Movie star Johnny Depp has played a role—literally—in linking the image of rum with pirates staggering around decks and slurring orders to their mateys. But while the liquor certainly conjures up images of tropical seas, it also has a history in Louisiana. As European monarchs began to colonize the New World, they sought to make the acquired territories profitable. The climate and soil in Louisiana proved ideal for growing sugarcane. Rum production, a popular by-product, wasn’t far behind. Soon, though, the plantations were focused primarily on serving the market for granulated sugar, and rum production shifted to the remote Caribbean islands. There were attempts to resuscitate the industry, but they were thwarted by the Civil War, Prohibition, and the Great Depression.
Those days are well behind us, and the industry is ripe for a comeback. Brothers Trey and Tim Litel along with long-time friend Skip Cortese are bringing rum back to Louisiana through their new distillery, Louisiana Spirits. The distillery produces a superior quality liquor that is crafted locally.
The team has been interested in authenticity and quality from the very beginning. Their thorough research has not only uncovered old sugar house recipes, but also a deep understanding of traditional distillation methods and their potential improvement by modern technology.
Their studies were not limited to old books and papers. “Of course, we also visited rum distilleries overseas and many bourbon and whiskey distilleries in the U.S., which only strengthened our desire to create a compelling cultural experience for our visitors,” said Trey.
With a deep historical perspective and a clear vision of the future, Louisiana Spirits introduced Silver Bayou Rum and Spiced Bayou Rum to a thirsty market in early July. Mid July marks the opening of Louisiana Spirits’ Visitor Center, which is situated on the twenty-two-acre distillery property in Lacassine. The distillery is set amongst trees and sugarcane fields, with a renovated 1903 farmhouse completing the picture.
From this ideal locale, Trey, Tim, and Skip plan to honor the historic glory of Louisiana rum while also ushering in a new era for this fabled beverage … sans pirates.
Original Story at Country Roads.