Upcoming US Rum Releases of Interest — Through June 2023

Here are some upcoming rum releases for the US market. These are only label approvals recorded at the US TTB, there’s no news on when these will actually hit stores.

Going forward I’ll post this the first week of each month covering the previous month. Since this is the first month I’ve done this, I’m including labels approved before June that haven’t hit markets yet.

In this batch we have releases from Beenleigh, Foursquare, Hampden Estate, Holmes Cay, Dead Reckoning, Privateer, El Dorado, Grander, ImpEx, Paranubes, Transcontinental Rum Line, Clairin Casimir, Montebello, Dillon, Kaniche, Chicago Cane Collective, Vieux Labbe, Kuleana, Alambique Serrano, and Casa Mendez.

Privateer re-filed several of their labels last month, I assume it was due to an error on the earlier filing. I’ve included both versions here for reference.

There are a lot of images here, so be patient loading the page. I hope you find this useful!

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Non-Alcoholic Beer and Food Safety

I sat down this morning to write an article about food safety and handling issues with NA beer, but then I found Good Beer Hunting’s article, which does a great job of outlining the issues. So here’s a quick high level summary about the issues involved, but you should really go read their article for more detail.

TLDR: Not all beer is pasteurized. Many (most?) craft breweries skip this step because pasteurization equipment is expensive. The alcohol and hops in regular beer help protect drinkers from most hazards (an infection might lead to sour off-flavors but things like listeria are less likely).

NA brands have struggled with hit-or-miss quality controls (unintended funky, sour flavors, burst packages from accidental secondary fermentation) and safety issues (Guinness’ recall of NA beer due to unsafe biological contamination). Some brewers insist on tunnel pasteurization (this takes filled bottles and cans through a small tunnel where they’re sprayed with hot water and is a good way to pasteurize everything (from the liquid to the container itself) in one go), but this is expensive equipment that small brewers can’t afford. Other brewers see this as a gatekeeping exercise that supports larger breweries, and they insist they have their own, often proprietary methods of keeping their product stable and safe. The GBH article doesn’t go into this, but there’s also some controversy over whether NA beer can be properly and safely served in a draft system or not.

“Everybody’s Got One — Opinions Clash as Non-Alc Makers Debate Quality Control Methods” written by Kate Bernot for Good Beer Hunting‘s Sightlines.

Anecdotes on Atlanta’s alcoholic beverage laws

Donald B. Humphrey managed several nightclubs and bars in Atlanta in the late 1960s and 1970s. I’m flipping through his self-published 2021 memoir “A Life of Blessings And Then Some”. As with most self published memoirs, this one could have used an editor, but there are some interesting bits in the latter third of the book that cover the Atlanta drinking scene at the time. Humphrey died in early 2022, so there’s not an opportunity to ask for clarification on the details that aren’t so clear in the text.

Don got his start in Atlanta’s bar and nightlife scene running a topless bar behind the Loew’s Grand theater after retiring from law enforcement. He and his wife both managed operations there until the owner began taking money from their paychecks to fund his lifestyle, and they opened their first bar, Bottoms Up in the Georgian Terrace Hotel across the street from the Fox Theater. It was another go-go lounge, showing that Atlanta’s reputation for these sorts of bars isn’t a new thing (he also took over Kitten’s Korner at Peachtree and 6th, and you won’t be shocked to hear it was intended as competition for Atlanta’s new Playboy Club).

I’m including these details here just to share a glimpse into how far things have come in Atlanta and Georgia. I may write a larger, better researched piece later because this is all very interesting history to me.

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Atlanta Event: Tickets on sale for Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting

Tickets are now on sale for the 18th Annual Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting at Bold Monk Brewing. It’s on 20 January 2024 from 230-6pm, and it’s indoors so you don’t have to worry about getting wet or freezing if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

This is something I’ve always wanted to attend but never managed to make it (that was ten or so years ago before moving abroad), but I’ve got tickets so it’s finally happening!

If you’re not sure what a cask ale is or why you should care read on!

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Avoiding Bacardi because of their support for Russia? Don’t just skip the rum.

If you’re avoiding Bacardi because of their support for Russia, you need to watch out for more than just rum. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about here, let me bring you up to speed:

  • Last year Bacardi condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. They announced they’d stop selling their brands in Russia as many others have as well.
  • At some point last year that verbiage disappeared from their website in the hopes that everyone would forget.
  • Bacardi Russia announced a tripling of net profits for 2022.
  • People started to notice. At least a little bit, because war news fatigue is real if you’re not actually part of the war. But it’s still hard to hide profits like that, especially after going back on your word.

There’s understandable outrage over this in the spirits world, but remember that Bacardi doesn’t just make rum. They own quite a few other brands across many different spirits, so if you’re looking to avoid them at your bar here’s a list to keep in mind.

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Update: References to Foursquare, Renaissance, and Hampden Estate releases.

I’ve maintained Google Sheets that track releases from Foursquare, Renaissance, and Hampden Estate for a few years, and today I’ve updated them and added links to them from the References page on this site:

  • Renaissance Rum bottlings. Renaissance is a rum distillery in Taiwan that’s famous for the volume of information on their labels. This is a collection of that information in a Google Sheet.
  • Foursquare releases. We all know Foursquare in Barbados, this is primarily a tracker for their ECS and private bottlings as well as releases from Velier. There are tabs for Doorly’s, Real McCoy, and RL Seale but those aren’t complete or updated, and I may eventually just delete them. Ignore them unless you’re willing to help me make them more accurate.
  • Hampden Estate Endemic Birds bottles. Velier began releasing a series of Hampden Estate rums across three marques several years ago, the labels highlight different birds that are native to Jamaica. Because people really like collecting things, many in the rum community have sought these bottles out. Unfortunately, many online lists are incomplete or inaccurate (including Hampden Estate’s own list on their site). I’ve tried to make this as complete as possible based on bottles sold at sites like Rum Auctioneer and various retail sites.

These lists are probably missing information and I’d love updates. Especially if you can cite sources/bottle labels to confirm the information.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society chart updates

This morning I added some chart updates to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society distillery chart.

  • Added malt whisky distilleries 155 (Milk & Honey) and 156 (Glasgow Distillery)
  • Added Armagnac distillery A9 (Domaine de Saurine)
  • Added Cider Brandy section with CB1 (Somerset Cider Brandy Company)

I also updated the events calendars for Southeast Asia and Georgia (United States). If there’s an event I’ve left out, please let me know!

Apologies for the outage..

Apologies for the almost month-long outage of this site. If you’re one of the three people who read it, you might have noticed that it’s been down since 30 May. The outage itself is due to a botched upgrade while the length of the outage is due to my being preoccupied with things at home (no drama, we’re still renovating/improving our house and it takes a lot of time).

The site is back as you can see, and I’m setting up alerts that will let me know if it breaks again in the future so I can fix it quickly.

I’m working on a slew of new articles. Most are still in early draft stages, but they range from an article (or series of articles depending on how it works out) musing on the whisky bar as an institution and the lack of them in Georgia to more distillery visit reviews. I recently returned from a trip to the Louisville area and made several visits while there.

Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse also affects the wine world.

While everyone is focused on what Silicon Valley Bank‘s collapse means for the American tech and startup world, there’s at least one other industry that SVB played an important role in – American wine. That’s right, Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse also affects the wine world. SVB lent over US$4 billion to wineries and related businesses over the last three decades and maintains a division solely focused on the financial needs of wineries. As it turns out, wineries are like tech startups in several ways, most importantly because they need lots of cash to get started but won’t see profits for some time.

One of the few tangible ways those of us outside the industry can see this influence is their annual State of the US Wine Industry report — and the 2023 edition of the report was just recently released.

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