- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hemingway Rum Company officially opened its doors in Key West Florida Saturday, not far from where Ernest Hemingway lived for nearly all of the 1930s — and from where “Papa” often embarked for his boat trips to Cuba aboard his vessel, the Pilar, which lent its name to the new rum.

The makers of Papa’s Pilar opened their facility at 201 Simonton St. in a brick tobacco warehouse built in 1878 by Irish immigrants. Following a three-year renovation, Hemingway Rum Company is producing blonde and dark rums at their facility, which also includes an experience center, tasting room, “Trading Post” and a future event center.

Tributes to “Papa” Hemingway abound, including a swivel picture wall and replica of his beloved Pilar boat, and the bar is chock full of newspaper clippings, photographs and other memorabilia from Hemingway’s life.

Local artisans will also sell their wares at the distillery.

Production of the facility is managed by Carlton “Carl” Grooms, four full-time managers and 40 part-time employees — all of whom are Key West residents.

“We’re excited to have created both a destination that will serve as the physical heart and soul of our brand, as well as an asset for the city of Key West,” Mr. Grooms said in a statement. “Our guests will be truly engaged and amazed with this unique experience. A trip to Key West will no longer be complete without a visit.”

“Of all his worldly travels, Ernest Hemingway chose Key West to call home,” said Lindsey Kops Mundy, Papa’s Pilar national brand director, in a statement. “And it’s here that we chose to celebrate him and Papa’s Pilar, the rum inspired by his spirit of adventure.”

Tours are available daily. To learn more, visit PapasPilar.com.

• Eric Althoff can be reached at twt@washingtontimes.com.

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