Bullion Rum Co-founder Ben Reed (Interview)

Published by The Rumlab ago about the Bullion company

Bullion Rum Co-founder Ben Reed (Interview) article cover image

By Jose Hoffmann

Bullion is the Ultimate spiced rum reserved for consumers of impeccable taste. Their signature Salted Caramel spiced rum heads up our Premium collection. The world’s first gold bar RUM!! 

Learn more about Ben Reed, Co-founder and Owner of Bullion Rum, in the following interview:

TRL: Who is Ben Reed?

My name is Ben Reed and it was inevitable that I’d end up in the Drinks industry. I come from a very close family and grew up in a party atmosphere where my parents, their friends and my grandparents were always enjoying a drink or two…. or three at our house. One grandfather was the manager of many pubs and nightclubs around the city, and over the years, I had an insight into the hospitality industry without realizing it.

In my teens and early 20’s I travelled and worked overseas, firstly in the South of France and later In the Caribbean on the Island of St Maarten. I lived in St Maarten for five years, working for a company called12 Metre Regatta and was racing ex Americas Cup yachts. It was here where I really discovered the love of rum and that was quite the journey to bring me to where I am today.

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

Having developed a passion for rum in St Maarten, I knew that given the opportunity that one day I would create and develop my own brand. Sitting at the beachside bar in St Maarten, I noticed that all the bottles looked the same and had the same theme…pirates. Not one rum stood out in design. But working alongside the mega yacht industry and surrounded by multimillion-pound luxury yachts, the base of an idea was beginning to form. I wanted something different.

Back in the UK, I was watching The Italian Job film and inside the vault was a stack of gold bars and it gave me an idea. I had a light bulb moment! The Bullion Heist was a modern day pirate theme. That was it! Bullion. Bullion was going to be the name of my company. It was just meant to be.

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

Bullion is bursting with warm caramel and creamy vanilla on the nose, luxury hand made toffee at the start, sweet and smooth throughout, with a medley of spices on the finish. The finish is long and deep with cinnamon, all spiced berries and hand cut sweet orange peel. Himalayan salt is minimal but present throughout.

We discussed with our Master Distiller about creating the rum. This particular rum is: Twice distilled sugar cane rum all the way from the Guyana. A third distillation takes place at Hensol Castle Distillery. Enthusing the Guyanese rum with spiced botanicals sourced from across the world. Added natural vanilla, caramel and Himalayan salt, blended with the purest Welsh water naturally filtered through the mountains of the Brecon Beacons gravitating to Hensol making this exquisite Elixir one of the finest spiced rums in the world.

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

Bullion is a dynamic brand and is alerting and tempting the non rum drinkers to at least try our rum. The result to date has been overwhelmingly in favour of both the taste and style. We have many testimonials from such customers, including:

“So glad I gave this a go. Really nice taste and unbelievably smooth”

“The balance of flavours in this product is phenomenal, no need for a mixer. This has taken me by surprise”

“I am so happy I bought a bottle, the taste is something else!”

TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.

The benefit that the rum industry has given me is that I have had the opportunity to fulfil a long time ambition of opening my own brand of rum. The change in direction of the rum industry has meant that many more young people are now drinking flavoured and spiced rums and this has opened up the market exponentially.

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

I love photography and video. I love to capture moments as they happen and have thousands of clips that I’ve collected over the past 10 years. There is something wonderful about being able to stop frame moments Hopefully I’ll have time to sit back and reminisce one day!

TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?

My favourite place for drinking rum is on the back of my boat at Golden Hour with a nice big glass of Bullion over ice……there’s nothing like it!

TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe

We have tried many different recipes with Bullion and they’re all lovely so it’s difficult to choose just one! But our Master Distiller recommends Bullion Rum and Ginger Ale with a slice of fresh orange peel…..as simple as that! To be honest I like it neat but on a hot day I might add an ice cube or two.

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

Gone are the days of dark harsh tasting rum…..in today’s market the consumer has a wide range of rums to choose from whether it’s dark, light, sweet, spiced or golden, as we like to say, ‘ there is a rum for everybody!’

Producers of aged rum are educating consumers that rum can be every bit as expensive, varied and delicious as the aged bourbons, scotches and whiskeys that are available.

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

You need to consider your glass, we recommend using a tumbler or small shot glass. Look at the clarity of the liquid that will ensure sophisticated filtering methods have been used. Raise your glass to the light , swirl and sip. Swirl the first sip around your mouth then you will really taste on the next sip whether it’s sweet, bitter, acidic or spicy. Take your time to think whether the after taste is long or short. In order to clean your palate between tastings we recommend a cracker, some bread or some water. Luckily in todays rum market there is a plethora of choice, we believe at Bullion that there is a rum to suit everyone.

TRL: How can the rum contribute to improve the crisis in some countries?

Bullion’s base rum originates from Guyana where the sugar corporation is the largest employer in the country with approximately 17000 employees and includes agriculture, engineering, finance, IT and Human Resource Management. The components of rum play a huge part in the countries economic structure. The sugar corporation is currently undergoing a dynamic transition process and the key objective is to create a resilient and sustainable business.

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

We launched with our classic salted caramel and vanilla flavour, we are now looking to expand our range with new flavours and spices this year.

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

I am about to become a dad for the first time and ‘d like to take my son back to the Caribbean where it all started.

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

Bar tenders and mixologists are vitally important in bringing any alcohol brand to the fore, as it is they who make recommendations, create cocktails and combine brands to make magnificent serves for the customer. Indeed they are more than ‘important they are vital!

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

My advice to any up and coming rum producer is to be brave and don’t be afraid to try new flavours….if you’re passionate about rum and you love rum……just do it! 

TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?

For more information about Bullion, please visit our website – www.bullionrum.com

Or our SM pages which are all @bullionrum:




Any rum lab readers wanting to try Bullion Rum, can use the code Rumlab10 for a discount.