5-time Emmy® Award winning documentary film he produced / CEO of The Real McCoy rum
1) Bucket List items for this year.
- Tour Scotland – Meet master distillers and learn their craft.
- Tour Kentucky/Tennessee – Do the same.
- Tour Jamaica – Same.
- Tour France – See what all the hubbub is about cognac.
- Learn more about yeast. (Seriously! Never joke about yeast.)
2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry.
I’m not sure if the rum industry even knows my name yet, but I’m on a mission to have everyone in it recognize our brand before the end of 2015. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty big soapbox to shout from (National TV), and I plan to continue promoting The Real McCoy, and the super-premium rum category on TV and digital media in the years ahead.
3) Favorite Drink + Recipe
“The Dirty Barbados” (created by our friend James Wayman of Oyster Club in Mystic, CT)
– 1.5 oz The Real McCoy 5-Year-Aged rum
– 2 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
– 1 oz ginger infused simple syrup
– Dash of orange bitters
Shake and serve over ice, with lemon wedge
Tiny sprinkle of sea salt on top
4) Where do you see the rum industry today?
The rum industry is going strong, but the super-premium category has yet to fully attract the traditional dark spirits drinker (e.g. bourbon and Whisky enthusiasts). I think a finely aged, high quality rum can be a superior alternative and much more enjoyable as a sipping spirit than the best of the Bourbons and whiskies. I also find that aged rum is much more approachable by entry-level dark spirits enthusiasts, who prefer a smooth/sweet taste over “bitter” bourbon and “peetey” whisky. There is plenty of room for growth in the super-premium rum space.
5) Where do you see the rum industry in 5 years?
Global domination over all dark spirits, and their evil brethren in Vodka!!!!! Just kidding, Vodka’s not evil (just a bit naughty lately). I see rum elevating to the level of respect it deserves in the super-premium category, escaping it’s “summer” and “mixed drink” pigeon holes. There are so many of us in this category with very high quality products, all pushing this agenda. I think it’s just a matter of time before the idea scales up to mainstream levels.
6) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you.
Richard Seale (our Master Distiller) has had a huge influence on me, providing unbelievable support and sharing his vast knowledge of everything from yeast propagation to international distribution. He has an unwavering commitment to the quality & craft of rum, and is of the highest caliber in terms of craftsmanship and friendship.
John Esposito (former President of Bacardi and Chairman of Stoli) is one of the most respected gentlemen in the spirits industry, and I have the distinct pleasure of working with him as a mentor and friend. John has helped me see this endeavour from the large-scale spirits industry perspective, and has taught me that success is predicated on developing an intimate relationship between consumer and brand.
John Sculley (former CEO of Apple and Pepsi) is as iconic as his brands, but he is also extremely welcoming, approachable and generous with his time. John has helped us sculpt a sleek, efficient, adaptable corporation out of this un-carved block of a start-up. His deal making, finance and marketing advice have been invaluable to this company, and to me personally.