Over the next two weeks we're going to unleash four new K&L exclusive rums at a variety of different price points (all under $100 though) that I hope will do two things:
1) have serious rum nerds creaming their pants
2) introduce casual drinkers to a more flavorful, less-adulterated, pure style of pot distilled molasses without breaking the bank
Rum is a tough category to market and curate because there are so many different styles of it! There's sweetened rum, unsweetened rum, aged rum, unaged rum, column still rum, pot still rum, blended rum, agricole rum, etc. For every serious customer who buys a bottle of weird, expensive, super-nerdy rum and asks us to expand our selection, there are ten other guys who buy the same bottle by mistake, hate it, and bring it back into the store to yell at us for having sold them such a terrible thing. That's the retail reality of selling rum: there's zero consensus on what people like, so you can't go too far in any one direction. You carry too much Zacapa or Zaya, and the Tiki heads get frustrated. You carry too much ester-driven funk and the casual sippers freak the fuck out. It's not an easy balance and it's not like we're selling tons of this stuff either, so it's a lot of work for little reward. Rum is still an incredibly niche market and most of the profit comes from bulk production, not from a connoisseur-driven boutique market like we see with single malt and Bourbon. Despite our best efforts, we haven't seen much of an increase in activity here at K&L even with the rise of neo-Tiki culture.
But.....I love rum, so I have to keep trying to find our voice. When one selection doesn't work out, we'll go back to the drawing board. This time I around I did try something we'd never done previously: I got clever with the math. That's going to help, I think. It's easier to take a chance on something when the price is more inline with what you're used to seeing for standard rum selections. Rum casks are expensive, no matter where you buy them from, so you have to find clever ways of manipulating the prices if you're going to be successful. I've got two new single cask Jamaican rums for fifty bucks that you can sip, but at the same time feel comfortable mixing with. I also secured an ultra mature Jamaican pot still expression, then lowered the price to about fifty dollars under where it should be (don't ask how). People looking for a high-end, sippable selection with interesting and unique flavors should be thrilled. Those who still feel that Jamaican rums are too intense or wacky for their taste buds will be able to sip on our latest Cuban....I mean....Caribbean Faultline edition instead, and I doubled the order this time around so we wouldn't sell out before anyone could taste a bottle.
We've got a whole 'lotta Scotch to show you over the next month, but I wanted rum drinkers to know we weren't ignoring them. We'll have our most exciting rum shipment yet in stock by next week. Stay tuned!