Islamorada Distilling Open for Business
What’s better than creating a beer company with your best friends? Opening up a rum company, too.
That’s exactly what a group of college friends from FAU did. They formed a bond that has grown into a tasty beer company and now a rum distillery.
Chris Trentine and Nik Schroth are Islamorada locals, so it was a no-brainer to come up with a location for this special project. The group of entrepreneurial friends all met at FAU. Eventually, Chris met his true love, got married, and made their way back to Islamorada. What started as a beer company eventually blossomed into a rum company, which opened its doors Dec. 9.
Rum plays a starring role the Keys’ past and present. During Prohibition, smugglers ran liquor from the Bahamas to the Keys and coastal Florida. More recently, the Tiki Bar at Holiday Isle, Islamorada, sealed its place in cocktail history with “Tiki John” creating the Rum Runner cocktail.
Jose Herrera, Islamorada Beer Co. co-founder, says they plan to start distributing in the middle of 2018. “We are starting with a dark and gold rum – they are very good in cocktails. Our goal is to make a whole line of rum from spiced to barrel aged.” They use non-GMO sugarcane molasses, double distill the rum and then age it in new American oak barrels. For their dark rum, they use 100 percent blackstrap molasses, while and the gold rum uses regular Grade A molasses. Currently all 750ml bottles are $49. All are single barrel and hand numbered. Spiced variants will be released in mid-2018. The new variants will be a lower price and mixable for excellent tropical cocktails.
While Hurricane Irma ravaged parts of the Florida Keys, including the Tiki Bar, Islamorada Distilling lucked out and sustained barely any damage. Herrera and the team pitched in to help their neighbors. A truck was rented to ship supplies to people in need right away and they have raised over $80,000. Throughout the storm and its aftermath, rum was being distilled under the eye of Tyrone, head brewer and distiller.
For visitors who want to help, Herrera has this advice: “Go fishing in Islamorada, get a limo bus and take a day trip. Drink a few Islamorada Rum cocktails at all the bars and restaurants.”