Newport Distilling Company, Middletown, RI

Rum labels

Thomas Tew Rum - Newport Distilling Company, Middletown, RI (us_270)
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Thomas Tew Rum (us_270)

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Company was established in 2007.

As the sugar trade grew in the American colonies in the early 18th century, so did the production of rum. In those days, the distilling was done in the colonies and in particular, Newport, Rhode Island. By 1769 twenty-two distilleries were operating in Newport and it had established itself as the rum capital of the world. Using blackstrap molasses, pot stills, and local water these distillers created a flavorful rum that was enjoyed throughout the world.

However, the second half of the century proved to be much more difficult for the industry. First, the Sugar Act of 1764 increased the cost of getting sugar and molasses from the Caribbean. Second, as Newport was one of the cities that was occupied by the British during the revolution, many of the merchants that made and traded rum there fled their homes and businesses. Finally, by the turn of the century, settlers had moved west and began to turn their corn and barley in to whiskey which was a much less expensive spirit.

By 1817 only two distilleries remained in Newport. Economics, changing tastes, and political turmoil had taken its toll and in 1842, John Whitehorne went bankrupt and the final distillery in Newport closed. Shortly there after, in 1872, Rhode Island’s last distillery, the John Dyer distillery in Providence, shut down.

For 135 years the once thriving Rhode Island distilling industry lay dormant. Finally, in 2007, Newport Distilling Company received the first license to distill in the state since the close of the John Dyer distillery. Naturally, the goal is to recreate the rum that had been world famous 250 years ago. Using the same blackstrap molasses, local water, and pot still techniques, this rum has been resurrected and is now called Thomas Tew.

[Source: Company's web site (relevant page), cited 2010]

Blackstrap molasses (the most flavorful of the molasses) is combined with water and fermented in the tanks in the brewery adjacent to the distillery. Using the abundant supply of healthy yeast in the brewery (just as it would have happened three centuries ago) the fermentation goes flawlessly and the “wash” is prepared for distillation. The wash is then added 105 gallons at a time to the small pot still and sent through its first distillation. Several distillates are then gathered for the second and final distillation. Unlike more neutral spirits, the second distillation is to polish the spirit while retaining flavor. Further distillation simply takes out the flavors originating from the molasses.

Once the spirit is finished it is placed in American Oak barrels and left to age. A blend of French and American Oak is used inside the barrels to complete the rum. Before packaging the rum is proofed and filtered. Finally, Thomas Tew Rum is put in the bottles, hand dipped into wax, and numbered. It is truly a hand made spirit.

[Source: Company's web site (relevant page), cited 2010]

Here are full texts from the labels

us_270: Thomas Tew authentic pot still Rum; Newport, RI, USA; Hand Bottled by Newport Distilling company, Newport, RI; 42% Alc/Vol (84 Proof); 750 ml

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