“This is Christmas in a cup,” The Man Who Numbers said while pouring a sample of Spiced Rum in the tasting rum. I was looking for things to do in Sarasota one weekend and a free tour of Siesta Key Rum Distillery popped up on my radar.
For years I’ve wanted to tour the distillery, and at the least, sample the rum. Why? I’ve heard about the awards its earned over the years. Perhaps the biggest nod is Siesta Key Spiced Rum landed in Disney World. Specifically, in an adult version of the famous and delicious pineapple Dole Whip frozen dessert. It was introduced during the 2013 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival at the Pineapple Promenade.
Free Tour of Siesta Key Rum Distillery
The free tour of the Siesta Key Rum Distillery began at 11 a.m. on a Saturday and I arrived around 10:45 a.m. for a complimentary tasting. Like a wine tasting, this started with the lightest rum first, which is Silver, Toasted Coconut, Spiced, and Coffee. Each were smooth and have their own distinct flavor. And indeed, the Spiced rum is a flavorful, smooth blend of spices reminiscent of Christmas.
Toasted Coconut is my favorite because it tastes like a soft, sweet coconut macaroon. I learned during the tour, the distillery uses natural ingredients in their rums. They use toasted coconut and a local farmer uses the spent flakes as livestock feed. A fun connection to Sarasota’s aquatic sports is device used for stirring the seven spices for the Spiced Rum. It’s a kayak paddle! Cold pressed coffee and the Silver rum result in the Coffee rum.
The Siesta Key Rum Distillery tour is more of a lecture than a tour. Participants sit at high-top tables and listen to the presenters. During my tour, Kevin was the guide and told the story of the distillery. It began in 2007 when rum making was a hobby for Founder, CEO and Head Distiller Troy Roberts. Beginning in 2010, the distillery earned its first award for its Silver rum. And as they say, the rest is history with more awards, more flavors, and more of a customer base.
Learn the Art of Distilling and Bottling
Wyatt Roberts, Lead Distiller, and yes, son of the founder, walks participants through the distilling process. He basically grew up in the business. Wyatt explained how they use Kentucky bourbon barrels to age reserved rum. The distillery also partners with local craft beer brewers, like Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, to age rum in barrels that held beer. In turn, beer ages in barrels that contained rum.
While the process of distilling rum is fascinating, so is the bottling process. The tour walks through the bottling process step by step which includes hand corking each bottle. On a very good day, a team of six employees bottled about 5,600 bottles of rum! Twice a week the team bottles rum and before heading off to the market, The Man Who Numbers hand writes the batch number on each label. His name is Patrick Rohrer. Over the years, he’s probably hand written numbers on hundreds of thousands of bottles!
Nuts & Bolts About Siesta Key Rum Distillery
The tour is about 45 – 60 minutes long. Before leaving, I visited the tasting room again to grab a couple of bottles of rum (Toasted Coconut and Silver) and decadent slice of rum cake baked by A Taste of Germany Bakery. They use Siesta Key Rum for the cake slices sold at the distillery. Because of the alcohol content, I waited until I got home before enjoying my scrumptious slice.
Rum is sold in the tasting room and distributed throughout Florida and other parts of the country in Total Wine and More stores. They also have distribution in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Although they cannot ship directly to customers, some retailers will sell and ship Siesta Key Rum to most states (there are some states that do not permit the shipment of alcohol). These retail websites include UniversalFWS.com and CaskCartel.com.
Now that I’m spending more time at home in Southwest Florida, touring the Siesta Key Rum Distillery is one of the fun and free things to do in Sarasota. The experience and rum was a nice way to spend an afternoon, meet new people, and learn something new. If you’re 21 and older, give it a try!
Siesta Key Rum Distillery
2212 Industrial Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34243
The tasting room and gift shop is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m. The distillery’s website includes several rum recipes in case you’re not sure what to do with your rum. These recipes have inspirational names like Siesta Key Rumsicle, Siesta Key Lime Pie, and Pumpkin Spiced Rum Coffee Creamer.