The Rum Club


2013: A Year of Rum Clubs Starts Here

Written by Pete on . Posted in Rum Chat

Why Trailer Loves Navy Rums...  

This coming Monday (7th Jan) Rum Club Season kicks off once more and for those who can get into London then the future is bright.  Trailer Happiness start things off with “Why Trailer Loves Navy Rums” and whilst we don’t have any proper schedule yet – RUMblin’ is a certainty for more of the winning formula we loved last year.  Rumours abound that The Rum Kitchen will be coming up with a regular format gathering that will interest the rummies as well…
Trailer HappinessWith the Navy link applying to more rums than you might give credit, this should prove to be an interesting and enjoyable evening.  Sources confirm that Pussers, El Dorado, Smith & Cross and Black Tot will all be making an appearance.
What: Why Trailer Loves Navy Rums
When: 7th January 2013 / from 7pm (normally)
Where: Trailer Happiness, 177 Portobello Road, London W11 2DY
As we had written in our previous post on the new format “Why Trailer Loves…” rum club – the desire to reinvigorate a format that might have been getting a little long in the tooth is laudable.  When the Rum Club first started at Trailer Happiness, it was a differently styled beast to the one Pauline and I encountered, when we headed along for the first time in early 2009.  The Rum Club website has reference to joining fee’s and sheets containing lists of rums to try etc. and despite us asking on several occasions the GM at the time didn’t seem particularly worried about issuing any more sheets or collecting any more subs (leastways not from us) and looking back it seems like we arrived on the scene just too late to partake.
The Rum Club owes its existence most keenly to Angus Winchester and happily for us he was able to spare us some time recently.  Angus joined Trailer Happiness in 2004 as GM – the original owner of Trailer knew Angus had something of a Tiki fixation and although his tenure was only six months, there was sufficient time for Angus to set up the Rum Club.
Angus tells us “The rum club was based on Julio Bermejo's Agave Appreciation Society.  The basic idea was we stocked about thirty five rums in those days, but only really sold around eight.  So the idea was you signed up, it cost £10 to join and you got a card listing the thirty five rums, which you were then encouraged to sample.  Only three at a time to encourage repeat business and only earlier in the week so that it wasn’t at busier times”
“Once you had drunk all thirty five rums you then became known as a Tiki God.  The Tiki God’s were then allowed to drink the rums that were Members Only.  These were limited edition, rare, special or expensive, but they were sold at cost price.  The idea being I loved Havana Club San Cristóbal but I was unprepared to pay £65 a shot for it.  We didn’t want to just sell it to people with money, but to people who would appreciate it.  The idea was that once you’d educated your palate by drinking the thirty five rums listed rum, then you could enjoy the Havana Club San Cristóbal (amongst others) at basically cost price.  Plus we could bring in rare and obscure (rums) and of course people would drop them off to us as well and so that was cool too!”
It’s not for the first time I’ve a little pang of regret at not being there at the start - but that was a long time ago and the notion of coming into being wasn't anywhere on the radar!
The idea of the educational side of Rum Club happened pretty much straight away.  Angus tells us that “once a month on the first Monday we would invite a supplier to come in to talk about their rum.  This was only available to Rum Club members to come in, meet the distiller and talk to them et cetera”
So it’s a fairly simple format – Angus tells us he quite liked it on a number of levels as it was a way of encouraging people to sample other rums at the same time as building up their knowledge.  Of course it was a business thing too - not in terms of the Rum Club making money, but in terms of driving business to Trailer Happiness.
So by the time Pauline and I get involved, the “challenge” – if you can call drinking thirty five rums a challenge – had been and gone.  I’d love to see this be resurrected – even if a steeper membership fee was levied.  I’m of the opinion that even if a membership fee wasn’t levied, then at least a nominal cover charge for the educational evening should be applied.  In the last few years I think Trailer has been a bit too generous.  If something is “free” then how can you expect people to value it?  An open door policy encourages the possibility of a broader attendance, but a peer group of geeky rum fans is also something to be valued…  Especially if you are a geeky rum fan!  Of course if Trailer isn’t interested in pursuing this formula – then hopefully it will be picked up by someone else…
So, come down to Trailer Happiness on the 7th January to find out Why Trailer Loves Navy Rums.  But better still come down and tell everyone else why YOU love Navy rums, or perhaps more importantly why you don’t love them…  

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