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The rum runner’s 60 day race

By Daniele Biondi

I just came back from Brazil, after having been reminded of September 13th (1661) National Cachaça Day. This rum runner now has to accurately plan his next 60 days around Europe, chasing rum events, shows, and Masterclasses. His mission is to try to learn as much as possible, while tasting around 1,000 rum samples in the process! Mission impossible?!

The trip starts out action-packed, with familiar palm trees and Mediterranean charm at the September 15th Nice Bartender Training Session with Gregoire Erchoff. Then, after a comfortable journey to the UK and a wise umbrella purchase, it is time to enjoy the London Boutique Bar Show (16th and 17th) with not one, but two ACR Masterclasses with Amit Sood, and a world of rums to learn about and taste!

With all of this rum commotion, it would seem that the Mediterranean Sea, great Mother Nature, took it upon herself to fill the demand and create even more rum runners, ready for the next round. On Monday the 22nd the “rum nnammurato” lands in Palermo, the “rum amoureux” in Montpellier, and the “rum aficionado” in Barcelona for ACR training sessions with Dan, Gregoire and Alberto! Everything is broadcasted on Facebook and Twitter, the runners are everywhere!  Then, boom, another ACR training in Edinburgh on the 23rd.

After a few days a stop home is needed to recharge, but soon after the rum runner jumps back to London, stopping at a vintage shop to buy an elegant ensemble for Whisky Live in Paris the 27th – 29th. At the event there are many producers, seminars, the latest rum news, and even the Mabel pop up rum bar. But it’s just a quick visit on the last day, so as to catch a quick train to Antwerp for the ACR training on the 29th with Andrew Nicholls.

On Tuesday the rum runner returns home to relax, take a shower, and leaves again with a final  ‚good luck‘ from his parents again. The next stop is the Berlin German Rum Fest on the 4th and 5th of October. This event gives a 360° overview of the high-potential German rum market. While the rest of the bartenders are drinking lager and having pretzels, our rum runner plans a ’speakeasy‘ 24 hr. escape to Sevilla, on October 6th for an ACR bartender training session, and an exciting Spanish night out on the town. Then it is off to Berlin at Bar Convent on the 7th – 8th, the most important bar show in Europe, in terms of brand attendance, level of guests, and new trends. Everyone goes to Bar Convent!

Between all of the events there is time for a day’s break, to take a breath, but the next day it’s a flight back to London. There the plan is to attend the large, super-famous, loud, fun, centre of the rum world for three days – UK Rum Fest on October 10th – 12th.

The following week it’s an ACR bartender training session in Rome on the 13th. This will allow for three relaxing days of leisure, time to visit the ancient ‚caput mundi‘, delicious food, beautiful landscapes, and unique museums.

Rum in Rome continues with Showrum on the 17th – 18th.  There will be around 30 brands present, and two cocktail competitions – one with focus a focus on Cuba and the other on Tiki culture.

On Saturday our “rum amoureux” holds a training session in another interesting market, Belgium (18th – 19th at Salon du Rhum). The day after the “amoureux” goes to Lyon for another training. Over in Barcelona, Spain the fun continues with Bar Forum on the 20th – 23rd, Bar Forum, where attendees take a look at how the Spanish rum market is evolving, after many years of mixed drinks and ‚ron‘ brands.

The 22nd of October marks Boutique Bar Show Edinburgh. After which, it is off to Turin on the 23rd  for Salone del Gusto for a Cachaça Masterclass by Deive Novakoski, and not to mention an ACR Masterclass on the 24th  at Salone del Gusto!

After stopping for a few days, the rum route moves onto a Masterclass in Bari, Italy on November 3rd, and the same day consists of another ACR Masterclass in Barcelona.

For the weekend our rum events include Brussels Spirits in the Sky on the 8th and Milan on the 9th and 10th for The Rum Day and Sugarcane Experience. This will be the first edition of Rum Day in Italy. It is a high profile rum show with many producers and more than 15 Masterclasses, dozens of rum and cachaça brands from many distilleries and independent bottlers, and several single barrels and unique vintage samples to taste.

What is the Grand Finale you ask?  Can you believe it results in five rum runners?! Whisky Festival and Luxury Rums in Milan on the 15th and 16th, Haite Rumfest at Port au Prince on the 14th-17th, a bit out of the way for Europe, yes, but it’s worth to check out a rum fest in a rum country – so different and beautiful.  And how should you spend this Monday if you are a new rum runner? Answer: ACR bartender training sessions on the 17th in Paris, Brussels, and Madrid.

So that’s it! 14 ACR training sessions and 14 rum shows in 60 days,  +1000 rum tasted, and a pack of rum runners – Mission accomplished! It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it!

‘The views expressed above are the opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of WIRSPA Inc.’   

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