Passion is the key ingredient in Siesta Key Rum (SK Rum for the acronymious).

A mutual rum fan, Pam, suggested I sign on to follow it on Facebook. “Congratulations! You’re my 1,000 th fan!” was the Facebook message I received. That’s a lot of fans, highly unusual for a product not yet on the market, so I just had to get to Sarasota to find out what it was all about.

Owners Troy Roberts (Distiller) and Tom Clarke (Operations) are driven. These local boys chased their dream, spending years in the great but rain-sodden Northwest and yearned to come home to the unspoiled, sun-drenched beaches of Florida’s Nature Coast. And that they did. Riding the tide of micro-distilleries dotting the American landscape, they opened Sarasota’s first distillery, Drum Circle Distilling.

DB: “Why rum?” SK Rum: “It’s our favorite spirit!” Great start!

Some like it hot.Some like it sweet. Everyone’s palate differs. What I like another may not. Troy and Tom have a museum of rum styles, silent sentinels lined up across the far wall at their headquarters. So, we spent the first hour comparing tasting notes on the various brands in their extensive collection including Oronoco-a hybrid of cachaca-made from sugar-cane juice & a molasses-based rum, Sea Wynde-with its hug of smoke, El Dorado 25-a connoisseur’s rum, aged in oak barrels for 25 years and others. I had a pretty good idea, based-upon our preferred styles, of what to expect when we finally tasted Siesta Key Rum.

Distiller Troy Roberts may not have spent years in the distilling business but he knows what he likes; our profiles were very similar. Siesta Key White Rum has character. It’s naturally sweetish without the addition of sugar. It has a slightly bold taste, partly resulting from a proprietary combination of the marriage of two yeasts—one up front and center, its partner more on the timid side.

After last week’s 5 th Annual International Rum Competition at the Hilton Garden Inn in Tampa’s Ybor City, Siesta Key Rum was awarded a Silver Medal. Comments from the judges included “Clean & clear appearance with a slightly herbaceous & aromatic aroma. The flavor is wildly fruity, sweet but not too sweet, with hint of melon & lemon, a rich and somewhat viscous mouthfeel and a slightly sweet finish that should linger a bit more”. I wrote to congratulate Troy and his first response was “I’d like to figure out what to improve to make it into gold!”

That passion, combined with a great product and business smarts, bodes well for the future of Siesta Key Rum and its likely extensions (spiced rum is in progress).

Local Sarasota artist Ron Borreson designed the label—a landscape of Siesta Key’s beaches, with a palm tree in the foreground and the Gulf Coast as the backdrop. Adding their signature whimsical sand dollar graces the label and the bottle cap; the label alone begs for a poster reproduction.

Drumming up business. Siesta Key Rum is distributed by Denocorp, Inc. Contact Scott DeNisco to place orders. Suggested retail price: $21.99 for a 750.

March 26, 2010

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