StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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9 StateWays ■ ■ November/December 2015 B R A N D S P O T L I G H T Q & A Honoring the Past and Looking to the Future By Kyle Swartz S errallés and its Don Q Rum brand both celebrated their 150th anniversaries in 2015. To mark the occasion, sixth-generation rum maker Roberto Serrallés created Reserva de la Familia Serrallés, a 20-year-old rum with a $1,865 price tag, which matches the year Destilería Serrallées fi rst produced rum. I recently spoke to him about the milestone and the new product. SW: How did Reserva de la Familia Serrallés come about? RS: We wanted to do something special. Because of aging losses, a 20-year-old, single-barrel rum aged in the tropics is as rare as it gets. We had 36 charred American White Oak barrels from 1994, and we chose the top six. We were not only looking for quality of age, but also mellowness, notes of wood, and something that reminded us of molasses. SW: Why the detailed, artistic packaging? RS: We worked with a company called Nouvel Studio, in Mexico. They do premium bottles. The artists designed the bottle to covey a story. And that story starts on a ship, with the bottle resembling the sail of a tall ship. And the top of the cap resembles Don Quixote. Those are the motifs, and at the end of the day it's just beautiful. We looked at about ten designs before deciding upon this one. And the box it comes in is like a trunk - some- thing in which you put a family heirloom or treasure. SW: Who is the intended consumer? RS: The price point does kind of establish the consumer. Unfortunately, it limits the number of folks who can enjoy it. This is for the person who's looking for something abso- lutely unique. This is a piece of history. It's a testament to our doing things the right way for 150 years, of pursuing our passions. SW: What aspects of rum making have carried forward over all those years? RS: We've been using the same yeast since Prohibition. We've been using the same source of water since day one. It's surface water from the volcanic mountains to the north of us. The aging and blending of our rum is the artistic side of things, and we do those the same way as we always have. That knowledge has been passed down through the years as tradition. And we have the same exacting standards. Before a drop of Don Q hits a bottle it goes past our master blender. He noses the rum. If he doesn't like it, then it doesn't go through. We've carried that same attention to detail forward, which really defi nes our products. We don't add sugar for the sake of adding sugar. We don't add coloring, either. We make honest rums, and our customers have always liked them. SW: How has your company transitioned into the craft age? RS: We've always thought of ourselves as being craft distillers. We have a strong local element. And we've been hand-making rum for 150 years. Yes, 'craft' is defi ned by size in some ways, but also by attention to detail. We may not be a small company anymore, but we still produce rum by following our passion for making it. SW: What's next for Serrallés? RS: We'll be bulking up on our aged expressions. And in January of this year we'll be releasing another single-barrel expression as part of a new program that will release a new single barrel every year. The fi rst one will be from 2005, and we'll start off by releasing 4,000 cases a year. We're also going to be playing around with barrel-aged spiced rums and with different barrels for aging. We'll be resting rum in cognac barrels, port pipes and old sherry casks. I feel strongly that aged rums have all the traits to do well with today's consumer of premium spirits. Side by side, aged rums can match up with any good Scotch or Bourbon. Over time, I think we can claim a bigger piece of that pie. the Past and errallés and its Don Q Rum brand both celebrated their 150th anniversaries in 2015. To mark the occasion, sixth-generation rum maker

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