Siesta Key Rum racked up three medals at the Rum XP Tasting Competition last month. Now it’s time to see where it’s made.
by Mike Streeter
I remember hearing about Drum Circle Distilling a few years ago when they had their official launch. It was good to know that a start-up micro distillery was opening up shop in Florida and had chosen to produce rum. A few short years later and this brand is winning awards and gaining serious notoriety from the fine spirits community. At the Rum Renaissance Festival in Miami last month, Drum Circle won a Gold-Best in Class medal for their Siesta Key Silver Rum and Silver medals for Siesta Key Gold and Siesta Key Spiced. Not a bad start.
A month went by and an opportunity to tour the Drum Circle Distillery came up and I jumped at the chance. Along with several members of the Rum XP group, we made our way north from glamorous downtown Sarasota to a much more humble industrial area. I catch the sweet smell of molasses as we pull into a nondescript parking lot and know that we’re in the right place. The entire Drum Circle facility is few thousand square feet of converted warehouse space packed with top notch distilling equipment and aging barrels. What it lacks in size is makes up tenfold in quality!
Troy Roberts and Tom Clarke are the owners of Drum Circle Distillery and greet our group upon arrival. We all pull out cameras as Troy begins our tour of the facility. He explains the distilling process and gives us a detailed account of what each piece of equipment is used for. Their still was made by Christian Carl Distilleries in Stuttgart, Germany and is quite unique. It is a pot still and column still combination with a few secret modification thrown in. It is a beautiful piece of high quality distilling equipment and I can’t get over its sculptural qualities.
We have an opportunity to taste the spirit directly out of the still at 160 proof and out of several aging barrels at proof before dilution. Some of our group sips it slowly and others throw it back as a shot, but we’re all impressed at the level of quality (even at high ABV). They are currently enlarging the aging space at Drum Circle and experimenting with different barrels. It will be interesting to see what products come out of this expansion.
Once the rum is aged and blended it heads to the bottling and labeling room which is also very minimal. Four bottles are filled at a time and each is labeled individually. The attention to detail in the entire process is evident and the finished product has a distinct artisan quality to it. It helps that the rum inside is top-notch as well.
After our tour, Troy and Tom treat us to rum cake and conversation about the future of the brand. Distribution is expanding at a rapid pace in Florida and beyond and their award winning Spiced Rum is about to hit the market. For a list of retailers and online sales options, check out the Siesta Key website.
In an industry dominated by giant corporations, it’s great to see some of the smaller rum producers flourishing. You can expect to see continued success from our friends at Drum Circle Distilling. Siesta Key Rum is among the best on the market and is definitely worth tracking down.
Cheers to Troy and Tom for making great rum and living the dream!!