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Montanya Rum

A sip of aged rum in 1989 changed everything for entrepreneur Karen Hoskin, the woman behind Montanya Rum. She spent the next 20 years learning about rum, how it’s made, the different traditions, and turned that passion into a brand in 2008. Located 9,000 feet in Crested Butte in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Hoskin set up Montanya Rum with just personal savings and no outside investment. That made her the only female majority owner of a craft distillery in the US.

Mountain rum is commonplace in Central and South American countries like Colombia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, where altitude creates cool maturation climates for long ageing in comparison to the typical rapid maturation you get in the Caribbean ‘s hot and humid climate. This inspired Hoskin, who also committed to only using sugar cane grown at a family-owned farm in Louisian with no chemical pesticides, no cane burning in the field, non GMO, and processed in a biomass operated mill. She never adds sugar to her rum.

Dehydrated granulated cane and molasses arrives at the distillery, which is distilled in small batches in copper pot stills and then aged in American white oak whiskey barrels. Montanya’s four single barrel rums – Platino, Oro, Exclusiva and Valentia – are disnguished by its maturation style and length. Platino spends 12-18 months in a cask previously used to age Montanya’s Oro rum. It’s then filtered through a coconut-husk charcoal filter to remove the colour. The Oro spends 12-18 months in a whiskey barrel, while Exclusiva is aged for three years in American oak, with its final six months in a Port and Cabernet Sauvignon French oak barrel.

The final bottling, Valentia, meaning courage or grit in Spanish, is touched by women at every step, from fermenters and distillers to bottlers and bartenders. Aged for four years in American oak, it’s final 6-12 weeks are spent in an rye barrel from Catoctin Creek, Virginia. Today, Hoskin is not only a leading voice for women in the world of spirits and founder of the Women’s Distillery Guild, but the owner of a B-Corp certified distillery and repeat keynote speaker at the American Distilling Institute.

Montanya Rum has always prioritised sustainability and has done since the brand was founded, with Hoskin outspoken on the environmentally irresponsible practices of some of the world’s largest rum producers in an era when it wasn’t the hot topic it is now.

Montanya’s pot-distilled “Mountain Rums” are well decorated too. In 2015, its Platino won ‘World’s Best White Rum’ at the World Rum Awards in the UK. In 2017 its Oro won USA ‘Rum of the Year’ at the Berlin International Spirits Competition.

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