An Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite – Craft Rum Club

An Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite - Craft Rum Club by the fat rum pirateHere we have another Lockdown Interview. Also another interview with UK based Rum Enthusiasts – Kevin Beament and Donna Waite of the Craft Rum Club.

Over the past few years a number of online subscription services have popped up. The Craft Rum Club offers the best of both worlds in that you can sign up to a Spiced Rum subscription (stop booing at the back) or a Craft Rum Subscription.

As you will see from the site the club offer a range of snacks and mixers in their boxes along with a very impressive magazine. Their boxes are very competitively priced and they offer a really varied range of rum. Some quite daring and unique selections as well.

I will let them tell you their story and why they set up the Craft Rum Club.

1. Firstly please give a brief introduction on yourself and your role in the rum world. 

Kevin Beament & Donna Waite, we are the founders of Craft Rum Club Limited (www.craftrumclub.co). We started the concept of the business in 2016 and launched it early 2017. The aim of the business is to introduce people who are new to rum or looking to broaden their horizons by taking members on a journey through the category.

An Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite - Craft Rum Club by the fat rum pirate2. Obviously COVID-19 has been devastating to the hospitality industry, we cannot avoid this fact it has had a huge impact on us all. How damaging has it been to your business/role and what have you done to try and minimise this?

The hospitality industry has been hit hard and recovery in this sector will take some time. During these difficult times we have made partnering with smaller distillers, blenders & distributors, sole traders etc a priority as supporting each other at this time is a help towards all of us surviving. We also have to say Thanks to our local Royal Mail Depot, the guys there have been brilliant throughout and managed to keep pretty much all our parcels on track to be delivered on schedule.

Owning and running a business is never easy at any time, being predominately ‘off-trade’ we have been lucky to see some new opportunities open-up to us in recent months. We saw interest in rum increase around Christmas time and as the pandemic hit, many people found us whilst shielding at home. COVID is an awful disease, like many of you we know people that have been affected by it, as well as frontline workers and with so many of us at home it’s been a pleasure to bring some sunshine into people’s lives.

In April we ran a competition on social media for people to nominate deserving key workers for a treat. We put two free boxes of May’s rum of the month up for grabs and as you can imagine, we had a good response. We randomly selected a nurse on the frontline and a care home worker, who were really happy to have won some free rum.

3. What first attracted you to the Rum World? What were your first experiences with rum?

We both love rum and have found it from 2 different angles. Rum is a way of life for Donna and her family. Being of Jamaican heritage rum is infused in her culture, Appleton, Hampden, rum punch there is always a bottle or two at family gatherings.An Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite - Craft Rum Club by the fat rum pirate

Kevin discovered rum through Donna and her family. About 8 years ago he drank far too much Wray and Nephew Overproof and Appleton on Christmas Eve, staying up to the early hours and feeling rather ‘tired’ the next day! After that there was no looking back although that should have really been the end of drinking rum for Kevin!

4. How do you think the Rum World has changed over the past 5 years? Where do you see the Rum World in another 5 years? Where would you like to be in 5 years?

Rum and interest in this vast category is getting more popular and rivalling ‘other’ spirits which is great for the industry. People are finding rum from all areas, whether from Whiskey/Bourbon geeks discovering premium aged rums or from ‘ginned out’ folk trying new and the varied flavours of spiced rum. For want of a better word ‘millennials’ are looking for that premium drink and the boom in cocktails is also fuelling rum culture.

The rum world is going to expand, and all categories have an opportunity to prosper and grow. This will enable distributors to bring in new product lines to the UK market which you can already see happening with consumers having a lot more choice. Premium fine rum, whether single cask, high ester, long tropical aging, different cask finishes will increase in value.

There are some very fine rums which if you look at an equivalent whiskey are comparably cheap. Chinese and Asian markets will open up and undoubtably this will drive up prices. There may not be so many bargains around in the years to come but then everything is relative – you can’t beat quality and unfortunately with rum we are going to have to pay for that eventually as interest fuels demand.

All the signs are that spiced rum is going to continue to see rapid growth and we are certainly seeing that in our business. Like it or loath it, a lot of people are experimenting with spiced rum and it’s a great stepping stone to further exploring the rum category.

Over the next 5 years we hope our business can grow and we can expand our operation. It would be great to bottle our own rum – watch this space!

5. What is your stance on additives in rum? Would you like to see more Universal Regulation?

We don’t mind additives in rum BUT what we don’t like is a lack of information on the label. We like to know what we are drinking so we can make an informed choice about what we buy and what we then pass onto our members. The rum category needs a universal regulation if it wants to find new markets and continue to grow. As people become more educated in rum I think it is going to be harder for distillers and bottlers to hide what they are doing to their liquid although everything does take time.

6. Speaking of rules and regulations what is your opinion on the current issues over the Barbados/Jamaica rum GI proposals?

GI’s are really key to protect the quality of a county’s product by keeping to agreed methods of production. This will also protect a country’s reputation and hopefully ensure that more revenue is seen locally rather than being taken out of the country.

For the Barbados GI it looks like the 4 distilleries on the island, the West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD), Mount Gay, Foursquare and Saint Nicholas Abbey are close to agreeing in principle what the rules and regulations will look like. There are some areas that WIRD (now owned by Plantation) are not happy with after the Bajan government asked the Investment and Development Corporation to collate each distiller’s view.

Whilst broadly speaking the GI agreement appears to be in a position to be tabled WIRD are mainly objecting to the finer details of double aging and using different woods which they say is part of the island’s history. Ultimately Plantation are keen not to have too many restrictions placed on their investment. That said the GI does allow for innovation in many areas of production and is key to securing Bajan rum as a world leader which their government seems to also understand, so we hope that these challenges are overcome quickly.

Jamaica already has its own GI so they are one step ahead, but further tweaks could be on the horizon. We find this part of the rum industry fascinating and could talk for hours on the subject. Would love to be round the table, in the thick of it and then sipping on some very fine rum after!

An Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite - Craft Rum Club by the fat rum pirate7. How do you view your role within the Rum World? What do you hope to “bring” to the rum community? Do you reach out beyond your day job in rum?

Foremost the ethos of Craft Rum Club is to take our members on a journey through the rum category. It’s great to be able to introduce people to new, exciting delicious rums and hear their feedback – good or bad! We are so passionate about the rums we showcase each month that we hope our members appreciate the effort we go to, to bring them premium/ craft rums that aren’t available on the High Street.

We like to push boundaries with some of our choices and challenge perceptions of the different expressions of this diverse spirit we all love. It is really pleasing to see that people are getting more interested in the category and if we are helping in a small way to educate and boost rum’s profile then it’s an ambition fulfilled that we never dreamt possible. Our club magazine, Rumspiration, grows month on month and includes a series of articles on rum production. Each month we focus on a different stage in the distillation process, the geeks may pull holes in it, but for rum lovers just wanting to explore more it ticks the box.

8. Do you actively use Social Media to reach out with other Rum Drinkers and Enthusiasts? If so where might we find you?

We generally use our business to reach out and we can be found here;

Insta: craftrumclub | FB: @craftrumclub | twitter: @craft_rum_club

9. Which rum producers are your current favourites?

There are too many to mention but we both love Jamaican rum, Appleton and Hampden Estates, Worthy Park etc. Each part of the island has a unique flavour profile due to many factors, like the environment, production methods etc. Clearly, we are a little biased here, but we always keep an eye out for the Foursquare releases (doesn’t everyone?) and really love a great Agricole Rhum from St James or Damoiseau.

10. Which rum producers/brands do you think are currently flying under the radar? Name 3 rums people may not have tried but really should give a go

This is hard as there are so many

Ron La Progresiva 13Cuban rum. Found this a few months back and is totally delicious.

Damoiseau D’arranges Mango & Passion Fruit –a fruit Agricole rum – prefect summer drink

National Rums of Jamaica – Long Pond 2003 TECA. Better than the 2007, bit more funk – delicious and was lucky to pick one up recently. High end on price but if you can get hold of a bottle then I would certainly recommend it.

11. Finally, what is your idea of the perfect rum and/or rum drink/cocktail?

We love Jamaican rums, neat, bit of ice or water to open them up if it’s leaning towards cask strength or you can’t beat a punchy rum punch or daquiri can you? 

So there you go some really interesting insights on what it is like to work in the “Rum Industry”. It is interesting how many relationships lead to people being introduced to Rum and falling in love with it!

If you interested in subscribing to The Craft Rum Club then I would follow the links in this interview. There are a number of Rum Clubs in the UK with similar names and you might easily get lost!

An Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite - Craft Rum Club by the fat rum pirateAn Interview with Kevin Beament and Donna Waite - Craft Rum Club by the fat rum pirate

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. As a result I may receive commission based on sales generated from links on this page. Review scores are not affected by or influenced by this.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © 2020 thefatrumpirate.com. All Rights Reserved.  Premium WordPress Plugins