This year brought a lot of great rums and I was very tempted to make a top, but after thinking about it I decided to go a different route – you can check my Top 3 featured on the RumCask website though. There are plenty of such articles out there, so I wanted to write a list of rum brands/companies that should be recognised for their charitable work this year and not only. Not a rank, just some producers I’ve noticed for their selfless actions and deserve some spotlight.
A little bit of hope after a pretty down year if you’d like.
Thameside is a new English brand that was established in 2018 and it’s inspired by the Navy rum blending in the Dockyards along the Thames in London. For now they have only one expression – Thameside Signature Blend. The bottling is comprised of rums from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana – you can read my review of it here.
This year, when COVID struck and England entered its 1st lockdown, Thameside, a fairly small company, decided to give away £9.30 (1 hours real living wage) from each bottle sold to Hospitality Action, a charity focused on helping people in the industry.
This was part of Thameside’s post on their Facebook page: “We’re obviously struggling during these difficult times but not nearly half as much as the hospitality trade and although it will equate to giving away nearly 25% of our sales, we thought it necessary to ensure our most loved bars and restaurants will survive.”.
A very praiseworthy stand, and they didn’t stop there. This December they are donating £1 from each sale to FareShare, an organisation focused on tackling hunger and food waste. Well done!
This was a collaboration between several entities:
- The UK Rum Club – UK centered rum focused Facebook group ran by 2 prolific rum bloggers, Steven James (Rum Diaries Blog) and Wes Burgin (thefatrumpirate);
- S.B.S – Single Barrel Selection from the Danish company 1423 World Class Spirits;
- Skylark Spirits – UK distributors (and recently independent bottlers) for various rum brands who have a strong connection with 1423.
Together they brought, exclusively for the members of The UK Rum Club, a high ester unaged Jamaican rum pack featuring 4x200ml very intense distillates from the following distilleries: Worthy Park, Long Pond, New Yarmouth and Hampden. You can find my reviews on them here and here.
With a limited number of 125, the packs were priced at £100 per set with £10 from each going to 2 separate charities chosen by the aforementioned admins:
- MyAware – Fighting Myasthenia – chosen by Steven James;
- CHUF – Children’s Heart Unit Foundation – chosen by Wes Burgin.
Together they raised £625 for each organisation and are planning to do more similar projects in the future. Bravo!
Another fairly new and small brand, this time established in 2017 in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, and ran by Dr. Kit Carruthers. He distills his own rum producing the unaged Ninefold Pure Single Rum along with some limited aged bottlings. You can read my review on the unaged rum here.
The first aged expression that was (briefly) available on the market, or #0 to be more precise, was a limited run of just 10 bottles, of which 9 were sold for £125 each and bottle number 1 was sold in an auction for £600. All the money raised from the 10 bottles, £1725, were split in half and donated to 2 charities chosen by Kit:
- The Food Train – delivers groceries and other items to those that are not able to do it themselves;
- The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society – supports the hospitality industry in Scotland.
I did get myself a bottle at the time as well, couldn’t not get involved – here‘s my review on it.
Dr. Kit Carruthers didn’t see any money from this, he did it strictly out of good will, which makes this even more-so impressive. Hats down!
Once again a, fresh company, established in 2017 in Cheltenham, UK, and inspired by the Roman God Neptune. They have 2 expressions, their Neptune Barbados Gold which features a blend of rums from Barbados aged for 3, 5 and 8 years, and their Neptune Caribbean Spiced, which has a review written by me here.
Neptune has partnered with the Cornish conservation charity Our Only World in order to tackle ocean pollution, more specifically plastic pollution. Our Only World plans to install free public water refill stations across the Cornish Coast in order to eliminate the need of single-use plastic water bottles. Neptune will fund the installation of 6 such stations in Cornwall for the next year – you can read more about it on their blog.
Another small company that are doing their bit to help and look after the oceans. God of the Sea indeed!
Karen Hoskin established the company in 2008 and in 2011 moved it in Crested Butte, Colorado, USA. Montanya produces a diverse range of rums and have a “no waste” policy in doing so. They are very environmental friendly, in fact they are certified B Corp, making it only 1 of 3 B Corp distilleries in America – you can find more about this on their blog.
If you’re interested in their production processes you can read my review of one of their expression, Montanya Platino, here.
Described as a “Force for good”, Montanya are also actively involved in helping and providing for their community. They supported 17 nonprofits & causes this year and they donated over $66,000 in cash and goods/services. That is pretty impressive!
According to their website the causes they gave to include “the arts, outdoor recreation, civil rights organizations, environmental advocacy, women’s safety, child wellbeing, and local food production.”
All their efforts and practices regarding environment, workforce, community and more brought them a “Best For The World” title for their the company – once again the blog explain what this involves better than I could.
It seems like there is no stopping for Karen Hoskin and Montanya Distillers as they plan to stand by their values for the forseeable future. Inspiring!
Pusser’s Rum was established 9 years after the Royal Navy stopped issuing the daily rum ration to its sailors, in 1979, in the British Virgin Islands by Charles Tobias. He managed to convince the Admirality to give him the formula of the Original Royal Navy Blend which then he started to recreate and commercialise. The name “Pusser’s” comes from the Royal Navy slang for purser, the ship’s supply officer, who was in charge of supplying the said rum on the ship.
Their range is quite extensive with the profile of the rums being dark and rich and featuring mostly distillates from Guyana. You can read my reviews on their 15 Year Old and 50th Anniversary here and here.
Thanks to Charles, since it was formed, Pusser’s have been donating part of the profit from the sales to the Royal Navy Sailors’ Fund (or the ‘Tot’ Fund). Over time the contribution to the fund received from the company is the largest source of income aside from the original endowment.
Pusser’s commitment to the Royal Navy and its heritage even after all this time is very admirable. Up spirits to that!
There were also plenty of rum producing distilleries that joined the fight against COVID-19 this year by producing and donating sanitiser or high proof alcohol in order to make more sanitiser. Some of the said producers, as I know, were: Angostura, Antigua Distillery, Brugal, Diamond Distillery, Grenada Distillers, J. Wray & Nephew, Mount Gay, Privateer, WIRD, Ron Barcelo, Saint Lucia Distillers, Travellers Liquors, Westerhall Estate, Greensand Ridge Distillery, Circumstance Distillery and more.
The way rum brands, distilleries and enthusiasts came together this year to aid the fight against the pandemic, to help the hospitality industry and simply just to give to various charities was and is very encouraging in what looked like a pretty dire 2020. I’m hoping to make a similar list at the end of next year with even more achievements from this point of view.
I am aware that I might’ve missed some brands or companies, this was never meant to be an extensive list. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org about any similar situations/actions and I will update the article or at the very least advertise them on my social media as I see fit.