Wicked Dolphin Named Best Craft Rum Distillery!

Allegheny Distilling, Cannon Beach Distillery, Wiggly Bridge Distillery and Malahat Spirits also winners

Rum was first distilled on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean during the seventeenth centuries, and since it was originally made from molasses, the byproduct of sugar refining, it was inexpensive to produce. The first rum distillery in America opened on Staten Island in 1664, and the popularity of the spirit grew throughout the Colonial period and through the Revolution until a British tax on molasses from the British Caribbean led to a decline in popularity.

  • Journeyman Distillery
    Three Oaks, Mich.

    While Journeyman Distillery was born out of a love of whiskey, their rums truly shine. Road's End organic rum starts with 100-percent blackstrap molasses to give it a slight sweetness and complex, spicy finish. Road's End organic aged rum spends 12 months in Featherbone Bourbon barrels, lending it hints of oak, smoke and sweetness.
    Photo courtesy of Journeyman Distillery

  • Privateer Rum
    Ipswich, Mass.

    Privateer Rums start with a long and cool fermentation, followed by aging in oak barrels and cask-finished in used whiskey and brandy barrels. Since each barrel has its own flavor profile, so does each batch of Privateer Amber Rum. The distillery also crafts a Silver Reserve rum with a rich and bittersweet flavor.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Louisiana Spirits
    Lacassine, La.

    Louisiana has a long history of sugar production – a history celebrated in the distilling facility of Louisiana Spirits. Bayou Rums are distilled in a copper pot still using natural, unrefined Louisiana cane sugar and molasses. Bayou Select gets rested in American oak, while Bayou Satsuma Rum is flavored with Louisiana-grown satsuma juice. Louisiana Spirits also crafts a silver and a spiced rum.
    Photo courtesy of Louisiana Spirits / Facebook

  • Richland Rum Distillery
    Richland, Ga.

    Richland Rum Distillery uses only two ingredients in crafting its fine spirits: pure, unrefined cane sugar syrup and natural water. That's it. Single Estate Old Georgia Rum starts by distilling pure cane juice, then aging the rum in new American white oak barrels for at least 32 months. Sugar cane comes from the proprietor's own estate, and the water is pulled from the Georgia aquifer.
    Photo courtesy of Richland Rum Distillery

  • Skip Rock Distillers
    Snohomish, Wash.

    Skip Rock Distillers, founded in 2009 by a pair of Snohomish natives, hand-crafts a line of Belle Rose Rums made from Louisiana turbinado cane sugar. Belle Rose Light Rum is aged in vintage white wine barrels for a soft-bodied spirit with hints of vanilla and butterscotch. The Amber Rum spends time in used whiskey barrels to add complexity, while the Double Barrel Rum starts in bourbon barrels and finishes in French oak red wine barrels.
    Photo courtesy of Skip Rock Distillers

  • Malahat Spirits
    San Diego

    Handmade in San Diego in small batches, Malahat Spirits rums are named after the five-masted schooner that once delivered spirits to Southern California during prohibition. Multiple types of molasses go into the four rum varieties, including a silver rum, spiced rum, ginger rum and black tea rum.
    Photo courtesy of Malahat Spirits

  • Wiggly Bridge Distillery
    York, Maine

    The small-batch rums from Wiggly Bridge Distillery in Maine are distilled in a homemade 60-gallon copper pot still. Two rums are made from scratch on-site, a small barrel-aged rum and a white rum.
    Photo courtesy of Wiggly Bridge Distillery

  • Cannon Beach Distillery
    Cannon Beach, Ore.

    Every spirit from Cannon Beach Distillery in Oregon is fermented, distilled and bottled on-site with no artificial colors or flavors and minimal filtering. Dorymen's Rum, a clear spirit, is distilled from evaporated cane juice sugar for a clean and creamy mouth-feel. Don Shanks Amber Rum is fermented from blackstrap molasses, giving it hints of butterscotch and caramel, and aged in charred American white oak for a smoky, woody complexity.
    Photo courtesy of Cannon Beach Distillery

  • Allegheny Distilling
    Pittsburgh

    Maggie's Farm Rum, crafted by Allegheny Distilling in Pittsburgh, was one of the first producers of craft rum in the state since prohibition. Rums are made from scratch in a Spanish copper potstill. The White Rum starts with raw turbinado sugar rather than molasses, while the spiced rum is infused with eight spices. The distillery also makes aged and unaged Queen's Share, made from redistilling a collection of end-running.
    Photo courtesy of Allegheny Distilling

  • Wicked Dolphin
    Cape Coral, Fla.

    Founded in 2012, Wicked Dolphin Distillery uses 100-percent Florida-grown sugarcane to create small-batch rums in a traditional copper pot still. The spirit then gets aged in used American white oak Kentucky bourbon barrels for a minimum of one year (and up to 14 years). Wicked Dolphin also produces a silver rum, coconut rum (made from real coconut water) and Rumshine, a 100-proof spirit made from fresh local strawberries.
    Photo courtesy of Wicked Dolphin

Today, American rum is undergoing a resurgence, with distilleries focusing on high-quality ingredients and traditional techniques. 10Best enlisted the help of a panel of spirits experts to nominate the 20 best craft rum distilleries in the nation. Our readers have spent the last four weeks voting for their favorites, and the results are in.

Many of these distilleries work in small batches using locally-sourced ingredients. Many are family-owned. Many painstakingly distill their spirits using a blend of traditional and modern techniques. All take pride in crafting the best rums available.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Craft Rum Distillery are as follows:

  1. Wicked Dolphin - Cape Coral, Fla.
  2. Allegheny Distilling - Pittsburgh
  3. Cannon Beach Distillery - Cannon Beach, Ore.
  4. Wiggly Bridge Distillery - York, Maine
  5. Malahat Spirits - San Diego
  6. Skip Rock Distillers - Snohomish, Wash.
  7. Richland Rum Distillery - Richland, Ga.
  8. Louisiana Spirits - Lacassine, La.
  9. Privateer Rum - Ipswich, Mass.
  10. Journeyman Distillery - Three Oaks, Mich.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Emily Arden Wells (Gastronomista), Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Christensen (Artisan Spirit Magazine), Laura Johnson (Distillerista) and Arthur Shapiro (Booze Business) were chosen based on their expertise in the American craft spirits industry.

Other nominated distilleries included 3 Howls Distillery, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits, Greenbar Distillery, Montanya Distillers, New Holland Artisan Spirits, Newport Distilling Co., The Noble Experiment NYC, Prichard's Distillery, St. George Spirits and Sun Liquor Distillery.

Congratulations to all our winning rum distilleries.

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Emily Arden Wells

Emily Arden Wells

Martin Cate

Martin Cate

Brian Christensen

Laura Johnson

Laura Johnson

Arthur Shapiro

Arthur Shapiro