“Sugar is part of our cultural heritage,” said Trey Litle, president of Louisiana Spirits just as we began a tour of the new 18,000-square-foot rum distillery located in the Southwest Louisiana town of Lacassine, about 50 miles west of Lafayette.
Litle and two other founders, his brother Trey Litel and Skip Cortese, conceived of their own rum distillery in 2011 while discussing how Louisiana is full of sugar cane fields and the need for a good quality, homegrown rum. The goal isn’t just to manufacture Bayou Rum. According to Litle Louisiana Spirits “wants to be America’s rum.”
Local Sugar and Spice Makes it Extra Nice
After tasting the two flavors of Bayou Rum the distillery is producing, Silver and Spiced, I’d say they have a good shot of achieving their goal of being America’s rum. Both rums have a hint of vanilla essence and are smooth. They don’t have a harsh, fiery after bite characteristic of some rums but the Spiced has a nice zip. Plus, they have a cool, retro-fab label featuring an alligator.
Raw, unprocessed sugar is sourced from M.A. Patout & Son, the oldest sugar mill still operating in the US, and combined with locally-sourced molasses and filtered water from the nearby aquifer to make the Bayou Rum. What’s the key making Louisiana Spirits’ Spiced Rum spicy?
“A little Louisiana goodness,” Litle told me.
The distillery tour walks visitors through the process of making rum beginning with how sugar is extracted from sugar cane through the bottling and boxing process. Four hundred cases are bottled during each six-hour shift and as demand grows I imagine this craft distillery will be upping that number.
As of publication time, Bayou Rum is shipped within the state of Louisiana with plans to distribute beyond state lines. Silver and Spiced flavors are available and someday down the road the rum aging in oak barrels will debut as something real special.
Nuts & Bolts
Louisiana Spirits has been in full-gear since July 2013. The gift shop and distillery opened to the public in early October and an 109-year-old historic farmhouse moved from Iowa, La. (Pronounced I-owe-a) is being renovated. I purchased and packed in my suitcase a small bottle of Spiced Rum and a pouch of Silver Rum (makes it easier to pack in a suitcase especially since it’s lighter and more flexible than a glass bottle.) A tasting room is on site so you can decide whether you prefer Silver or Spiced. The facility is located off of I-10 in Southwest Louisiana.
It’s worth a stop to taste the local flavor and catch the spirit of local entrepreneurs shaping the future of Louisiana’s tourism and economics.
20909 Frontage Rd.
Lacassine, LA 70650