A Brief Rum Down

The northeast has a long history with rum, taste for the liquid started to develop earlier on than it had with whiskey. Before the Declaration of Independence was Hancocked, rum had already wet the culture of the American colonies. Mid 17th century distillers used molasses purchased from ships up from sugar producing islands in the Caribbean. They found it was cheaper to produce locally when compared to the finer, ready to consume island rum that arrived in wooden casks. Eventually, the days of cheap rum came to an end when British taxation led to higher prices and the subsequent Revolution led to a scarcity––and the eventual adoption of whiskey.

Rum, however, still managed to float its way up to New York from the Caribbean. Prohibition attracted more of the good stuff. Like those that came before them, rum-runners saw opportunity in the demand and opened up the old trade routes from the islands. Known as the Rum Line, a strings of boats waiting off the coast acted as a floating market on the other side of the U.S. maritime border. Product was flipped over to other ships that ran in and out of foggy harbor towns like Greenport.

After a bit of a popularity hiatus, rum is finally back in town, production nodding to the original methods that made the old rums enjoyed by those who came before us.


Minnick, Fred (2017) Rum Curious. Voyageur Press

Faria, J. B., Loyola, E., López, M. G., & Dufour, J. P. (2003). Rum. In A. G. Lea, & J. R. Piggott (Eds.), Fermented Beverage Production (pages 263-265). New York: Springer US.

Dean