First location of new Don the Beachcomber chain opens in Tampa Bay area

The long-awaited opening of the first new Don the Beachcomber restaurant has happened. Polynesian/Tiki aficionados can now visit the Madeira Beach location as of Friday, 23 February.

It’s located at 15015 Madeira Way, Suite 100, Madeira Beach, FL and is open seven days a week (11-11 Sun-Wed, 11-1am Thu-Sat). Their number is (727) 870-8454 and seating is first come, first served — they’re not taking reservations.

Atomic Grog has great coverage here including photos and menu details.

Marie King, beverage director for Don the Beachcomber, was part of a DtB preview at Inuhele in Atlanta in January. She served Missionary’s Downfall cocktails while other DtB team members sold branded T-shirts and very cool tiki mugs made by Eekum Bookum.

House bars in Michigan

It’s legal, at least in some Michigan cities, to operate a bar out of your home. I need to do some more reading on this, but I wanted to share this video from three years ago about Frank’s Cafe in Wyandotte, MI.

WXYZ TV news story from 13 Mar 2020 on Frank’s Bar in Wyandotte MI

There’s an article in a local newspapar about it as well. I remember seeing a bar like this on a business trip once, I think it might have been outside Baltimore, MD. That bar was in the basement of a house, but it had also been around for decades and had a lot of character.

Updates: Foursquare and Renaissance releases, Hampden Estate Great House components

Recent updates in the reference section of this site:

A guide to 2024 Miami Rum Congress after-show events

If you’re going to be at the Miami Rum Congress this week(end), here’s a quick guide to events happening outside of the main show. These are events that are sponsored by brands or bars and aren’t part of the official show agenda. Some require reservations or the purchase of a ticket, I’ve provided links to registration sites.

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Two new episodes of Whiskey Lore correct pervasive bourbon myths

Drew Hannush’s podcast Whiskey Lore has two interesting new episodes that whiskey history lovers will enjoy. Both poke holes in pervasive myths in the bourbon world: Did Colonel E.H. Taylor have anything to do with the creation and passage of the Bottled in Bond act? And did American cooperage interests push the government into requiring that bourbon be aged in new oak? Hannush found evidence (or actually lack of it) for these claims while researching his new book on Tennessee whiskey history.

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Upcoming US Rum Releases of Interest — February 2024

Here’s a new list of upcoming rum releases for the US market compiled from TTB label certifications approved in January 2024. These are only label approvals recorded at the US TTB, so none of these are likely to be available yet and it’s anyone’s guess when they might appear in stores.

This doesn’t include every rum label approval, I’ve tried to triage the approvals to the brands that people would recognize, while also including other labels that might be interesting and excluding spiced/flavored products and most cachacas.

The TTB approved 90 rum labels in total this month, 31 are covered here.

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Upcoming US Rum Releases of Interest — January 2024

Here’s a new list of upcoming rum releases for the US market compiled from TTB label certifications approved in December 2023. These are only label approvals recorded at the US TTB, so none of these are likely to be available yet and it’s anyone’s guess when they might appear in stores.

This doesn’t include every rum label approval, I’ve tried to triage the approvals to the brands that people would recognize, while also including other labels that might be interesting and excluding spiced/flavored products and most cachacas.

The TTB approved 49 rum labels in total this month, 15 are covered here.

Apologies for this report being much later than usual, I’m trying some methods of automating it but sadly it didn’t work out this month. I’m also collecting additional data on releases that I’m putting into a database for future trend analysis and reports. Will and John at The Rumcast gave me that idea in their 2023 year-in-review episode when they mentioned that it’s very difficult to get useful statistics on rum releases. Hopefully I can help to fill that gap. I’m also slowly working backwards to add releases from previous years to the database. And the database will contain all label approvals for all rum products, including flavored rums, cachacas, rum specialties, and other releases that I don’t include in these monthly posts.

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Delay in publishing the January 2024 US Rum Releases report

Apologies – I’ve been delayed in completing the January report (covering December 2023). I meant to finish it today, but I’m now dealing with an Internet outage at home (#$*&@# Spectrum..).

I should have it finished tomorrow (11 January).

One bit of good news is that starting this month I’ll be collecting much more information about *all* releases, even in categories like spiced rum that are excluded from the monthly report. I plan to use this to put together a year-in-review post at the end of the year. Thanks to Will and John from the Rumcast podcast for giving me that idea when they mentioned how difficult it is to get statistics on the rum market. I’ll also start slowly working backwards through 2023 as well, and if things work out I hope to be able to provide trends and comparisons over time.

Updates: Foursquare and Renaissance releases

I’ve updated the release history for Foursquare rums. It can be found on the References page. The highlights:

  • I’ve hidden the tabs for brands that I really don’t put effort into updating (nor do I want to) — RL Seale, Real McCoy, Doorlys, etc. There’s no point in me keeping those visible when they’re not complete or kept up to date and I don’t know anyone who’s really interested in tracking those.
  • The Private Releases tab has been reformatted. A section for Clifton Hall releases has been added, as well as one for what I’m calling “Limited Private Releases”, usually 1-3 bottle outturns that are intentionally very rare and designed to support a charitable cause. These have hand-drawn calligraphy labels.
  • The Velier tab has been reformatted and updated. Missing information (like casks) has been added, and a few releases that were missing age info have been updated. I also clarified that release quantities don’t include VSGB bottles, only the main release.

I’ve also updated the tracker for Renaissance Rums and added/updated labels that were published since the last update in early November. There’s also a very minor update to the SMWS bottle code sheet, I updated the distillery name for 158 (Yuza Distillery).

All of these are linked from the references page. If there are any updates or corrections I should make, please let me know!

New alcohol shipping options from K&L in California

Many wine and spirits lovers outside California have wanted options for shopping and shipping from K&L Wine Merchants, a well-known package store chain in California with locations in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. K&L often has single cask selections or limited release imports that can only be found at their shops.

Unfortunately, K&L doesn’t offer many options for shipping outside the state of California thanks to the labyrinth of complicated alcohol shipping laws across American states. There are package forwarders in California who would receive K&L orders and re-forward them to international addresses but not to other US states. Fortunately things have now changed.

K&L is now partnering with RareStorage, a California company, to receive and forward orders within the US. RareStorage currently only works with K&L, but says they’re working on expanding to support other wineries and retailers.

Let’s see what this means for shoppers in the US and overseas.

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