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Drum Circle Distilling debuts new tasting room

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drum cricle

Troy Roberts, founder and CEO of Drum Circle Distilling, inside the Sarasota based distillery where Siesta Key Rum is produced. (Herald-Tribune staff photo by Elaine Litherland)

For rum snobs eagerly anticipating the opportunity to taste Drum Circle Distilling’s special “distiller’s reserve,” the wait is nearly over.

Samples of the small-batch beverage will be offered for free Saturday, during Drum Circle Distilling’s Grand Opening.
Of course there will be copious amounts of the firm’s award-winning white, gold and spiced rum.

Rum guru Troy Roberts, who founded Drum Circle Distilling in 2007 and serves as the firm’s CEO and head distiller, has been prepping his tasting room and gift shop for the past few months – ever since the State of Florida made it legal for him to have a tasting room and sell bottles to the public.

“If you look at the background of selling spirits, the laws we function under go back to prohibition. Over time, we’ve changed the laws for wineries and breweries, but not distilleries,” Roberts said. “We could only sell to distributors, who sold to bars, liquor stores and restaurants. We could never sell directly to consumers, which was a bit frustrating. People would take a tour, want to buy a bottle and we couldn’t sell it to them. Thankfully, this has all changed.”

The Grand Opening’s main event is the ribbon cutting ceremony - scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The guest of honor will be Rep. Greg Steube, who Roberts said was instrumental in passing the legislation that allowed him to build his tasting room.

“He was one of the main sponsors. He got it through and got it passed. Without his help, it wouldn’t have happened,” Roberts said. “The legislation is not perfect, but it’s a huge step forward and allows us to sell some bottles to the public. It’s created at least one job in our tasting room. More importantly it’s allowed us to do special releases – the distiller’s reserve – which are too small a batch for distributors.”

With the help of his father, Roberts is ready for business.

“My dad is a retired pilot and woodworker. He built us a nice bar out of cedar, with a cypress top,” Robert said.

His grand opening will have live “tropical” music from noon to 4 p.m., and samples of ice cream made with Siesta Key Spiced rum, and other rum-based snacks.

“There will be samples of Siesta Key rum available all day long, served in free Siesta Key Rum shot glasses until they run out,” Roberts said.

Critics outside of the Sun Coast are buzzing about Drum Circle Distilling.

Their Siesta Key White Rum won the gold medal – Best in Class – at the 2011 RumXP International Tasting Competition in Miami.

The Siesta Key Spiced Rum took the same award a year later.

However, the distiller’s reserve will likely be the star of the Grand Opening next month.

Roberts bleeds a little spiced rum off each batch and adds it to five-gallon charred-oak casks – a process similar to the Spanish “Solera” method of blending Sherry of different vintages in one cask.

The smaller casks age their contents more efficiently, quicker than a larger barrel.

The result is a smooth, rich elixir that defies description as a “spiced rum.”

It’s definitely a sipping rum, meant to be decanted neat and savored.

 

 

Last modified: November 4, 2013
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