Located in the historic Ybor City neighborhood, a visit to Tampa Bay Rum Company is a delight, both for the rustic, festive atmosphere and to taste some fine rum samples. Your first stop is the appropriately decorated Buccaneer Bar, where proprietor Sam Meyers and master distiller Brad Bunn welcome visitors to their charming craft distillery.
The Rum Distillery Tour
The tour continues behind the scenes, with a walk through the barreling area into an immaculate production space where we find large fermenting tanks and their big copper pot still with rectifying columns.
Tampa Bay Rum Company uses top-grade molasses from Okeelanta Sugar Mills in South Florida for their seven day fermentation. Brad specifies different types of yeast for each fermentation at different temperatures to achieve the proper variations. The reserve rum is distilled at a lower proof for a slightly heavier bodied distillate.
Award Winning Rum
Brad has earned a reputation as a masterful rum maker. His premium Gasparilla Reserve — aged exclusively in 57 liter Maple Syrup Rye Whiskey Barrels — won Best In Class Craft Rum in the 2020 American Distillers Institute competition.
The 80 proof spiced rum ($29.99) made with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, clove and allspice is delicious. The rums that sell best in the tasting room are Coconut, followed by Scurvy Lime ($29.99) which really captures the essence of the local Florida citrus crop. The 80 proof white rum ($27.99) is a delightful expression which shows off Brad’s rum-making skills. A newer edition is a Butterscotch ($29.99), based on the spiced rum base with the addition of two types of butterscotch extract to emulate the taste profile of butterscotch candy.
The award-winning Gasparilla Reserve aged rum ($39.95) bottled at 92% is available only at the distillery.
Visit Tampa Bay Rum Company
Drop in to the distillery and tasting room for tours ($12 includes Gaspar’s insignia glass) and rum tastings from 2 to 6pm, Wednesday through Saturday, or Sunday from noon to 4pm at 2102 East 4th Avenue, Tampa, FL 33605. No reservations are required.
Call 813-284-5485 or send an email to: [email protected]
Consumers can purchase Tampa Bay Rum Company’s Gaspar Rums direct from the distillery or at select ABC Liquors, Total wine and other liquors stores in the Tampa Bay area. They also have online distribution through B21.
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