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Best Craft Rum Distillery (2021)

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Sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean began distilling rum during the 17th century from molasses, an inexpensive byproduct of the sugar refining process. The spirit came to the U.S. in 1664 with the opening of the first rum distillery on Staten Island and continued to grow in popularity through the Revolutionary War. Rum has come a long way since those early days, and distilleries across the nation are experimenting with how to craft the finest variations.

  • LYON RUM

    LYON RUM
    St. Michaels, Maryland

    LYON RUM is the flagship spirit of Windon Distilling Company – a micro distillery on the Chesapeake Bay dedicated to distilling American Rum from 100-percent Louisiana sugarcane using traditional pot stills. Rum lovers have numerous options to choose from: White Rum, Dark Rum and barrel-rested Sailors Reserve Rum, plus Curaçao, Coffee Rum, Rock&Rum and seasonal specialties like toasted Coconut Rum, Overproof Pineapple Rum and Blackberry Harvest Rum.
    Photo courtesy of LYON RUM

  • Wicked Dolphin

    Wicked Dolphin
    Cape Coral, Florida

    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), black rum and vanilla bean rum.
    Photo courtesy of Wicked Dolphin

  • KoHana Distillers

    KoHana Distillers
    Kunia Camp, Hawaii

    Native sugarcane was growing on the Hawaiian Islands long before the first plantations existed. At KoHana Distillers, sugarcane is harvested by hand, pressed into juice and distilled into a pure cane rum in small batches. The white agricole rum rests in oak to produce the barrel aged agricole rum. There’s also a cask-strength rum and a cocoa and honey rum.
    Photo courtesy of KoHana Distillers

  • Muddy River Distillery

    Muddy River Distillery
    Belmont, North Carolina

    Muddy River Distillery specializes in rum, made from top quality ingredients in custom-built stills. Each rum is made with sugar cane molasses and sugar. Queen Charlotte’s Reserve spends a year in new American white oak, while Spiced Carolina Rum is blended with spices for hints of cinnamon and vanilla. The distillery also makes a coconut rum and basil rum.
    Photo courtesy of Muddy River Distillery

  • Koloa Rum Company

    Koloa Rum Company
    Lihue, Hawaii

    All the rums from Koloa Rum Company are made with Hawaiian sugarcane and Mount Waialeale rainwater and twice distilled in a vintage copper pot still. Options include white and aged rums, as well as rums flavored with coconut, coffee and spices.
    Photo courtesy of Koloa Rum Company

  • Far North Spirits

    Far North Spirits
    Hallock, Minnesota

    Far North Spirits is the northernmost distillery in the United States, occupying a former wheat field on a family farm in Hallock, Minnesota. In addition to whiskey and rye using grain harvested from their farm, this husband/wife team produces three rums using demerara and turbinado sugars under the Ålander label - a Nordic style with whole-bean spices, a white Caribbean style, and an amber rum aged in rye whiskey barrels.
    Photo courtesy of Far North Spirits

  • Arizona Craft Beverage

    Arizona Craft Beverage
    Elgin, Arizona

    Each rum from Arizona Craft Beverage starts with pure cane sugar, juiced and combined with a special yeast strain to produce delicate rums. The spirits are then aged in spent whiskey and wine barrels (or new barrels for black rum) to add complexity to the finished product.
    Photo courtesy of Arizona Craft Beverage

  • Bespoken Spirits

    Bespoken Spirits
    Menlo Park, CA

    Located in the San Francisco Bay area, Bespoken Spirits’ goal is to provide rum drinkers their favorite natural flavors, but in a bolder setting. Sugar cane sourced from the US Virgin Islands is a primary ingredient in their smooth and fruit-forward Dark Rum. Its golden-brown color offers aromatic notes of tropical fruits, spices, and caramel, combined with a bold taste experience of cocoa cereal, spiced cider, and lemon zest.
    Photo courtesy of Bespoken Spirits

  • Three Roll Estate

    Three Roll Estate
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Three Roll Estate uses sugarcane grown on the Louisiana alluvial flood plain to distill their lineup of “cane to glass” rums. This includes a once-a-year Rhum Agricole made from fresh-pressed cane juice, a cachaça-inspired Brazilian-style rum, white rum, dark rum, spiced rum and a cinnamon-infused rum.
    Photo courtesy of Three Roll Estate

  • Cardinal Spirits

    Cardinal Spirits
    Bloomington, Indiana

    Rum lovers have two spirits to choose from at Indiana’s Cardinal Spirits. The light Tiki Rum, perfect for mixing, is fermented and distilled from cane juice and light molasses using hefeweizen and wild sugarcane yeasts. Lake House Spiced Rum is infused with whole botanical ingredients, such as vanilla, cardamom and orange peel.
    Photo courtesy of Cardinal Spirits

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

  1. LYON RUM - St. Michaels, Maryland
  2. Wicked Dolphin - Cape Coral, Florida
  3. KoHana Distillers - Kunia Camp, Hawaii
  4. Muddy River Distillery - Belmont, North Carolina
  5. Koloa Rum Company - Lihue, Hawaii
  6. Far North Spirits - Hallock, Minnesota
  7. Arizona Craft Beverage - Elgin, Arizona
  8. Bespoken Spirits - Menlo Park, CA
  9. Three Roll Estate - Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  10. Cardinal Spirits - Bloomington, Indiana

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning distilleries!

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AlertThe Experts

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Eric Grossman

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Gerrish Lopez

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes

Melanie Reffes

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Ziggy Eschliman

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen

Brian Christensen
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