With a nod to the backwater regions of Southwest Florida, Alligator Bay Distillers is a family-run operation producing a line of boutique rum products from their production facility in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Alex Voss grew up in Naples, a small town south of Fort Myers. In 2012, he moved to Maui, Hawaii where he learned to make rum. He started as an apprentice and worked his way up to distiller at Haleakalā Distillers.
Returning to Naples, Alex brought home his knowledge of cane spirit production, collaborating with family members to launch their own facility in 2015.
While Alex concentrates on rum production, brother Ben Voss leads the marketing efforts and serves as chief mechanic at Alligator Bay Distillers.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon for a look around and a tour of the facility. Alex welcomed us and spoke of his process and philosophy of making rum at Alligator Bay Distillers.
Starting with molasses from Clewiston — the legendary sugar town near Lake Okeechobee — Alex has perfected his fermentation process with an ideal active dry yeast strain that thrives in the warm humid climate of Southwest Florida. The fermentation process takes seven days and produces a rum mash with an alcohol content of 8%.
The distillation process involves double distillation in a traditional copper pot still to 70% abv, retaining much of the molasses and cane flavors in his distillate.
The aging room is completely filled with resting oak barrels. The aroma of rum and wood is enticing — and certainly whets the appetite for the next stop on the tour — the tasting room.
Indeed, the clear rum retains a true flavor of cane and serves as the base for the spiced rum. The Sun Gold rum is lightly aged and the addition of Black Mangrove honey offers a nice finish. The Saba Treasure offers a subtle hint of fennel.
The rum that brings home the most awards is the chocolate-infused Dark Rum. This boutique specialty took home a gold award in the 2017 RumXP international tasting competition at Rum Renaissance Festival.
With a motto of “cane to bottle,” the small batch rums made by Alex Voss at Alligator Bay Distillers are distinguished by his artisan hands-on approach to production.
The distillery is open for tours Monday through Saturday from 11am to 3pm, starting on top of the hour, at 25522 E Marion Ave. Punta Gorda FL, 33950.
For more information about types of rum, see Rob’s Rum Guide tutorials.
To stay informed about news and updates in the world of rum, subscribe to Robs Rum Guide.
View insightful and succinct video rum reviews: Rum Minute YouTube Channel.
Experience the ultimate rum travel adventure: Rum Renaissance Caribbean Cruise.