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October 13, 2011

Liquid Living Magazine


DAN CAREY, IMPORTER OF ONE BARREL RUM

FULL TIME RUMRUNNER

 Can Carey with Jess the Wonder Dog
Dan Carey and his pooch Jess, the Wonder Dog

I'm just a regular guy. Once upon a time one of my cronies called me at work and said "we're going diving in Belize", so I cashed in a bunch of Frequent Flyer Miles and went there for the first time. It turns out that the trip was what's called a "life changing event".

Due to scheduling issues, I arrived before my friends. Although it's not a strict requirement for the solo traveler, I like to have an idea of what to expect before I step off a plane in a country that I've never seen before. In order to get a little background information on Belize , I went to the library and checked out a couple of travel guides. One of them told me something to the effect that " Belize is a former British colony, so they know how to make beer and rum". I took this as a good sign, since I liked beer, but the guide book continued "their beer is good, but you owe it to yourself to try the rum. The local rum is quite good and it's unavailable outside the country". Now, I was never a fan of rum, but since I owed it to myself thought I'd give it a try.

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Wow! I'm glad that I gave it a try. The rum is really tasty, so smooth that it's great on the rocks, and it's great in mixed drinks. The price is good. The only problem is that nobody could find a way to buy it anywhere outside Belize .

I had no idea how difficult it is to import liquor to the United States . Had I known, I probably wouldn't have attempted to do it at all. However, ignorance is bliss, and being ignorant of the amount of work required to become an importer, I started to gather together the licenses and other necessary approvals that I'd need. It took me several years, but in July, 2005, I unloaded my first shipment into my warehouse.

There was an unfortunate byproduct of the many years of grief that I had experienced prior to my first shipment. In addition to all the work that I had expended, I also spent a lot of money. In order to recover the investment, I was going to have to sell some of my rum. To do this, I'd have to endure another round of applying for licenses, setting up distribution networks and convincing liquor distributors to buy my rum in wholesale lots. Basically, I had to operate the enterprise as though it was a business.

I've always enjoyed owning businesses. I started my first business when I was just a kid, doing neighborhood things like house sitting for people on vacation, refurbishing TV sets and selling them for a profit, and helping rehabilitate real estate for one of my mom's friends. In my mid 20s, I was vice president of a high tech startup. I owned a high performance motorcycle shop. So, the business end of the ‘boozness’ didn't frighten me. However, it was becoming impossible to keep up with the business while holding my job as an engineer.

One day it became obvious that I would have to choose my job or the ‘boozness’ because they both required my time during the same part of the day. For example, I couldn't wait until after work to straighten out issues with shipping or customs.

I chose the boozness. Now, I'm a full time rumrunner. It beats working. Naturally, there are times when I wish that I was still designing computer chips for a living, especially twice a month when my paycheck used to come in. But the other 28 days per month I'm confident that I made the right call.

H A P L.L.C.
P.O. Box 293                 P.O. Box 1646
Chandler, AZ 85244     Belize City, Belize
(480)964-1937              011-501-622-2397 www.onebarrelrum.com