It was a warm summer night in San Diego when Rob Burr (the Rum Scout) and I stumbled out of the Tiki Oasis Room Crawl, or maybe it was morning. Two hours past the witching hour we were tired but exhilarated from our wild night of schmoozing and boozing. To our surprise the hotel pool was in full swing and it looked like it was in no danger of closing. Longing for a swim just less than I was longing for my bed, we ambled on.
A married couple who were decked out in tiki apparel walked only steps away. Rob Burr introduced himself as the Rum Scout and the man replied, “I make my own rum.”
The real regulation of alcohol began with the end of Prohibition. For the hobbyist and small business entrepreneur, this can make things tough. These laws have made outlaws of craftsmen and artists. In many states the legal picture is getting better. Colorado, for example, has quite a few new distilleries. For the rest of us, you either move to a place where you can practice the craft of distilling or you take the outlaw’s path. Almost anyone who learned to distill from a book most likely operated illegally for a time. I would love to build a still, but sadly the outlaw’s life is not for me. I just wish people with the entrepreneurial spirit and gumption to take a whack at making whiskey would have an easier time. Maybe then I would give it a go.
For the time being I will admire the outlaw. Random events and luck put Rum Scout and I in a hotel room at two o’clock in the morning with a guy who was eagerly serving us his home-made rum. I should have told him to rethink the used Starbucks Frappuccino bottles and the Sharpie labels; they shake one’s confidence in the safety and cleanliness of his booze a little. He was more of a man with a dream than an outlaw, but we enjoyed his home-made spirits and wished him luck in gaining legitimacy
Somehow between Rob’s gift for gab, my enthusiasm, and a little luck we seem to easily stumble upon the delightful underbelly of a booze industry bursting with creativity and yearning for more freedom. I have no idea who this guy was, but we gave him our cards and said “call us when you are legal.”
Ready for Another Round?