Our Spurgeon's Barrel Aged Rum is about to embark on an adventure in travel. For months this spirit has only been available in our tasting room in downtown Opelika, Alabama, in one very good bar in Montgomery, Alabama (LeRoy) and a private package store in Auburn, Alabama (Charred Oak). But now Spurgeon is posed to meet the public outside Alabama. Starting next week Spurgeon will be traveling to Franklin, Tennessee and will make his debut in stores around the Nashville area.
Now let me back up a bit and talk about Spurgeon and the rum that carries his name.
John Spurgeon Hammack, or Spurge as he was called by his friends, was a man
with humble beginnings.
Born and raised with his brother Archie in a one room cabin, Spurge went on to be a successful entrepreneur, hunter, fisherman and first class pool player. Walking down the street in 1960's Crocker, Missouri it was not unusual to hear Spurge reeking havoc on an opponent in Shaky Brown’s downtown pool hall. Spurge was indeed a fearsome pool player. His tactic for victory was what one might call friendly intimidation. During the game he would dish out a diatribe of four letter words that had the effect of conjuring up a mini nervous breakdown in his opponent right there at the side of the pool table. One day Spurge was playing Shaky, the pool hall owner, a game of snooker, his favorite pool game. He started on Shaky and soon Shaky was shaking so hard he couldn’t hold the pool cue straight, not deterred Spurge kept up his winning strategy until Shaky literally left his place of business screaming all the way to his house a few blocks away. But in spite of all his ornery pool tactics people loved Spurge. He was a large man, but his large stature was dwarfed by his kind heart. Somehow we think Spurge would be proud to be the name sake of a spirit that is among the world’s top four spirits. No doubt the spirit of Spurge is there in the rum that carries his name. A spirit that is bold, feisty, gentle and kind all at the same time.
Now why has it taken so long the for our Spurgeon's Rum to grace the greater public? Well, our John's Alabama Single Malt Whiskey is to blame. You see we use whiskey barrels to age Spurgeon so Spurge's spirit had to wait until enough of our whiskey grew up providing barrel space for the correct amount of Spurgeon's Rum to meet market demand.
Now the obvious question. Why did you not fisrt launch Spurgeon's Rum to greater Alabama? Because Alabama ABC has a rather lengthy process to get a product into their retail stores. While Spurgeon's has an Alabama ABC wholesale code, allowing the spirit to be sold through the Alabama system via special orders, it does not possess a retail code which would put it on Alabama ABC Stores shelves. Tennessee on the other hand is a 3 tier system state which leaves distribution up to private wholesalers that can simply order the product and sell it to retailers in Tennessee. Super simple. So rather than sitting on a pot load of Spurgeon's Rum until the wheels of government move, we elected to sell what we have made, allowing us to make more rum.
So if you want to taste Spurgeon's Barrel Aged Rum you have three options.
1. Come to Opelika, Alabama, a lovely city by the way, and taste and/or buy a bottle from our distillery then have dinner at one of our amazing restaurants.
2. Drop in to LeRoy Lounge in the Old Coverdale section of Montgomery, Alabama for a dram or venture over to Auburn and buy a bottle or two from Charred Oak.
3. Take a trip to music city, buy a bottle and sing till your hearts content. Who knows with Spurgeon's spirit helping out you might just get discovered.
For a really happy ending to this blog post. We were just notified Spurgeon's Barrel Aged Rum has won a Silver Medal in the New York International Spirit Competition. Spurge would be proud!