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Richland Rum founder, Erik Vonk arrived in Georgia in 1990 to launch an Atlanta bureau for Randstad, the multinational Dutch staffing firm. He retired from the company within a decade, and then changed directions. Along with his wife Karin, he purchased a large tract of farmland near Richland, Georgia. They named their farm Vennebroeck (Dutch for “ponds and brooks”). Vonk was intrigued by the area’s history of sugarcane farming. “I just sort of had this ‘aha’ moment,” he says. Vonk set out on his own quest to grow, distill, and barrel-age sugarcane into something that would evoke the lost character of pre-Prohibition rum.

Most commercial rum today is made from molasses, the by-product of sugar refining, rather than the cane syrup used during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Working with the University of Georgia extension office, Vonk identified the variety of cane that grows best in southwestern Georgia’s climate — Georgia Red — and secured permission to build a still for personal consumption. In 2007, when he decided to turn his hobby into a business, Vonk had to jump through some regulatory hoops since Vennebroeck straddles two dry counties.

The Richland Distilling Company is located in a formerly shuttered shop in historic downtown Richland, Georgia. The distillery and tasting room are available for free tours. The rum is a “Single Estate Old Georgia Rum, hand crafted from unrefined sugar cane, copper pot distilled and matured in virgin America white oak barrels.” Richland Rum is kosher certified by the , the Atlanta Kosher Commission (AKC).
The rum has won several awards and accolades including Flavor of Georgia Award 2014, The Good Food Awards 2016, including 94 of 100 points from Tasting Panel Magazine, and gold medals by numerous international tasting competitions.
We found the rum smooth enough to sip, and enjoyed it simply poured over ice. We also tried it and enjoyed it in some of our favorite cocktail recipes.
Visit the website at richlandrum.com; or even better, make a reservation and visit the distillery when you are in Georgia!

Try two of our favorite spirited drinks made with Richland Rum:
Mango Mint Mojito
The World's Best Pina Colada

 

 

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