"South Florida is the number one rum market in the world," festival host Robert Burr says. "It's only fitting that we present the largest rum-tasting program in the United States once a year in this location."
Though the spirit is best associated with the islands of the Caribbean, rum is made throughout the world. Traditionally, rum is distilled in places where sugarcane is grown, but there is also a growing number of craft distillers from U.S. states such as Utah and Pennsylvania. For the past decade, the festival has been South Florida's opportunity to try interesting and innovative rums and discover which ones are worthy of a place at home.
"There is a lot of excitement among producers, with many new developments in the world of rum,” Burr says.
This year, approximately 50 vendors will offer more than 200 varieties of rum from the Caribbean, the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. There will also be ten seminars covering topics such as the life cycle of sugarcane and the birth of the tiki bartender.
Plus, the festival will include evening tiki events at Fort Lauderdale's Mai-Kai Restaurant and Molokai Bar, the annual RumXP Awards, and a VIP tasting bar brimming with rare, vintage, and limited-edition rums.
Those who consider themselves rum experts can apply to the festival's Consumer Rum Jury, which requires members to discern various flavors and aromas of fine rum and ultimately serve as judges in a blind tasting session Friday, June 8. Judges will help determine winners for the year's RumXP Awards.
Rum Renaissance Festival. Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10, at the Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-765-5900; ftlauderdalecc.com. Tickets cost $50 to $120 before June 1 via rumrenaissance.com and $75 to $200 after June 1 and at the door.