Gary Nelthropp

Gary Nelthropp - President / CEO Cruzan Rum DistilleryA few words with Gary Nelthropp, President/CEO Cruzan Rum Distillery

ITM: Gary, thanks for talking with us. Every time I taste these rums I’m more impressed with the pureness of the product. Can you give us a brief description of the method you use to distill Cruzan to retain less fusil oils and adulterants?

GN: My family has always focused on producing the cleanest rums on the market, and our equipment is designed specifically to meet these standards. We use a five-column distillation process to remove unwanted impurities from the rum. Basically, the rum circulates through the columns hundreds of times to remove the different impurities/congeners before being stored away in handcrafted oak barrels to age. As a result of this process, our rum contains some of the lowest levels of fusel oils in the industry—fusel oils are the alcohols that give many mainstream rums a harsh bite.

As an additional step to ensure our rum is of the highest quality, each morning I make a full inspection of the operation, ending with a ritual called “the triangle.” In the triangle, a panel of three tasters sample the spirit produced that day to see if it meets Cruzan standards. If it receives unanimous approval, it is ready to join the family of Cruzan Rums.

ITM: I gave the Cruzan aged gold rum my Editors Choice in the spring rum tasting last year; the light is outstanding as well. Where do these products fit into a national beverage program?

GN: Cruzan Light and Cruzan Dark play essential roles in everything that we do. Both offerings are especially mixable and work so well in traditional rum cocktails. And our consumers are passionate about both.

Cruzan Light has a dry, clean taste with vanilla overtones and a very full body, and is often enjoyed on the rocks, with fresh fruit juices or as the base for mojitos and daiquiris. Cruzan Dark has rich color, texture and flavor and is an exceptionally clean, medium-bodied rum.

ITM: Cruzan 9 is a fairly new product for you. What should our operators know about it to entice them to use it on the back-bar and in a signature drink?

GN: Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum is the most recent success story for the Cruzan family. Cruzan 9 combines a unique blend of nine spices – based on a recipe from centuries ago – with Cruzan’s aged rum. This combination creates a more complex spiced rum, making it perfect to drink neat, on the rocks or in a spiced rum and cola. Of course, its unique flavor profile makes it a versatile base for signature drinks that really stand out.

We are also very proud of Cruzan 9’s presentation: the bottle was designed both to capture Cruzan’s heritage and to underscore the 9 difference. We think it makes a great addition to any back-bar!

ITM: Cruzan Single Barrel is a unique product and should be on every back-bar with a good rum selection. Can you give the readers a little insight on it?

GN: Cruzan Single Barrel is the world’s first single barrel rum and one of the most awarded super premium rums across the globe. It’s a smooth, mellow, medium-to-full bodied rum with a deep copper color and remarkable complexity of flavors.

The blend is aged a second time in brand-new American oak barrels and aged for a total of 4-12 years. Sip and savor this rum neat or on the rocks – no mixer needed.