Rum is one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing, spirit category in the world. Much of that growth has been fueled by a rebirth of domestically produced rums. That’s right. Everything old is new again. Rum, which was a backbone of the American Revolution, is distilled in the United States again. And not just in the Northeast where while some folks were dumping tea into Boston Harbor, some 160 distillers were producing rum. Today, pick a corner of the country and there’s probably someone distilling rum in it. “Celebration” in New Orleans, “Prichard’s” in Tennessee, “Charbay” in Napa Valley, CA and “Koloa” in Hawaii are all making rum. All we need is something from the Midwest.
Enter Nathan Greenawalt. Only 30 years old, he grew up in Michigan but moved to Wisconsin for college, loved it and never left. Out of college, he fell into the microbrew movement that was big in Wisconsin. Realizing he could offer very little to the explosive and saturated beer market, he skipped directly to the distillation world.
His spirit of choice? Rum.
As he himself says, “I wanted to produce very oaky unsweetened rum from the very beginning. I decided I would make rum drinkers out of everyone since most people don’t know how great it can be.” The rum he came up with he named “Cane and Abe.” The Cane part makes sense-he uses sugar cane from Hawaii. But the Abe part?
“Abe comes from Old Abe, the legendary bald eagle that was the mascot for Wisconsin’s 8th infantry during the Civil War.”
The best thing about it, other than the cool name? It’s great! I tasted it a few weeks ago in Chicago and was surprised to learn for an independent rum that has only been available only since February 2010, you can find it in ten states, with more to come! To find out more, check out their website at madisondistillery.com.
So, although there are great rums from the tropics, there are equally great ones coming from to good ole’ US of A. So next time you’re shopping for rum, don’t be afraid to buy local and Make Life One Long Weekend™.