This weekend we attended the Miami Rum Congress and walked away with our appreciation of the spirit affirmed and our love of the core community stronger than ever. I have been to many shows over the years and am grateful to those organizers who created an environment where people with shared interests could meet and over time develop friendships that endure. As I looked around the Miami Rum Congress, I thought about how different our lives would be if I had not listened to a mentor all those years ago and failed to attend our first show at the Deauville Beach Resort. You have those moments where you capture lightning in a bottle and things change. Things are new, bright and shiny, and have a deeper value than just being a spirits festival. Over the years the shine wears off, the facades crumble, you evolve, change, and you hunger to learn more. Luckily, you have people along the way that share your passion and interest so instead of being mired in the past, you push forward to a more positive future. Together.
The driving force behind RumJourney has been the exploration, the willingness to always dig deeper and learn more. At some point, you stop just being a fan; to be blunt, there is way too much deception in the industry and you must approach brands and products with some measure of critical thought and ask tough questions. I have appreciated every friend and mentor who has helped educate and elevate my knowledge to be a better writer and guide for those who enjoy reading my words. During the show, I had the pleasure of meeting several long time readers and appreciated sharing time with all of you. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk, every single one of you inspire me to be a better reviewer and writer. I really cannot express my appreciation enough.
At the core of the Miami Rum Congress there was something different. The first day was dedicated to seminars that discussed and detailed long term challenges in the industry. Again, I cannot stress how much I appreciated the organizers gathering this group of esteemed speakers to take everyone’s education to the next level. Josh Miller’s (of Inu A Kena) seminar on Sustainability and the environmental impact of the rum industry is a subject that I plan on writing about here or in other forums. Kate Perry, Maggie Campbell, Karen Hoskins, and Christelle Harris’s panel on Women Leaders in the Rum industry was powerful and hard hitting. The panel covering 300 years of Rum production was informative and exciting as we heard from the makers of some of our favorite Rons, Rhums, and Rums talk about their production methods. The evening closed with the esteemed Ed Hamilton dropping the mic and discussing how far the rum industry has come in the past twenty years and the challenges facing the future of the spirit.
The second day featured a showcase of over thirty rum companies with another six seminars that provided unique and evolved educational opportunities. During this part of the event the best description I can share with you was that the organizers focused on quality over quantity. Knowing that both days were sold out they intentionally kept the crowds manageable allowing for a higher level of interaction with the brands. There was literally a Who’s Who of Distillers, Blenders, Writers, as well as passionate enthusiasts from around the globe to chat with that made the day fly by all too quickly. Again, Quality over Quantity won the day and made this one of the best rum events we have ever attended. Special thanks to Federico Hernandez and Ian Burrell for bringing us all together. Thank you to the rum family who gathered for the event, it was much like a family reunion where we physically met some of you for the first time! We were so happy to share time with all of you and cannot wait to see you all again. Thank you for reading.