In my last few posts about the independents of the liquor world, I have frequently mentioned a dinner where, to put it melodramatically, various industry folk were discussing the important issues of our times. Sitting next to me at the table that evening was the entrepreneurial Eric Seed, founder of Haus Alpenz, and importer of all spirits strange and exotic. Maybe you're heard of Dolin vermouth, the now-ubiquitous French concoction lining the shelves of every decent bar? That's Eric. How about Hayman's Old Tom Gin, John Taylor Falernum, Batavia Arrack, or Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum? Take a glance at the bar menu for Bourbon & Branch, the Rickhouse, Heaven's Dog, Smuggler's Cove, and Bar Agricole (only the five best bars in the Bay Area) and you'll find that just about every drink has one of Eric's imported ingredients built in.
Having never met Eric previously, I was excited to spend an evening chatting away and picking his brain about future plans. Needless to say, his current projects are fascinating and have me eagerly awaiting their release date. You may have read about one of these most recently as it will prove to be quite historic. Eric managed to get his hands one of the rarest and most storied spirits of all time: the Royal Navy rum stocks. The story behind this rum is so fascinating that I'm not going to even try and do it justice, but you can read about it here (and I suggest you do). Basically, it's the rum that used to be rationed out to the royal seamen, as was tradition for hundreds of years. As if learning about this rum wasn't exciting enough, Eric pulled out a flask and poured me a wee dram. These things are going to go for $1000+ a bottle, so I didn't take this opportunity lightly. It wasn't at all what I expected, but it was fascinating. Most rum from back then was never sweetened like Ron Zacapa or El Dorado are today, so this is an entirely different style and the ulitmate collectors item.
Check out Eric's portfolio and read about his wonderous supplies of booze. It's as fun as liquor gets.