The 2018 edition of the California Rum Festival saw the four-year old-event hitting its stride. Held in the Soma Arts building for the third year running, many of the prior year’s small kinks were absent. People lined up around the block to get in, good rum flowed, and the international rum family joyously celebrated together–before, during, and after.
Most of the usual local rum heavyweights were present –Martin and Rebecca Cate of Smuggler’s Cove had a booth selling tots of rare rum for charity. Also omnipresent was Josh Miller from Inu A Kena, Suzanne Long of Rum Academy, and Dave Russell of the seminal rum blog Rum Gallery.
My hometown of Seattle was well represented – Kate Perry (ex-Rumba) helmed the very-popular La Maison & Velier booth, Nick Feris repping Rum Fire, and of course, the festival organizer, Federico Hernandez of The Rum Lab.
You know a festival’s doing well when it draws a big international crowd of exhibitors and speakers. Among the highlights, Ian “Rum Ambassador” Burrell, Foursquare Distillery’s master distiller Richard Seale, Benoit Bail and Jerry Gitany of the Agricole Tour, and Alexander “Zan” Kong of Worthy Park Estate.
I won’t even attempt to describe the many seminars that went on throughout the day. I was so busy chatting with friends new and old that I didn’t make it to any except for a brief few moments at the beginning of Kate Perry’s talk. Normally I won’t miss a rum talk, but with so many great people to chat with, I take it as a sign the show is firing on all cylinders. Apologies for anybody I forgot to mention! I can’t wait to return for the fifth anniversary 2019 California Rum Festival next year!