Tell us about your job at Copal Tree Distillery. I’m the President and Master Distiller at Copal Tree distillery. The main focus of my job is providing technical expertise, the resources and inspirational leadership to our team so they can continue making our award-winning organic rums. During harvest and distillation, I’m constantly checking on the quality of the sugar cane and its juice, tasting the quality of the cane wine as it’s fermenting and approve the rum before it’s sent to storage. I also periodically test our aged stock to see how it’s developing, select barrels for bottling, develop new products and am the final arbiter of quality in the bottles as they leave the distillery. It’s the best job in the world.
What drew you to making rum? I’ve always liked rum, but what drew me here to Belize was not just about making rum. Coming to help build Copal Tree Distillery was about being able to create a rum that uses organic sugar cane juice. Not much rum in the world is made with sugar cane juice and even less is made organically. I wanted to be part of that. It isn’t very often that a distiller gets the chance to fashion a completely new spirit, and doing that with the organic sugar cane that we grow onsite is a once in a lifetime chance.
What did you do before joining Copalli? A number of different things. In the years before I joined Copal Tree Distillery, I ran my own craft distillery in NY. Before that, I was in the financial services and investment management business and before that I was an officer in the Marine Corps.
What are the challenges of producing a sustainable rum? Commitment. The dedication not to take short cuts and not take the easy route.
What does the future hold for Copalli Rum? The marketplace will ultimately determine that, but we’ll remain true to our path toward sustainability while growing sales of our current rums and developing some new innovative products.
Favorite way to drink Copalli? I like our rums many ways depending upon my mood or who is making the drinks, but my go to cocktail is a classic daiquiri.