Can the U.S. Recognize Rum Regulations?

As Caribbean rum gains in popularity and rum enthusiasts push back on the “Rum has no rules” trope, a common refrain is “The United States doesn’t recognize rum’s rules.” It’s been said by well-meaning advocates online and at public events such as Tales of the Cocktail. In fact, I’ve said something along those lines myself, previously.

If you’re a proponent of artisanal rum, striving to improve its reputation among anybody who will listen, it’s easy to shake your virtual fist at the faceless bureaucrats in the U.S. government who seemingly don’t care about the rum regulations of Jamaica and other countries.

That frustration is misplaced.

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Will We Finally Get the Good Stuff in the US? TTB Considers Fixing Bottle Size Problem

Since Prohibition, U.S. Consumers have long gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to getting many of the great spirits made in other countries.

One reason: The antiquated legal restrictions on the allowed size of distilled spirits bottlings. Legally, only the following bottle sizes can be sold in the US:

  • 50 ml
  • 100 ml
  • 200 ml
  • 375 ml
  • 750 ml
  • 1000 ml (1 liter)
  • 1750 ml (1.75 liters)

Want to sell a 250 ml bottle of amazing rum? Too bad. US regulations won’t let you.

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The Cocktail Wonk Top Ten Stories of 2016

While 2016 was a year many would have gladly skipped, here in the Cocktail Wonk corner of the boozy blogosphere, it’s been gangbusters for great experiences and stories. As I wrote my 2015 roundup post a year ago, I wasn’t altogether convinced that 2016 would be able to top it. Boy, was I wrong!

Over the past twelve months, I’ve written fewer straight-up spirit reviews and cocktail recipes and more long form essays. It’s taken a while to get to that level. The opportunities for unknown stories and fresh takes on topics are there to be found, but it requires waiting for the right contacts and opportunities to fall into place, as they did this year.

What follows is my take on the most important topics I covered this year. It’s an entirely subjective ranking on my part, without regard to actual page visit statistics. Some entries represent a single post that particularly resonated with readers, while others are a collection of posts.  Hyperlinks to the original posts are interspersed in the descriptions below.

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Stalking the TTB: Upcoming U.S. rums from Mount Gay, Barbancourt, St. Lucia Distillers, and more! September to November 2016

With three more months in the rearview mirror, it’s time for another methodic scan of the TTB site for new rum releases–or more accurately, TTB approvals for new releases. The list at the end of this post contains my curated picks for new rums with a good chance of appearing on U.S. shelves and in your local watering holes in the next few months. I’ve previously written about searching the TTB site for recent label approvals; if you’re not familiar with the TTB and/or the approval process, that post is a good place to start before diving in here.

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The Cocktail Wonk Guide to Effective Social Media in the Spirits Industry

At the recent California Rum Festival, I presented a session about my experiences in building a large social media following for the Cocktail Wonk brand, plus observations on what works and doesn’t work for other social media feeds.

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Stalking the TTB: Upcoming U.S. rum releases from Mount Gay, Appleton, Samaroli, and more! July and August 2016

With two more months in the rearview mirror, it’s time for another methodic scan of the TTB site for new rum releases–or more accurately, TTB approvals for new releases. The list at the end of this post contains my curated picks for new rums with a good chance of appearing on U.S. shelves and in your local watering holes later in 2016. I’ve previously written about searching the TTB site for recent label approvals; if you’re not familiar with the TTB and/or the approval process, that post is a good place to start before diving in here.

Continue reading “Stalking the TTB: Upcoming U.S. rum releases from Mount Gay, Appleton, Samaroli, and more! July and August 2016”