The Miami Rum Congress, one of The Rum Lab's annual rum festivals, is held at the waterfront Shane Center in Miami Beach, Florida. This two-day event focuses on rum education and includes mostly aged rums - no fruity flavors here! On Friday, there will be five symposiums running back-to-back throughout the day featuring an impressive array of speakers, including Ian Burrell, Joy Spence, Richard Seale, Karen Hoskin, and Jeff "Beachbum" Berry just to name a few. The rum tasting event takes place on Saturday and includes over 25 rum brands from across the globe. There are several ticket options for individual or for both days of the festival, with discounts offered for advance purchase and multiple tickets. The best value is the two-day VIP ticket, which costs $110 plus fees and includes access to all seminars on Friday and early entrance to the rum tasting on Saturday.
Participating brands for 2020 included:
Check out the Miami Rum Congress website for more information and to purchase tickets:
The first Miami Rum Congress was held on February 8 - 9, 2019 at the Shane Center in Miami Beach, Florida. This event is geared towards serious rum enthusiasts and craft bartenders with one full day dedicated to educational symposiums and a second day for the rum tasting event that consisted almost entirely of high quality, unadulterated rums. We opted for the two-day VIP ticket so that we could fully experience everything this event had to offer.
The symposiums were moderated by global rum ambassador Ian Burrell and featured some of the most prominent personalities in the rum industry. "Women Leading Rum" featured Kate Perry (La Maison & Velier), Cristelle Harris (Hampden), Maggie Campbell (Privateer), and Karen Hoskin (Montanya) and provided intriguing insight into the challenges women face in the male-dominated rum industry. The next symposium, "How Rum Is Actually Made", included Roberto Serralles (Don Q), Bailey Prior (Real McCoy), and Richard Seale (Foursquare) who discussed various production methods used in making different styles of rum. Josh Miller led the "Behind the Green Curtain" seminar which focused on sustainable and environmentally conscious practices for making rum. He was joined by two outspoken advocates for sustainability: Karen Hoskin (Montanya) and Roberto Serralles (Don Q). Next was the "300 Years of Rum Production" symposium featuring Alexandre Gabriel (Maison Ferrand/Plantation), Winston Harrison (Monymusk), Ben Jones (SPIRIBAM), and Karine Lassalle (Rhum J.M.) who discussed how rum production methods have evolved over time in different island nations. Lastly was the "Changes in the Rum Market" seminar with Ed Hamilton (Hamilton) who spoke about trends in the rum industry and how they have influenced the rums he imports.
The rum tasting event on Saturday most certainly did not disappoint! There were several brands that we don't normally see at rum festivals, such as La Maison & Velier who brought almost their entire lineup of pure single rums. There was plenty of variety to keep us busy throughout the duration of the 6.5 hour event. The crowd was noticeably different from other rum events we've been to. Many of the attendees were serious rum enthusiasts who were there to learn about and taste different rums, which was a welcome change from the sometimes rowdy party crowd that unlimited alcohol events can draw. One area that could be improved however was food. Some light snacks were provided but it would have been better to bring in options for a more substantial meal since nearby dining options are limited.
We look forward to attending this enjoyable and meaningful event next year!
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