There are many reasons to love rum. It’s tasty, historically rich and provides a sense of connection across the world. Rum inspires people to create communities and that’s exactly what happened for Jay Cocorullo, who started the Florida Rum Society (FRS) to unite people across Florida and beyond in their love of rum.
Cocorullo recently appeared on an episode of the Rumcast to talk about what it means to set up a rum community and his appreciation for tiki culture. It’s an episode that’s sure to inspire others to start up their own rum group within their local community.
From Tiki enthusiast to rum fanatic
At the start of the episode, Cocorullo recounted the beginning of his rum journey. What started as an interest in Tiki culture soon evolved into rum obsession after starting up a Tiki bar in his home and reading Smugglers Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and The Cult of Tiki.
From there, Cocorullo teamed up with his cohorts Doc Rum and Salty Joel to try and track down rare rum in the local area. After receiving encouragement from rum aficionado Kate Perry, Cocorullo was inspired to start up his own rum group and FRS was born.
This brought Cocorullo into contact with one of the Rumcast’s co-hosts John Gulla and the rest, as they say, is history.
Championing the rum revolution
Cocorullo also went into depth about the FRS Fourth Barrel Programme, which recognises Florida retailers who are legitimate rum champions and are dedicated to furthering rum in the spirits category. The Fourth Barrel Programme helps to build a deeper sense of community in Florida and promote high-end rums that are ideal for enthusiasts.
For anyone who’s interested in starting up their own rum society, Cocorullo gave the following tips:
- Have a passion for what you do and accept that promoting rum will become a part of your life.
- Reach out to rum experts and have a plan about what you want to achieve. Cocorullo gave a good example of reaching out to Privateer Rum’s Maggie Campbell via Instagram.
- Have a group of like-minded people around you who appreciate rum and can help to grow the group.
- Be good at remembering names so you know what bottles to recommend!
The FRS is the embodiment of what a rum community is. It’s well-connected, strong in conviction and passionate about what it stands for. Even in lockdown, the FRS continued to support each other and it’s great to see someone as enthusiastic as Cocorullo leading the charge.
Listen to the full episode here and be sure to check out previous episodes of the Rumcast as well.