By Jose Hoffmann
1. Who is Basil DeStefano?
For the past 37 years I’ve been in the automotive industry as a finance director in the Chicagoland area. In my free time, I’m an avid scuba diver and rum drinker, which is how my wife, Elizabeth and I found Belize. Based on our love of rum and Belize, we started our brand Tiburon Rum.
2. What does the rum mean for you? What made you fall in love with rum, and when did it happen?
Rum is the most romantic of all the spirits! The first things that come to mind are beautiful palm trees, the hot sun, clear sandy beaches, and adventurous pirates.
Since my early 20’s I’ve always had Rum and Coke with a lime, but it wasn’t until I started scuba diving through the Caribbean that I fell in love with aged rums. Aged rums truly show how complex and sophisticated rum can be – I wish I was introduced to them earlier in my life.
3. What is the most important contribution you have made in the rum industry?
As a young brand, we haven’t made significant contributions to the rum industry yet, however we have shown the world Belize has a lot to offer when it comes to rum. We’ve also introduced aged rums to a much younger demographic thanks to our marketing and packaging.
4. What’s another thing you are passionate about in addition to rum? Why?
I’ve always been passionate about scuba diving and protecting our oceans for future generations to enjoy. This is why we are a proud sponsor of Oceana Belize. Elizabeth and I are also passionate about Belize and its people which is why we are proud to represent them on the global stage with Tiburon Rum, “The Spirit of Belize”
We are very excited to continue working hard and watching this little company continue to grow as fast as it has; this is the hardest I’ve ever worked, but the most fun I’ve ever had. Wouldn’t change a thing.
5. What is your favorite place for drinking rum?
An easy question, BELIZE of course! It’s un-Belize-able!
6. Favorite drink + Recipe?
I’m very simple, Tiburon rum over ice! It doesn’t get any better than that.
For our new White Tip Overproof Rum, my favorite is the classic Cuba Libre, with a twist:
- Muddle mint in a glass
- Add ice
- Add 2 oz of Tiburon White Tip Overproof Rum
- Add Coke and a lime
Simple and delicious!
7. Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?
Rum is much more complex than most people think, and education is the only way for the consumer to learn about different types of rums. Aged, column still, pot still, molasses, sugar cane juice, the aging process, even the barrels used to age and the locations all over the world bring unique flavors.
8. Any tips to train the palate and taste good premium rum?
I’m no expert by any means, but it does help to put a small amount of rum in the palm of your hand, and then rub your hands together until the alcohol is gone. Cup your hands, and you can easily smell all the notes in the rum.
9. What are your next goals in the rum industry?
Our short-term goals are to continue working on branding and awareness throughout Belize. We have 1.6 million tourists who come through Belize each year who will help us toward our long-term goal of becoming a global brand.
10. Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?
Bartenders are our front-line workers. They are essential to growing brand awareness, and they introduce products to millions of people daily all over the world. I don’t think you can build a brand with any longevity without them.
11. How can people learn more about you? Website? Social Media page?
Join our over 54,000 followers on Facebook at Tiburon rum!
You can also visit our website at www.Tiburonrum.com, follow Tiburon rum on Instagram @TheTiburonRum and email me, Basil DeStefano, at [email protected]
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