Following three days of judging, I was ready to enjoy the casual atmosphere of the Miami Rum Renaissance festival floor. The first two days of the festival are designated for trade industry professionals which meant much smaller crowds. The open hall allowed attendees to freely move from booth to booth meeting with representatives discussing all aspects of the rum trade. I spoke with producers about product development, production methods, marketing plans, etc. I also spent time taking photos, socializing with old and new friends, and sampling a number of enjoyable rums.
In addition to the rum tastings offered on the trade floor, the festival organizers organized four seminars for Day 1 attendees. The presentations offered included a discussion on Navy rums, a history of a little known spirit from Haiti called Clairin, the diverse rum portfolio from Mezan, and guidance on importing and distribution within the United States. I attended the Clairin seminar and found it quite interesting. As we sampled a number of Clairin expressions, attendees learned about the sugarcane spirits Haitian history and its place in Haitian religious culture.
As the festivals first day ended, the RumXPs, Consumer Jurists, and guests loaded onto a charter bus for The Broken Shaker. Louisiana’s Bayou Rum arranged for a full evening of cocktails and appetizers at the Miami Beach hotspot. The Broken Shaker has a highly rated cocktail program which, when combined with nearly perfect weather, provided a lovely evening spent with my fellow RumXPs. Now on to Day 2!