“THE RESULT OF A DELICIOUSLY TWISTED MIND”
We speak with the Halewood Group about there latest project in the heart of Bristol city centre.
Tell us about the history of Dead Man’s Fingers Rum?
Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum was born in St Ives, Cornwall UK in 2015 at a cool spot called The Rum & Crab Shack by its owner Neythan Hayes. It was born for a love and passion of new flavours and creating something that was totally different to what was in the Spiced Rum Market at the time. They wanted to break the conventions associated and make a brand that showcased the Rum & Crab shack personality, Rock and Roll rather than Pirates and Palm Trees and this is something we push for- ward even now. What’s unique about Dead Man’s Fingers is that we only use the best Caribbean Rum we can and its always between 2-3 years old so that the brand, while spiced or flavoured is still all about the Rum at heart. When it comes to our spices and flavours we only use natural ingredients and any added sweetness also comes from natural sugars to create a Spiced Rum brand made from real Rum and real Flavours.
We hear that rum especially spiced rum could potentially overtake gin as the no1 spirit in the UK do you agree?
I would certainly like that to be the case! As a category, Rum certainly is in huge growth and the data forecasts significant growth over the coming years. There has certainly been a huge rise in popularity for Rum and especially flavoured and Spiced Rums over the last 12-18 months, and we have seen lots of new brands breaking into the market which is what happened when Gin started to boom. Premi- um Spiced and Flavoured Rum is in growth because we have found that customers may be drinking less but when they do, they want quality as well as choice, but they also seem to be more adventurous and keen to try new things more often.
You recently opened the fab new bar and distillery in the heart of Bristol tell us what the bar offers and the experience people will get by visiting?
We have indeed! The Bristol and Bath Rum Distillery opened its doors in October 2019 and its 3 floors of Rum heaven. Before it was a bar and distillery the venue was a popular restaurant and before that it was one of Bristol’s oldest and largest bookstores so it has some real history attached to it. As you walk through our front doors your greeted by our big, beautiful 500 Litre Double Retort Rum Still where we will shortly commence the distillation of Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum. Upon arrival you are greeted by the first of our 3 bars, if you were to venture down stairs, first you would find our Barrel Ageing Room where we are going to start ageing Rum’s produced on our Rum still. On the 2nd floor you will find our mezzanine bar and our little speakeasy section hidden behind the bar itself, both of these areas can be hired out for private events, parties and Rum based ac- tivities. The Mezzanine bar is our homage to the great spirit that is Rum and we aim to have the largest collection of rum in Bristol and then the UK. You then venture up the last flight of stairs to the top floor where the magic happens. The top floor is where we house our Rum School and our training bar. The Rum School has 46 1 litre pot stills and is where guests can come and create their own bottle of Spiced Rum. The Rum School Experience takes around 2.5-3 hours and we cover everything you need to know about the fascinating history of Rum, the history of Bristol, as well as a tutored tasting of 5 different Rums, before guiding you through the art of distillation and helping you to create your own delicious bottling. We also keep the recipe on file so when you run out we can whip you up another one.
Where do you see the rum industry in 10 years’ time? Will it continue to grow?
I do believe that Rum will continue to grow over the next 10 years and it will be interesting to see what is coming next. Its rise in recent years has seen some amaz- ing innovation which I think will continue and we could see, not only some clever ageing and blending styles coming from the historic Caribbean distilleries, but also some exciting things closer to home. We could see an increase in British Rum’s as well as a plethora of new and innovative flavours and styles.
Where do you see the brand in the next 5 years? Any plans to expand to other cities or overseas perhaps?
Over the last five years we have grown Dead Man’s Fingers from its initial conception in St Ives to now, where we are exported as far as Australia and spanning across Russia, China and many countries in between!
More images below from Danny Woodstock Photographer