ‘liquor barons’ and companies the pervasive hand of capitalism striving to keep the working man sedated with cheap drink.   Remember that the 18th Amendment did not actually ban the consumption of alcohol merely the manufacture, distribution and sale of them, but it was aimed as an effective method to put an end to consumption.

 Drinking became an underground network, so it fell under the control of criminal organizations who reaped enormous gains from the Volstead Act. With the increasing power of the mob came a rise in violence, racketeering and bribery. Civil, police, judicial and political corruption filled the veins of the American system with appalling results.

     Finally In December 1933 Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment which repealed Prohibition as it would gradually be rolled back across the country. Not every county in every state repealed their own local limitations or prohibitions on drinking but it was no longer a Federal business and the re-ignition of breweries, distilleries and wineries and their various distribution and sales arms brought an incredible windfall in much needed taxes into the nation’s coffers.  The 18th Amendment remains the only statute in the history of the US to have ever been repealed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Soggy Dollar Rum Sponsors Songwriting Tour

     Caribbean rum brand Soggy Dollar will sponsor the 25-date Hit Makers & Rum Chasers songwriters tour across the US.  Kicking off on 29 January at City Winery in Nashville, the brand’s partnership with the tour hopes to “authenticate the off-the-grid island vibe” associated with Soggy Dollar.  The Caribbean rum brand has been inspired by the Soggy Dollar bar in the British Virgin Islands, which is the home of the Painkiller cocktail.

     Soggy Dollar owner, Jerry O’Connell, said: “The Soggy Dollar has a devoted subculture seeking the ideal of living life off the grid.  “So many of our guests who visit the beach bar every year and live what’s referred to as ‘the Soggy Life’ have asked when will we be able to get this rum back home? So we’re thrilled to be able to bring our rum and a taste of that laidback island lifestyle to cities across the US as a Hit Makers & Rum Chasers tour sponsor.”

    Ty Bentli of Westwood One’s The Ty Bentli Show will MC the first show in Nashville, which will feature a number of songwriters including JT Harding, Jon Nite, Bridgette Tatum and Justin Ebach.  A selection of Soggy Dollar signature serves will be available during each date of the tour, and events will also include a silent auction and an island-inspired dinner menu created by Mat Vacharat, owner and head chef at Lucky Chops.

     All proceeds from the tour will support music and arts initiatives for school children in the United States and US Virgin Islands.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Sandals and Beaches Plan to End the Usee of Styrofoam at All of Its Resorts

     Sandals Resorts is planning to eliminate all styrofoam from its 19 Sandals and Beaches-branded resorts across the Caribbean, the company announced this week.  The company said the elimination of styrofoam was particularly important in the Caribbean, with its abundant marine life.       Sandals and Beaches resorts will eliminate all Styrofoam from their resorts in the Caribbean starting Feb. 1, 2019. Sandals operates 19 resorts on seven islands including the Bahamas, Grenada, and Turks & Caicos. 

      “As we enter the New Year, it’s incredibly important to our Sandals family that environmental sustainability remains a key priority,” said Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts International. “After eliminating plastic straws, stirrers, laundry bags and gift shop bags last year, we’re choosing to eliminate Styrofoam from our resorts. We’re proud that many of the islands in which we operate are also making this shift to ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean.”

     According to Environment America's Wildlife Over Waste campaign, scientists have found plastic fragments including Styrofoam in 86 percent of all sea turtle species, 44 percent of all seabird species and 43 percent of all marine mammal species.  All Sandals and Beaches Resorts are certified by the EarthCheck benchmarking and certification program, with nine resorts currently holding Master Certification. The company is the only hotel chain in the world to have all of its resorts certified.

To learn more about Sandals Resorts Internationals' commitment to sustainability, visit

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Heron Watching as We Drift By in Mud Key

     With the winds down the other day, I had a chance to get back to the Mud Keys just north of Boca Chica Key.  This is one of those places that is just filled with nature and in general, one of my favorite places to just drift with the tides.  This is the first time since Irma that I have had the time to get back to Mud Key.  It was damaged by Irma, especially the mangroves, but some 16 months later the regrowth of the mangroves is apparent.  Still it is a great place to get out and enjoy all of the sights.  Nature has such a great way of naturally recovering.  This beautiful Heron was perched at waters edge surrounded by the regrowing mangroves.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Two Rums Make Fortune Magazine’s Best Booze of 2018

     In a year when whiskey and gin have dominated the spirits industry, it is great to see that two rums have made the Best Booze of 2018 list.  This is great to see that the rums are starting to make their way back into popularity again.  These are great representatives of the rum world that made the list in 2018.

Mount Gay XO Peat Expression Rum
Mount Gay only released about 6,000 bottles of this super-unique XO rum, aged 8 to 15 years before finishing for six months in barrels previously reserved for peaty Scotch whisky. This combination might not sound amazing on paper, but it’s superb stuff, with a rich sweetness trailing into a long tail of smoke. Worth the cost (about $250) and effort if you can track it down.

Clairin Vaval Rum

Handmade and distilled to proof from a single varietal of sugar cane juice, like rhum agricole from Martinique, rather than molasses, Clairin stands apart significantly from rums you might be familiar with—it’s grassy, complex, and somewhat briny. Made near the beaches of southwestern Haiti, Clairin Vaval can be a great substitute for standard white rum in citrus-forward drinks such as a daiquiri or mojito.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Alcohol And Tobacco Tax And Trade Bureau (TTB) Has Been Forced to Cease Operating as the U.S. Federal Government’s Shutdown Continues.

           This is something that you don’t see everyday, but the Alcohol Feds are shut down until The agency, which is responsible for licensing and label approval of alcohol products in the US, including spirits, has created a temporary landing page on its website stating alcohol companies can still access the TTB site to make payments, submit labels or formulas, and to file other operational reports.
Congress gets its act together and puts an end to the government ”shut down”.   “Once funding has been restored and the government shutdown is over, we will work to restore regular service as soon as possible.” 

     TTB has directed employees NOT to report to work and they are prohibited by federal law from volunteering their services during a lapse in appropriations.  “TTB has suspended all non-excepted TTB operations, and no personnel will be available to respond to any inquiries, including emails, telephone calls, facsimiles, or other communications.

     The US government has been partially shutdown due to a political gridlock since the 22nd of 
December is showing no progress toward a solution.  Meanwhile, our “non-essential” government 
agencies as still shut down.  If they are truly “non-essential” why do we have them in the first place?
Once funding has been restored and the government shutdown is over, we will work to restore 
regular service as soon as possible.  

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sunset on Cow Key Channel

     The one thing I like about "Standard" time is sunset happens as I'm heading to the Hurricane Hole for Karaoke.  Wednesday night was one of those very spectacular ones.  I really love my sunsets and this one was no exception.

     Cruising across the bay to Cow Key Channel is one of those areas that seem to provide a number of very nice photo opportunities, I try to take advantage of them whenever I travel across it.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Leaping Forward into 2019 with a Smile

My Neighbor is taking theirs down as well.
     The Holidays are Officially Over for us for another year.  Today we are putting the decorations away and dumping all of the leftover junk food that has been on the boat throughout the holidays.  It has been a fun holiday season for us this year, we stayed away from all of the craziness and enjoyed the quietness of our neighbors on the docks.

     I hope that all of you got everything that you were looking for from the 2018 Holiday season and that you are ready to move ahead during 2019.  I'm excited about all of the possibilities and adventures that lie ahead and can't wait to get started on the.

     Time to put the past behind us and look and see what is ahead and embrace it with all the energy that we can muster.   Make your new year one that you can look back on and smile from ear to ear when you think about it.  You might want to include a taste or to of a great rum as well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Things Are Changing for 2019

Happy New Year 2019
     After Eight years of publishing this blog for seven days a week,   I've decided to cut it back to

Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.    I've written 2906 editions and I need to slow down a bit.

     Sorry to all of you that have read this blog daily for so many years, but I'm not traveling nearly as much as I use to, and the rum material is not as readily available to bring you.

     It has been a great run and I'm still going to bring you stories three times a week until further notice.  I still enjoy doing this blog, but my time and materials to create it are not as available as they once were.

     The blog has taken me to places in this world and allowed me to meet so many wonderful people, I have to say that it was really worth the time and effort to do the work to make it happen,  I wouldn't have missed the "dance" for anything and I thank everyone for that.  I hope that you will still take the time to read the blog on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.