The rum industry is going from strength to strength, with new brands appearing every year and passionate creators sharing the story of the world’s most diverse spirit through multiple expressions. A lot of that passion is coming out of North America, especially from the ladies of the rum world and when they happen to get together in the same (virtual) room, you know you’re in for some magic.
On a recent webinar from The Rum Lab, several of America’s leading female rum experts shared their insights and it was great to tune in. The line up included Maggie Campbell of Privateer rum fame, Karen Hoskin from Montanya, Jaime Windon from Lyon Rum, Joanna Elardo from Wicked Dolphin Distillery, Erin Wright from Striped Lion Distilling and Julie Shore and Arla Johnson from Halifax Distilling Company.
Reflecting on the past and living in the present
The webinar kicked off with all the guests reflecting on how their interpretation of rum has changed from twenty years ago. The response was a mixture of interesting stories, from Campbell’s early days as a punk rock fan to rum maestro, and Johnson and Shore’s desire to tap into the rich rum culture that is connected to Nova Scotia.
Everyone was asked what challenges they’ve faced as women in the rum industry and there was a feeling of wanting to push the envelope and change perceptions. The Halifax Distilling duo made a great point about honouring the tradition of women in alcohol, via having a board in the distillery and introducing guests to the stories during tours.
Campbell also made an interesting point about women facing pressure from an age perspective. Men who age within the spirits industry can be seen as stalwart, whereas women may face more scrutiny for being present for decades at a time.
Excitement for the future
Every participant had a great amount of excitement for the future of rum and all the responses were insightful. Windon believed there would be more transparency for rum, while Wright believed there would be a greater emphasis on the culture and storytelling of rum.
Hoskin viewed there being a great opportunity for distilleries to reduce their carbon footprints and promote better sustainability, whereas Elardo felt there would be more focus on distinguishing rum categories for white, dark, gold etc.
The webinar went a long way towards showcasing the passion that rum infuses across all genders. The number of women entering the category is only going to increase as time goes by and that is a wonderful thing.