Interview with Rowdy Vass – Fishbowl Spirits – Operations Manager

Rowdy Vass

Fishbowl Spirits – Operations Manager

1) Bucket List items for this year.

Get people talking about Blue Chair Bay at a national level.

2. Learn as much as I can about rum distillation and aging.

3. See a lot of great shows: Kendrick Lamar, D’Angelo, Shakey Graves, Rolling Stones, Father John Misty, J Roddy Walston and the Business.

4. Travel to a new continent (South America?).

5. Convince my boss that we should buy a blimp (ok, maybe not really). Goodyear blue is only a few shades removed from ours so maybe we can strike a deal on a used one.


2) Biggest achievement you personally feel you have accomplished for the rum industry. 

I don’t think I’ve personally made too much of an impact yet. I think that Blue Chair Bay, being an all-natural, premium flavored rum, is really a first in the industry.

On a smaller level, I’ve definitely convinced a number of people to give flavored rum a second chance. There are so many people who associate flavored rum with college hangovers and syrupy shots. Our rums, being made with all natural flavors, are definitely something different and it’s great watching people realize that as they taste it for the first time.

3) Favorite Drink + Recipe

The Island Mule

  • 1 Part Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum
  • 2 Parts Ginger Beer
  • Garnish with a lime

4) Where do you see the rum industry today?

I think it’s on the brink of a large influx of products and innovation as long as it can attract the consumers. Suppliers will need to bring a lot of creativity to the branding as well. There are too many dud brands entering the market in general. 

I think a big problem today is that the consumer base lacks unity. You have all of these subsets of people who enjoy rum, but no one really flies under the banner of “rum drinker,” the way a bourbon or vodka fan might. You see beach lovers, tiki fans, and amateur pirates who all drink primarily rum, but they haven’t quite united yet. I think the industry can play a role in this unification.

5) Where do you see the rum industry in 5 years?

I think the rum industry will mimic the bourbon industry in a lot of ways. The trends are already showing a decline at the cheaper end with premium and super-premium products trending upwards. I think we’ll see a lot more experimentation and new products as well.

6) Share some (2-3) of your mentors and how they have helped you. 

My Parents – They’ve always been supportive of me. Right after college I had a number of internships that mostly involved getting coffee and entering data for hours on end, but they always knew I’d find a good opportunity and were behind me the whole way.

Tim Houston, our COO – Tim is about the most levelheaded person that I’ve ever met. We’ve had some ups and downs as a company, but he’s kept the ship running smoothly. His mantras of “Don’t be an asshole” and “Business is common sense,” guide most of my work.

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Author: Fede

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