Tampa Bay Rum Company, located in Ybor City, was created by chiropractor Samuel Myers who felt Tampa’s pirates needed their own locally made rum.
The legendary pirate, José Gaspar, still lives in residents’ hearts, but his rum was lost to time, forcing the fine citizens of Tampa to endure rums shipped from distant lands while celebrating his spirit every January during Gasparilla. But what was lost has been found, and Myers and his team are happy to now provide Tampa’s own Gaspar’s and Gasparilla Rums.
“I wanted to create this because Tampa is pirate-crazy; we have all the beautiful beaches where rum drinks are sold, so I was able to trademark Gasparilla Rum and we’ve been making rum since 2018,” Myers said. “We have various rum products, a sugar cane-based vodka and some barrel-aged products.”
The barrel-aged products Tampa Bay Rum Company released in 2019 won American Distilling Institute’s ‘Best Rum’ in category and class.
The recent pandemic has given the local rum company some highs and lows over the last few months. The lows included some issues with vandalism and theft while it was shut down during the pandemic. The highs were that it joined forces with Coppertail Brewing Co., also in Ybor City, to create, sell and donate hand sanitizer to the Tampa Bay community and its local businesses.
“Coppertail had a lot of keg beer that wasn’t going to get sold and they asked us if we wanted to distill it to make hand sanitizer,” Myers said.
Tampa Bay Rum Company recently donated hand sanitizer to the Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association of Brandon to assist in the center’s reopening efforts.
Myers and his team want to make their products Tampa Bay’s rum of choice.
“I want Tampa Bay and Gasparilla to have their very own rum,” Myer said. “Gasparilla is the biggest pirate festival in the world and the third largest parade in America, so what’s more important to a pirate than rum? I want us to be the rum of choice when they order a rum cocktail at a local bar or restaurant.”
To learn more about the Tampa Bay Rum Company’s products or to schedule a tour and tasting at the distillery, visit www.gasparillarum.com or call 284-5485. The tasting room and distillery are located at 2102 E. 4th Ave. in Ybor City.