Hemingway Rum Company, the makers of Papa’s Pilar premium sipping rums, which were inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s spirit of adventure, officially opened its Rum Distillery & Experience Center to the public on Saturday, May 20. The new facility pays homage to the legendary adventurer who once proudly called Key West home.
Nestled in the heart of Key West the new Rum Distillery & Experience Center once served as an all brick tobacco warehouse built in 1878 by Irish bricklayers. Having completed a three-year renovation, the 8,000-plus-square-foot facility supports Papa’s Pilar rum production, an Experience Center, a Tasting Room, Trading Post and eventually a rentable event center. Visitors can view a 350-gallon Hamilton Pot Still, with a custom-made reflux column, that can produce up to 80 gallons of rum per day. Guests will also be treated to an interactive “scent display,” which allows them to smell the active ingredients in each expression. Attractions throughout the tour pay tribute to “Papa” as Hemingway was known, including a swivel picture wall and replica of his Pilar boat affixed in the ceiling’s center rafters. Following the tour, patrons will be provided a sampling experience of Papa’s Pilar dark and blonde rums in the facility’s tasting room, which includes a Hemingway-inspired bar top, filled with newspaper clippings, photographs and other memorabilia.
Carlton “Carl” Grooms, Key West Director of Operations, manages the production of the award-winning rums, with the help of four full-time managers and 40 part-time employees. An adventure-seeker and rum enthusiast himself, Grooms co-founded the International Rum Council and served as co-author of the book, “Rum & Contemporary Cuisine.” Carl serves on the Board of the Navy League, Key West Council, and the Key West Art and Historical Society.
“We’re excited to have created both a destination that will serve as the physical heart and soul of our brand, as well as an asset for the city of Key West,” says Grooms. “Our guests will be truly engaged and amazed with this unique experience. A trip to Key West will no longer be complete without a visit.”
Tours are available daily from 9am-6pm. Tours are self-guided and do not require reservations as guests are encouraged to explore like Hemingway himself.”
Papa’s Pilar Dark & Blonde rum varieties are hand-selected from ports-of-call in the Caribbean, Central America and Florida for their age, character and maturity, and then blended and solera aged in our proprietary process which includes Bourbon barrels and Spanish Sherry casks for the Blonde expression, and Bourbon, Port Wine and Spanish Sherry casks for the Dark Rum.
In addition to the new Rum Distillery & Experience Center, Papa’s Pilar rums are available in 750ml bottles in both on- and off-premise establishments in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Washington, DC. The brand is also registered in Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Utah and Virginia. The suggested retail price of the Dark and Blonde are $39.99 and $29.99, respectively. Prices may vary by market.