Rum Runners: Jack Rattenbury

Throughout history, alcohol smugglers have earned reputations that have painted them as heroes and villains in the eyes of the public. From the gentleman smuggler Bill McCoy to the dangerous Gertrude ‘Cleo’ Lythgoe, rum runners are the stuff of folk legend and another name to be mentioned in the same company is Jack Rattenbury.

Born in the village of Beer to the east of Devon, Rattenbury was known as ‘The Rob Roy of the West.’ He wrote a journal about his exploits called Memoirs of a Smuggler, a major reason why Rattenbury is remembered today.

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Rum Runners: Gertrude ‘Cleo’ Lythgoe

Rum Runners records the stories of the most notorious alcohol bootleggers in history. From larger than life figures like Al Capone, to gentleman smugglers such as Bill McCoy, men made headlines. But women like Gertrude ‘Cleo’ Lythgoe also made a name for themselves as successful rum smugglers and Lythgoe may well be the most successful of them all. 

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Rum Runners: Bill McCoy

Rum Runners is a series that tells the story of influential bootleggers who shaped the course of drinking history. While many bootleggers developed unsavoury reputations as gangsters and criminals, there were others like Bill McCoy who became folk heroes and gentleman smugglers.

Tactful, charming and intelligent, McCoy set the mold for successful offshore smuggling operations. His reputation in the rum industry is so great that he’s been immortalised by the Real McCoy rum company and Foursquare Distillery.

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Rum Runners: Marie ‘Spanish Marie’ Waite

The rum industry has been profitable for people from all walks of life. Distillers, writers and explorers have all reaped rewards from the sugarcane-based spirit and the same goes for criminals. Rum running turned a tidy profit for bootleggers like Al Capone and there are many other infamous names that stand alongside Scarface.

Rum Runners is a series that remembers the most notorious rum smugglers in history and the mark they’ve left on popular culture. It’s important to note that bootlegging alcohol wasn’t limited to guys. The distinction for being the queen of rum running arguably goes to Marie ‘Spanish Marie’ Waite.

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