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American Rum

Forget pirates and palm trees, rum is a spirit with a varied past and genuine connections to many countries. Take America, for example. Some might say that rum is America’s true national spirit. I apologise if I made you spill your bourbon. But the United States was very much a rum country for nearly two centuries before whiskey came to real prominence.

Given that rum as we understand it in the modern sense truly developed in the Caribbean, it's no surprise to learn that the drink's popularity would spread to Colonial North America. It is believed that the first rum distillery in the British colonies of North America arose as early as 1664. There was certainly a rum distillery in Boston by 1667 and 100 years later there were 50 rum distilleries in Boston alone. There is even evidence that Rhode Island rum joined gold as an accepted currency in Europe for a period of time.

In this era in America estimates of rum consumption suggest an average of 14 litres of rum was consumed by the average person each year. That’s a lot of the good stuff. For a time rum was early Colonial New England's largest and most prosperous industry. In fact, it was so woven into the fabric of American life at this point in time that some believe the disruption to the rum trade caused by the Sugar Act in 1764 may have been a contributing factor to the American Revolution. Talk about a revolutionary spirit! George Washington incidentally insisted that a barrel of Bajan rum was to be shared at his 1789 inauguration.

British tariffs soon meant that rum simply became too expensive to produce locally or even import. This combined with the development of American whiskey led to a decline in rum’s availability and popularity. American rum died out almost completely by the 1900s.

But the comeback is on. Rum production in the United States is in the midst of a renaissance. New brands and distilleries are opening all over the place. Bartenders are embracing the variety, complexity and versatility of the category. The rich history of American rum has become part of the national conscious and is helping forge a rum-tastic future.

Whatever your preference, there’s sure to be an American rum that will take your fancy. We’ve got a host of great rums from the United States in one convenient location. So, what are you waiting for? Enjoy, friends!

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