Bahama Bob's Rumstyles

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Florida Governor Rick Scott Vetoes Liquor Wall Bill

Gov. Rick Scott
     Florida's so-called "liquor wall" won't be coming down after all.  Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill late Wednesday that would have removed a Prohibition-era law requiring liquor to be sold in separate stores from groceries and other retail items.

     Twenty-nine other states have similar laws that allow spirits in the grocery aisles, but the bill gained stiff opposition from social conservatives concerned it would lead to increased alcohol consumption, alcoholism and underage drinking.   Yet it wasn't those concerns that swayed Scott. It was the pleas of independent liquor store owners and workers that led to his veto.   "I have heard concerns as to how this bill could affect many small businesses across Florida," Scott wrote in his veto letter. "I was a small business owner, and many locally owned businesses have told me how this bill will impact their families and their ability to create jobs."

     Scott gave few clues in the lead-in to his decision, but acknowledged on Tuesday that his family's history with alcoholism - his biological father and brother both suffered from it - gave him pause.   "I've had family members that have had the challenge of alcoholism and it concerns me," Scott told reporters Tuesday. "So as I review the bill, I take all those things into consideration." 

     Big-box retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Target, pushed for the bill the past four years and don't appear to be giving up on the idea.    "There is a clear momentum in Florida for this common-sense approach to liquor sales," said Michael Williams, spokesman for Floridians for Fair Business Practices, an advocacy group backed by Wal-Mart and Target. "We look forward to working with state leaders in the future to finally put an end to this outdated, Prohibition-era law."

     The bill was one of the most heavily lobbied pieces of legislation this year. As big retailers pushed for the measure, independent liquor stores and Orlando-based ABC Fine Wine & Spirits fought against it. Publix, which has gone to the expense of setting up liquor stores next -to its grocery stores, also opposed the legislation.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Here is What Those Who Responded to Yesterday's Blog are Asking For

     I kind of got the results that I thought from my question in yesterday's blog.  There are thousands of rums on the market and it a very difficult to know myself what they are with out a guide book.  For the customer at the bar it is even more difficult.  Here recently, there has been a real push for better classification of rum, something more substantial that just gold, dark, spiced or flavored. A prominent group of rum producers and vendors have gotten together and come up with a new classification system that makes it a lot easier to know what type of rum that you are buying.

     The Gargano Classification system gives buyers a much better understanding of what they are buying and makes it much easier to know the basis of the rums that they are buying.

The Gargano Rum Classification System
  • Pure Single Rum – this would apply to all pure pot-still rums
  • Single Blended Rum – blends of pot-still and column-still rums 
  • Traditional Rum – traditional column-still rum 
  • Agricole Rhums  - Appellation d’ Origine Controlle"  for rums produced on the island of Martinique that meet certain local standards. 
  • Rum – all other rums
This is a a great basis for getting into the ballpark as to what you are buying, but with rum and it's minimal number of rules, there are many different tasting rums is each classification.  As a barman, it is critical for me to have a feel for the rums in the area of taste as well as classification.

     From the comments, you seem to want some one to guide you to a new rum similar to the one you like or in the range of the one you like. " I've tried matching rums to similar whiskeys, both in terms of quality and sweetness. I've never been successful that way, even with long-time friends. However, I think a flight of 3 or 4 rums of similar quality would be a great start. Have the potential "convert" pick her favorite of the flight, then present another flight built on that preference."   I too find this to be an excellent method to finalize a customer's selection.  To this end at the "Speakeasy Inn's Rum Bar", I created a "Rum Run" served in a prohibition era model boat.  Over the years, this has worked very well to finalize the decisions.

     It takes all of the parts of the game to put the correct rum into a customer's hands when you are serving the end customer.  I have found in the past a good list of your rums that is classified, in the past I've used the country of origin, but with a new and viable system of classification this would be the better way, especially if it is the standard industry wide.  But this is only the beginning to get your customer into the ball park.  You have to have the skills of a sommelier to finely get the rum the customer is looking for.

     Thank you for all of the input.  I see this is a great start, and I hope that the industry can agree to a new and accurate classification for the category.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

As a Customer What Do You Need to Know to Switch to Rum

     Today I saw and participated in a really interesting debate about how rums should be presented on a menu of the restaurant or bar.  I know what I try to do as a barman, but it is really interesting to me so see what your feelings on the subject are.

     If you are a whiskey category drinker and I was trying to convince you to try rum, what do you want to know to get you to try a rum?  There are people that feel that they can offer you types of rums based on flavor or color in a menu form.  Others believe that rums can be presented as a list and let you rely on the server or barman to guide you like the sommelier would in the world of wine.   Some bring up the idea of price point to separate the expressions.

     What I'm doing here is asking you to comment here on the blog and give me a feeling on what would be more likely to bring you over to trying a rum.  I spend a lot of time with customers that are whiskey and other spirit drinkers and need the help from the customers as what information they need to try a rum.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Water With Your Rum, What a Concept

     There is a push on to get people to have a glass of water between drinks containing alcoholic beverages.  This is a concept that has been around for years and is quite effective in slowing the on come of intoxication.   Water is not usually offered to customers for free at establishments that serve alcoholic beverages, but there is a campaign in Europe and Great Britain that calls on trade venues to act on this concept.
     Many bars and nightclubs have signed on to this scheme and now are indicating that they will serve complimentary water to customers.  In addition, five major retail chains placed more than 650,000 neck hangers on bottles to encourage consumers to follow the guidelines when consuming alcohol at home.  

     “The objective is to slow the pace of drinking, reduce dehydration that occurs when consuming alcohol, and favor moderation on a night out.”   With the pressure on in many country and states to lower the level of blood alcohol from 0.08% to 0.05% for operation of motor vehicles, it is a good way to be able to enjoy an evening out without the risk of a D.U.I. going home afterwards.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

26th Annual Minimal Regatta at Schooner Wharf Sunday

Open Class Boats
     Memorial Day Weekend is at hand this week and one of the most fun events of the year happens at Schooner Wharf.  The 26th Annual Minimal Regatta is here.  A very “serious “ group of very creative boat builders have spent many hours creating their “scientifically” designed vessels for this fabulous race.
     Supplies are limited, but the creativity is endless at Schooner Wharf Bar on Sunday, May 27 for the 21st Annual Schooner Wharf Minimal Regatta.  Each 6 member team must build a boat seaworthy enough to stay afloat for the entire race course in the Key West Bight in front of Schooner Wharf. The catch---the boats are made of plywood, fasteners, duct tape, and 2' x 4's.  Construction kits can be bought at co-sponsor Manley de Boer on Eaton Street at a “minimal” price.

Minimal Regatta Construction Rules

  • One sheet of 4' x 8' x 1/4" plywood
  • Two 2"x 4" 8'
  • One pound of fasteners
  • One roll of 2" x 60 yard duct tape
  • No caulking or adhesives - Epoxy paint is permitted
  • Painting of boats is optional

Kayak Class
     There are two categories of “Minimal Vessels” -- Kayak/Canoe Design & Open Design. Competitors will win prizes in each design group for Fastest - 1st & 2nd Place. Other prizes are awarded for the Most Creative Design - 1st & 2nd Place, Best Paint Job, Best Costumed Entry, Sportsmanship Award, and Sinker Award.

     The $20 entry fee this year will benefit the Wounded Warriors Caribbean Cruise (46 Special Forces Group Association). Veterans on therapeutic leave from the Bethesda Navy and Walter Reed Army hospitals in Maryland enjoy a Caribbean cruise while escorted by members of the local VFW Post 3911.   “We make sure all their needs are taken care of, along with the veterans’ airfare and hotel stays,” said Ed Moran, commander of VFW Post 3911. “We’re excited to be a part of the Minimal Regatta and appreciative of its support for this Wounded Warrior project.”

Sinker Class oops
    Regatta registration opens at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 27 with vessel inspection at 12:30 p.m. Spectators have a chance to get an up close look of the ingenious vessels and fun team costumes. There will be a course demonstration between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m., followed by a conch shell start by Captain Morgan.

The Aftermath of the Tough Racing LOL

Monday, May 22, 2017

Seeing The Public Enjoying Hemingway Rum Company

Pilar Today
     After a couple of weeks of soft openings at the Hemingway Rum Company it was a lot of fun to have a couple of days with the public.  I had a chance to see many friends that I hadn't seen since my retirement from the bar business a little over a year and a half ago.   The only drawback was that with nearly 500 or so people a day coming through the tasting bar, I wasn't able to spend much time with any of them. 

Ernest Hemingway
      I have watched Carlton Grooms and his crew working on this project for nearly four years now and I'm really happy to see the stress leave his face today when the VIP stuff finished up and the store opened up to the public.  Part of the reward for all their work came when the store was filled with people from the start on Saturday at 9 am. 

     Seeing the tribute to Ernest Hemingway's adventurous nature
Hemingway Wall
being the central theme of the store and the good quality rum being made in his honor is a wonderful thing to be around.  There are so many photographs of his exciting life, especially here in Key West that are built into the bar along with the ones on the Hemingway wall in the distillery area.  These help you to feel a part of this mans love of life and all the adventures that he lived.

Hemingway Rum Company Solera
     If you weren't able to attend this past weekends festivities, be sure to stop by one your next visit to Key West and see the Hemingway Rum Company at the corner of Greene and Simonton Streets.  It is a tour of adventure and rum, unlike any other anywhere.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Walked Out to Meet My New Neighbor

     Yesterday morning, I heard some squawking outside and looked up to be greeted by a new visitor on the sailboat next door.  It looks like a young Osprey, but he was anxious to say hi to his new neighbor and let everyone in the marina know that he was here.

     The Osprey is one of my favorite birds here in the Florida Keys, they are so majestic and beautiful to see.  They soar like an eagle, which makes sense, because they are a part of the eagle family.  Very efficient at snatching fish from the ocean with a high speed swoop over the surface of the water.  hey make their nests at the top of poles and other very tall places.

    Say Hey to my new neighbor.