Tastings, parties, masterclasses, dinners, pairings and more brought rum lovers to the capital for the first ever Rum Experience Week culminating in the UK’s biggest annual celebration of the spirit at RumFest 2015
Monday 12th – Sunday 18th October 2015
Last week rum took over London with a week of curated events in the first ever Rum Experience Week, culminating in the ninth annual RumFest. Rum Experience Week raised awareness of the spirit like never before teaming up with leading bars, chefs, distillers, brands and rum lovers to showcase new ways to enjoy one of the country’s favourite tipples. Highlights of the week included a first-taste of Lamb’s Single Cask at Voltaire, an exclusive Rum Masters Dinner, an interactive live tasting in the Shard with Appleton Rum which trended on Twitter in the UK, a Thames Tiki rum cruise, rum pairings with cigars and chocolate, the return of Boutique RumFest and the Rum Experience University and much more. At the weekend thousands flocked to London’s ILEC for RumFest and a sell out Saturday, where rum makers from all over the world showcased their blends in tastings, masterclasses, seminars, cocktails and more. Full details of all events and next year’s dates to be announced soon and can be found via The RumFest and Rum Experience Week websites.
Rum Experience Week and RumFest offered the most comprehensive rum programme the UK has ever seen. Headed up by Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell, the seven-day series welcomed both rum newcomers and the discerning drinker to embrace the vibrant culture of rum and change perceptions by exploring new ways to enjoy the spirit.
The week began at one of Alfred Lamb’s old rum stores under the Thames at Voltaire, where Lamb’s Navy Rum hosted an exclusive tasting of the first limited edition batch of Lamb’s Single Cask, followed by the official launch party for Rum Experience Week. Some of the world’s most renowned ambassadors including Richard Seale from Foursquare and Luca Gargano from Velier Rums presented a special tasting at Bourne & Hollingsworth as well as raising a number of pressing issues affecting the rum industry including the categorisation of the spirit. Appleton Estate Rum welcomed over 400 lucky rum enthusiasts the chance to take part in the ultimate ‘alternative night in’, as they presented #AppletonLive the ‘Taste of Jamaica’ welcoming both fans at home and at a very special event at The Shard the ultimate live interactive Twitter tasting resulting in it trending on Twitter in the UK. Rum lovers set sail aboard the Tiki Boat on Thursday for Tiki On The Thames with plenty of Tiki vibes, Tiki tunes and Tiki cocktails before a special after party at the famous Mahiki Club in Mayfair.
Those looking for more of an official education in rum took part in the Rum Experience University on Friday, with an in-depth course that offered a recognised diploma. Industry figures also congregated for RumFest’s sister trade show Boutique RumFest that allows buyers, distributors, distillers, press and industry figures from all over the globe to network and sample new rums before anyone else.
Rum Experience Week ended with a bang as RumFest took over London’s ILEC for the country’s biggest celebration of rum. Over 400 of the rarest and most diverse rums from across the globe were on offer for ticket holders to sip, savour and buy along with some more premium rums available to try as part of the Golden Tot offering. Leading and emerging rum brands took part in intimate seminars, masterclasses and more while the main stage presented cooking demonstrations and the return of the Rum Auction, which raised over £5000 for charity. (Note: We won the Foursquare Mahiki bottle in the auction)
Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador and Rum Experience Week Founder comments, “The turnout and reaction for Rum Experience Week and RumFest has been phenomenal. It’s such a joy to see so many people as interested and excited by rum and it’s a testament to the versatility and variety of the spirit. A big thanks goes out to all of the brands, ambassadors, blenders, mixologists and rum lovers who travelled from all over the world to be a part of the many rum events in the capital and we hope to see you all again next year!”
RumFest Founder and Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell is the leading name in rum. Dedicating his life to promoting rum and rum culture around the world, over the years Burrell has been recognised with a number of industry awards as well as regularly appearing as a rum expert at events and on television shows like Sunday Brunch, the Alan Titchmarsh Show and more.
“The best of the 6 RumFests we have attended. Saturday was a great day, the visitors to our stand were really interested to learn more about rum and The Diplomatico range, they seemed to really like the venue and it’s location.” Diplomatico
“The best thing we’ve done for 2015.” Rum Bar
“Delighted to be a part of RumFest again this year. Great turnout, lots of fun and we are already discussing how we can embrace this event further next year.” Marussia
“It was a great experience to show the quality of the rums under the D.O.C. Ron de Venezuela in this prestigious event. A unique opportunity to meet UK professionals and rum lovers. Congratulations to all RumFest’s team!” D.O.C. Ron de Venezuela
“Showcasing Matugga Rum – a new entrant to the U.K. drinks market, at the Boutique RumFest and at The UK RumFest yielded an abundance of positive results. Our participation in the show boosted awareness of our brand amongst rum enthusiasts, and facilitated networking with the international drinks trade. Impressive exposure, great experience, highly recommended – we’re looking forward to RumFest 2016.” Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, Matugga Beverages
“Once again, the Duppies enjoyed spreading the mischief at this year’s RumFest. A year on from our launch, it was great to be back amongst the rum family, saying hello to people we met last year and introducing The Duppy Share to newcomers. It’s exciting to see the interest in rum growing and growing, and to be a part of the rum revolution.” Duppy Share
“For Botran the show was fantastic exposure. RumFest has played a huge part in the re-introduction of Botran to the UK and the reception we had was incredibly positive. It was a great opportunity to educate people on Botran and our plans for the UK market.” Botran
“Being distributed by VDS UK for 3 months mostly in London’s bars, the rum fest was an excellent opportunity to meet rum connoisseurs and get their feedbacks. See you next year!” HeeJoy
“We enjoyed RumFest 2015. A relaxing and entertaining venue to interact with the friends, the trade, customers, and receive their feedback.” Nicholas Abbey Rum
“It was an amazing experience thanks to everyone involved. I was able to listen to the valuable feedback from a lot of customers who came by our stand. We were also able to secure a distributor in the UK so we hope more and more people will be able to enjoy NINE LEAVES rum! A huge thank you to the festival organizers, and everyone who attended the event. I will continue to keep ‘sincerely making rum’. That’s a promise.” Nine Leaves
“RumFest was fantastic for us this year due to our rebrand of Britain’s favourite spiced rum, Old J. We also showcased our new flavours Cherry and Gold which went down a storm with the public. Whisky Exchange told us it was the most popular this year which was also huge for us as a brand. Can’t wait for next year!!” Old J Spiced Rum
“RumFest is definitely our favourite event to do. We look forward to it every year, it’s such a fun atmosphere and everyone involved is so helpful!! Roti Company
“What an excellent show with truly great feedback from the audience regarding Ron Centenario. We hope to finally have our rum available in the UK market in the near future.” Ron Centenario
“As newcomers to the British market the RumFest experience was a delightful moment to meet with customers and get some valuable insights. We enjoyed the fair very much and hope that also brought some good vibes and the most excellent rum.” Ron Barcelo
“Being part of Rum Experience Week has been a reminder of just how much the spirit is increasing in popularity. There’s a real thirst for premium liquid, as proven by the positive response to Lamb’s new Single Cask rum. We had some fantastic feedback on the full Lamb’s range at RumFest and thanks to Ian Burrell, The Global Rum Ambassador, people were again entertained and educated about Lamb’s Rum, a brand of true British Character.” Lamb’s Navy Rum
“This year was the 5th consecutive year Don Q has participated in the UK Rum Experience. Every year we find that the event helps elevate the category within the London market by educating and exposing the consumer and rum enthusiasts alike to the production process, upcoming trends, and of course great rums!” Don Q
“Westerhall Rums loved being part of this years RumFest it was fantastic to meet so many rum enthusiasts! Everyone seemed thoroughly interested in learning more about rum, and it was great to speak with so many over a Westerhall Jack Iron Cocktail. We are very much looking forward to next year. Cheers!” Westerhall Rum
“RumFest 2016 has been one of the best shows for Pusser’s Rum. There was a great turnout and people really wanted to learn about our brand. We met some amazing individuals over the course of the weekend, and all because of rum!” Pussers Rum
Amathus has a long history with RumFest, and this year we fully supported the focus on Rhum Agricole. with fantastic activity from our AOC Martinique brands, Rhum Clement and Rhum JM.” Amathus Drinks
We attended a few events along with both days of Rumfest itself and our summation will appear on these pages in the very near future accompanied by a huge quantity of images. Given the quality on display this year alongside the chosen guest speakers / masterclasses, there was a real credibility to the event and it was on the whole a really positive weekend. We’re still recovering so it must have been good! We had our own stand out moments and will reveal all when the article is published!
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