Gaspar's Rum Head Distiller Bradley Bunn (Interview)

Published by The Rumlab ago about the Gaspar's company

Gaspar's Rum Head Distiller Bradley Bunn (Interview) article cover image

By Jose Hoffmann

Bradley Bunn is the Head Distiller for Tampa Bay Rum Company. He got his start making Alcohol when he was just 18 years old. Being of Italian descent he would make wine with his Great-grandfather in Buffalo, NY.

In 2013 he began brewing beer with his neighbor Paul and that’s where his passion for alcohol ignited. In 2015 he graduated with a B.S. in Biology with a concentration in Environmental Microbiology (pretty much fermentation science). Less than a week after graduating him already had his first job lined up working for Dole Berry Company based in Plant City, Florida.

After two years Dole downsized and he was left to his devices to find a new job, the siren’s song of fermentation began to call yet again. After some soul searching he began working as a Distiller in 2019. Since then he has honed his craft to the point where he can run their 4542.5L system in his sleep.

Since 2019 he has won two gold medals from ADI and San Francisco World Spirits Competition. With many more on the horizon… fingers are crossed. He is striving to become a Master Distiller, Brewing, and Winemaker, and has the ambition to devote his life to this education. Learn more about Bradley Bunn, Head Distiller for Tampa Bay Rum Company, in the next interview:

TRL: What does the rum mean for you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?

Rum was my entry into the world of Spirits and will always hold a special place in my heart. The first time I had rum was in painkillers at my uncle’s house in New York. It was a hot summer day and it was the perfect pool drink.

TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.

I look for the following criteria while distilling: Buttercream Frosting aroma, a flavor of grassy undertones, and caramelized brown sugar.

TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made in the rum industry?

I have not been in the industry long enough to have a  great effect on the overarching industry but I like to believe that I have helped open my community’s eyes to what craft rum is versus commercial production.

TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.

The Rum Industry gave me a chance to grow and learn about distillation more and helped me to continue to perfect my craft.

TRL: What´s another thing you are passionate about, in addition to rum? Why?

I am also passionate about Whiskey, Gin, Beer, and Wine. With a desire to master the craft, these alcohols are all on my list

TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?

I would have to say sailing down in the Virgin Islands, there is something about the open ocean and a rum cocktail.

TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe

Big Fan of mojitos… Big Fan.

TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?

I feel like rum is a little misunderstood, there are some rums out there that can go toe to toe with any Bourbon, scotch, ETC. You can find some beautiful aged rums that will be complex and flavorful. Ultimately the goal is to change perspective and I believe the industry as a whole is doing that.

TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?

Your palate is extremely subjective to what you enjoy, taste all the alcohol you can, and use the information for those to build out what you like in a Rum. I look for a slightly lactic, smooth, and sweet (perception not sugar level) Rum with notes of the method and region of production. I had made a sugar pure silver a little bit ago and it had a very sweet wildflower honey flavor that was just fantastic.

TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?

Continue learning and make some good booze.

TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.

I would love to further my education and career in the Alcohol industry, I am extremely passionate about all alcohol!

TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?

They are the link between the Customer and the Distiller. They interpret the essence of what the distiller was trying to do and communicate that to the customer.

TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?

Listen to those who understand more and learn as much as you can.

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