Newport Storm is one of the biggest names in Rhode Island beer. Started in 1999 by four college friends, it has since grown into a staple of the local (and rapidly growing) craft beer scene. The organization has expanded through the years and, in 2006, began a foray into a new market: rum.
The city of Newport is littered with references to its history as the rum capital of the World. For a period of time, Rhode Island rum was even used as currency in trading internationally. However, it had been over a century since there was an active distillery in Rhode Island (even longer in Newport). Upon learning this, Brent Ryan and his associates at the Coastal Extreme Brewing Co. founded the Newport Distilling Company and began producing their Thomas Tew Rum (named after a famous RI pirate during the Newport rum heyday). Of top priority to them was to not only revive the rum market in Newport but to also stay true to the practices that made Rhode Island rum so choice.
The Kettlebottom crew was invited to the Newport Distilling Company to see how it all works. Cameras rolling, we were taken through the entire process from fermented molasses wash all the way to finished, barreled product. We also got a glimpse at the tasting process and how meticulous these guys are in ensuring that the spirit that is put on the shelf is of the highest possible quality. It is abundantly apparent that patience is of the utmost importance in creating a product that lives up to such a storied legacy.
AJ Petrarca spent some time talking with Brent about the history of the Newport Distilling Company, Thomas Tew rum, and the previously dormant distilling practice in Rhode Island. The Ocean State is truly becoming a force to be reckoned with in distilling alcohol product. Be sure to tune in for the full episode and the new season of Brand X this Spring.