Unless you don’t get out much, you’ve heard of Bayou Rum, born and raised right here in Southwest Louisiana. Their wonderful distillery in Lacassine offers tours and tastings and is something to see. We spoke with owner Trey Litel about his fabulous brand that has taken the state (and beyond!) by storm.
JAM: What made you start Bayou Rum?
TL: It started with an idea that came out of a duck blind conversation near the Lacassine Wildlife Refuge and the local sugarcane fields. My brother Tim Litel, our good friend Skip Cortese and I wondered how it was possible that Louisiana, a state that produces more sugarcane than any Caribbean island, with a reputation for good times and good food, did not have a world class rum. The next thing we knew, Louisiana Spirits was born. We decided to build a great, authentic Louisiana rum and do it in a way that supports our state and our unique culture. Louisiana was known as ‘The Bayou State” while I was growing up on Contraband Bayou. Good memories inspired us to celebrate our state by naming our product Bayou® Rum!
JAM: How many visitors do you get per month?
TL: We generally have between 2,000 to 3,000 visitors a month. Last year, we estimate that approximately 30,000 visitors came to visit the Bayou Rum Distillery. We offer tours Tuesday through Saturday at specific times and folks can make reservation at
www.bayourum.com/distillery for a guided tour. The distillery site includes state-of-the-art distilling equipment, a gallery celebrating the state’s historic role as a sugar cane producer, a tasting bar and an incomparable gift shop. We strive to make all visitors feel welcome.
JAM: Are you in other states now?
TL: Louisiana natives live all over the USA and we have fans asking for Bayou Rum almost daily on our Facebook page and by email! We are in seven states now with a few more on the way later this year. You can find Bayou Rum in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Maryland, pus Washington D.C. Nine if you include two provinces in Canada! We believe that Bayou® Rum will be America’s Rum® before too long…
JAM: Tell me about your new Reserve Rum
TL: We have just recently released our first barrel-aged rum, Bayou Limited Edition Select Barrel Reserve, batch 1501. This is a special blend of barrels, some dating to the beginning of our company when we were doing test batches on a 10-gallon pot still. Bayou Select has been aged up to three years in charred oak bourbon barrels, which transform the spirit over time into a smoother, mellower, and more flavorful rum rivaling the best sipping rums in the world. In a blind taste test, Bayou Select earned a GOLD medal from the Consumer Rum Jury at the 2015 Miami Rum Festival.
JAM: What’s ahead for Bayou Rum?
TL: We will continue to strive for excellence and consistency in distilling, to provide a fun atmosphere for tourists who visit our distillery, and to grow our distribution to more states and internationally. When I visit most liquor stores, bars, and restaurants and ask what kind of rums they offer, it is all imported. We want to change that by offering our handcrafted original Bayou® Rum!
JAM: Anything else you want people to know about Bayou Rum?
TL: Fun drinking quiz: How many times does T-Boy appear on the Bayou Rum bottle?
Not so fun fact: Bayou Rum receives no subsidies. We make our rum from Louisiana sugarcane, mature it, bottle it, sell it and pay Federal excise taxes on every bottle. Rums from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are given a refund of their Federal excise taxes and a payment of all imported rum taxes collected from the US government! Tell your US Congressman and US Senator that this madness has to stop, or make the US government recognize Louisiana as a “US Territory!”