FRS Members & Rum Lovers,
I wanted to share with you an exciting initiative that the Florida Rum Society and other leading rum clubs across the country are launching at the end of April.
Myself, along with Eric “Rum Doc” Carter & John Gulla, will be joining the leaders of many US-based rum clubs at the Privateer distillery in MA to launch The Rum Round Table (RRT) – a cooperation between independent rum clubs coming together in one room to discuss how to better pursue our shared goals.
Clubs have largely developed themselves independently to this point, and often with great success. The FRS is past 1,400 members, we lead the way with our Virtual Happy Hours throughout the “dark times”, we have started in person tastings/gatherings, we are closing in on 20 barrel picks, and, against all odds, we successfully pulled off the “Takeover” of Miami! The reason that we think working cooperatively is there is an opportunity to provide an even better means to achieve our shared goals.
We will discuss best practices surrounding club operation and growth, better collaboration between rum clubs from barrel selections to events, helping smaller clubs develop and grow, supplier transparency, and the role we can play with consumer advocacy and education. As well as probably other topics that will most likely emerge.
I want to stress that each club that participates in the RRT will maintain their independence, however I believe that this collective has an important role to play in the creation of the early majority market for rum in the US. And a larger rum market is good for all of us and, of course, rum as a whole. As clubs, we will continue to have exceptional access to suppliers and elite selections AND an improved market will likely make more rum available in more States, possibly even at better prices.
While we discussed inviting more clubs to the April launch, we determined that the RRT was best served by an ad hoc committee of around ten clubs/societies in various stages of development. As of today, eight clubs have agreed to be a part of this gathering, representing an estimated 3,500 members: Austin Rum Society, the Boston Rum Social Club, the Carolina Rum Society, the Florida Rum Society, Friends of Rum Tennessee (and FORT chapter club, Memphis Rum Club), the Minnesota Rum Club, the Richmond Rum Society, and the Rum Caucus, as well as John and Will from the Rumcast podcast.
The Rum Round Table is being sponsored by Privateer Rum, who shares the view that the RRT (as well as the individual clubs), must protect their independence from external vectors if it is to realize its potential. Accordingly, Privateer has recused themselves from club-related meetings, and have asked that one of the first orders of business be the groups selecting a new venue for the 2023 gathering. They also support the Rumcast’s participation due to their important role in the US rum universe and as a platform for communicating the vision clearly and objectively.
As the agenda continues to take shape, I will share additional details with all of you. I also very much look forward to sharing the outcome with everyone after the gathering. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. I, along with so many of us, believe that a Rising Tide Lifts All Ships and this is just another example of helping to grow and educate on the spirit we love. Cheers!