- Associated Press - Saturday, April 26, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Rum connoisseurs are learning to mix cocktails and tasting new flavors at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.

Organizer Robert A. Burr said Friday that he expected over 12,000 people to attend seminars and tastings over the weekend. More than 200 varieties of rum were available to sample.

The festival features rums from over 30 countries, including locales beyond rum’s traditional Caribbean hub. Among the more far-flung contestants in the festival’s flavor competitions this week were the vanilla-infused Pink Pigeon from Mauritius and Philippines-based Tanduay, distilled from locally grown sugarcane.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States says rum sales in the U.S. increased slightly last year to 25.6 million cases of rum, and flavored and spiced rums accounted for more than half of all rums sold.

Bacardi Senior Brand Master Willie Ramos says that demand has driven the company to add more flavors to its offerings, including a mango fusion launched this month. The tropical flavor gives consumers more flexibility when mixing cocktails, Ramos said.

Other rums emphasized a more traditional rum experience, such as Connecticut-based The Real McCoy. President and CEO Bailey Pryor said the company has revived a Barbados-distilled rum that was once slipped into New York City during Prohibition.

Cape Coral-based Wicked Dolphin is at the festival celebrating a year since Florida lawmakers agreed to allow craft liquor distilleries to join the state’s wineries and craft breweries in selling their products on-site. Wicked Dolphin was among the distilleries pushing for the change, and since the new law took effect July 1, it’s draws 200 people a day for tours, said distiller Dan Termini.


Online: Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, https://www.rumrenaissance.com/

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