Rum is the ultimate global spirit, produced and consumed in countless countries around the world. So as we recover from the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s only fitting that educational rum tasting events make a big comeback in 2022 after a slow recovery in 2021.
JUMP BELOW: See the full schedule of 2022 rum events
At least 17 major rum events are set for this year, beginning with this week’s Miami Rum Congress in Miami Beach. Industry VIPs and rum enthusiasts will gather Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, for seminars, tastings and special events at the Hilton Cabana hotel.
Social media recap: Photos, coverage of Miami Rum Congress 2022 UPDATED
This will be the third live Miami event presented by The Rum Lab in association with global rum ambassador Ian Burrell. The first Miami Rum Congress was held in February 2019, featuring two days of tastings and educational seminars, plus after-parties and related events.
The 2020 festivities featured more of the same, drawing many of the rum and cocktail world’s top names to South Florida on Feb. 7-8, shortly before COVID caused the world to come to a screeching halt. The Rum Lab founder and organizer Federico Hernandez made a deft pivot, hosting popular virtual seminars that continue to attract viewers on the online Zavvy Network.
Hernandez was able to inch back to normalcy with scaled-down, socially distanced versions of some of his live events in 2021. Following The Rum Lab’s gatherings in New York City (August) and San Francisco (September), the return of the world’s most venerable rum events – The UK RumFest (October) and Miami Rum Renaissance Festival (November) – set the stage for a full slate in 2022.
The 2022 Miami Rum Congress was pushed back from its original February dates due to the last COVID surge, but we remain cautiously optimistic about future events. The rebooted Rum Congress certainly gives us cause for optimism with its roster of top spirits experts and a swank new venue.
The beachside Hilton Cabana occupies a prime location just 5 miles from the heart of South Beach. Built in 2014, the MiMo style 10-story hotel features décor reminiscent of the golden age of 1950s Miami. It includes a stylish ballroom and meeting space in addition to its scenic ocean views.
The lineup of guest speakers includes more than 20 experts representing many of today’s top rum brands as well as writers and rum advocates from around the world. They include: Kiowa Bryan (Spiribam), Alexandre Gabriel (Maison Ferrand), Karen Hoskin (Montanya Distillers), Ben Jones (Saint Lucia Distillers), Paul McFadyen (Plantation Rum), Shannon Mustipher (consultant/educator/author), Matt Pietrek (Cocktail Wonk blogger and author), and Roberto Serrallés (Destillería Serrallés).
Among the more interesting seminars on the Friday agenda are “Two Decades of Rum – A Timeline of Rum’s Rise” (11:30 a.m.), “Building and Maintaining A Global Rum Brand” (12:30 p.m.), “Thoughts and Predictions on Rum’s Evolution” (3 p.m.), and “Sustainability Trends and Why They Matter” (4 p.m.).
Saturday is reserved for the VIP Grand Tasting Experience, featuring separate sessions for industry professionals and the general public. Participating brands include Angostura, Appleton, Barcelo, Bonampak, Bounty, Caliche, Chairman’s Reserve, Clement, Coconut Cartel, Copalli, Deadhead, Diplomatico, Don Papa, Don Q, El Dorado, English Harbor, Equiano, Flor de Cana, Holmes Cay, Long Pond, Montanya, Monymusk, Mount Gay, Plantation, Ron Centenario, Rhum J.M., Rum-Bar, Saint James, Smith & Cross, Tanduay, Thrasher’s, Worthy Park, and Wray & Nephew.
Pre-parties were scheduled for Thursday at two of South Florida’s top cocktail bars, The Broken Shaker and Esotico Miami. Saturday’s after-party will be hosted by Red Rooster Overtown. Tickets for Friday and/or Saturday’s events at the Hilton Cabana range from $45 to $180. Miami Rum Congress is urging all participants and guests to adhere to its COVID health and safety measures, including mandatory masking (except when drinking and eating), recommended vaccinations, and social distancing.
London-based Burrell (who established The UK RumFest in 2006) and Hernandez (a native of Puerto Rico who launched The Rum Lab in 2007) are two of the most active supporters of rum education in the world today. In addition to his seven live events, Hernandez hosts many virtual seminars and interviews on the Zavvy website. Past guests include such notable rum and cocktail experts as Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, Dave Broom, Maggie Campbell, and Joy Spence . You can find an archive of more than 200 live streams here.
“I’m extremely excited for this event as Miami is a key market that joins both Anglo-Saxon and Latinos to enjoy premium rum in one place,” Hernandez said in a recent article. “The Miami Rum Congress is probably the most important rum event in the Americas, and I can’t wait to see what 2022 brings us.”
Ian Burrell, founder of The UK RumFest and self-appointed global rum ambassador, introduces himself at the inaugural Miami Rum Congress in February 2019. (Atomic Grog photo)
The charismatic Burrell is a former rap artist and professional basketball player who gravitated toward the spirits industry as a bartender and then brand ambassador. He fashioned himself a career as the world’s only ambassador of an entire category, his beloved rum. With his folksy Jamaican roots and passion for public speaking, Burrell has become one of rum’s biggest boosters as an in-demand “edu-tainer.”
Atomic Grog interview: Take 5 with Ian Burrell (2014)
He has conducted classes and seminars, sipped cocktails and judged competitions on all seven continents, won numerous awards and accolades, and founded the world’s first international rum festival (The UK RumFest). He’s a seven-time nominee and 2018 winner of the International Brand Ambassador of the Year at the prestigious Spirited Awards, held annually during Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.
Burrell is also a partner in Equiano Rum, a groundbreaking new brand that pays tribute to writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, whose journey into slavery took him from Africa to the Caribbean and beyond. The products under the Equiano banner are blends of rums from Africa and Barbados, produced by the Foursquare Distillery. A percentage of profits from every bottle is donated to Anti-Slavery International.
You can taste and learn more about Equiano Rum on Monday, March 14, when Burrell hosts a seminar at The Regent Cocktail Club on Miami Beach. “The Tale of Two Rum Islands” is a 90-minute master class that will include the history of rum in Africa and the Caribbean, a tasting session, and insights into the making of Equiano and its philanthropic endeavours.
Miami Rum Congress
* Official website | Instagram | Facebook
The Rum Lab
* Official website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
* Official website | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
* Facebook: Rum Ambassador page | Personal page
* UK RumFest: Official website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
SOCIAL MEDIA RECAP
2022 RUM EVENTS CALENDAR
Dates subject to change. Check the official sites and our continuously updated Tiki events calendar.
March 11-12 – Miami Rum Congress in Miami Beach.
April 2-4 – Rhum Fest Paris.
April 30 – Chicago Rum Festival.
May 7 – Oslo Rum Festival.
May 8-10 – The Rum Day in Milan, Italy.
May 14 – Brisbane Rum Revolution in Australia.
May 20-21 – Gin & Rum Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland.
May 21 – Czech RumFest in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
May 28 – Taste of Rum festival in Puerto Rico.
June 14-17 – Bonaire Rum Week
June 18 – Manchester Rum Festival in the UK.
June 18 – New York Rum Festival & Congress in New York City.
June 25-26 – Bordeaux Rum Festival in France.
July 22-23 – Rum Show in London.
Aug. 27-28 – German Rum Festival in Berlin.
Sept. 2 – Seattle Rum Festival.
Sept. 2-3 – Nordic Rum Festival in Copenhagen.
Sept. 4 – San Francisco Rum Festival & Congress.
Sept. 9 – Los Angeles Rum Festival & Congress
Oct. 7-8 – Whisky & Rum Festival in Holland.
Oct. 8-9 – Salon du Rhum in Belgium.
Oct. 16-17 – The UK RumFest in London.
Oct. 27-30 – Barbados Food & Rum Festival.
Oct. 31-Nov. 5 – The Barbados Rum Experience
Nov. 1-6 – St Barth Rum Festival and Caribbean Rum Awards
Nov. 4-5 – Danish Rum and Whisky Festival in Denmark.
Nov. 12-13 – Miami Rum Renaissance Festival in Coral Gables.
March 23 – Industry Rum Rebels with Martyna Halas and Rene van Hoven.
* More Zavvy.co virtual events
May 22 – Jamaica Rum Festival.
MORE ON THE ATOMIC GROG
UPDATES: The Tiki Times: Exclusive events guide
Check the calendar for the latest upcoming live and virtual events, updated through 2022.
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