Oxbow Estate Rum President Olivia Stewart

Published by The Rumlab ago about the Oxbow Estate company

Oxbow Estate Rum President Olivia Stewart article cover image

Since 1859, the Oxbow Rum Distillery estate has raised sugarcane on the banks of an ancient Mississippi River oxbow in Pointe Coupée, Louisiana. This sharp bend in the river has made for fertile land, sweet sugarcane, and enchanting rum. Generations have farmed this land. This estate rum is a tribute to them.

Made from 100% Grade A sugarcane molasses, these fine-sipping rums embody the essence of Louisiana’s sugarcane harvest. Unfiltered and distilled in small batches, Oxbow Rum has no sweeteners or additives. Experience the bright, smooth taste of sugarcane in every sip. Olivia Stewart is the President of Oxbow Rum Distillery. Learn more about her in the next interview:

TRL: Who is Olivia Stewart?

Olivia Stewart’s family has owned and operated their Louisiana cane farm and sugar mill since 1859. Her childhood on the farm instilled a passion for all things sugarcane––and eventually rum. When the pandemic hit, she moved back home to operate the family’s distillery, Oxbow Rum Distillery. Located in Baton Rouge, they distill their premium rums from cane juice and high-test molasses, all of which are sourced from their fields and mill.

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

– Our rum is the newest expression of our land, which has provided for our community for generations. It honors all of those who have come before us while integrating our history with a progressive future.

– I fell in love with rum when I tasted our 2021 Rhum Louisiane, which my husband and I made together. It transported me to growing up in the cane fields as a child.

TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective. Authentic Full of character Earthy TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made to the rum industry?

– Woman-owned, single estate, award-winning American rum – an unprecedented combination!

– I also bring an exhaustive understanding of the US sugar/sugarcane industry, which is often an anomaly to rum makers.

TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.

– A sense of purpose

– It’s provided a new vehicle for creating a progressive legacy of sugarcane into the future

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

I love the arts –– I worked as a contemporary art dealer and advisor in New York COVID hit. It was then that I moved back to the farm and took over the distillery for my family.

TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?

At home on the cane farm, where it was grown.

TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe

An Oxbow rhum Louisiane on the rocks

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

There is a widespread misconception about rum, that it is only meant for tropical beach drinks. It’s up to us to educate the average consumer that rum warrants a spot on the top shelf next to your single malts and allocated bourbons. Rums can be elegant, sipped, and appreciated slowly.

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

Go with your instinct. The raw ingredient should be able to speak for itself. Many try to cover it up too much with complicated blending or flavoring. There’s no need when you have quality ingredients and processes.

TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?

I think sustainable development is the key to success for any industry in this day and age. Rum has an upper hand already, considering it is made from the byproduct of a highly sustainable crop – sugarcane. Larger rum producers need to take responsibility for their size while growing makers scale up with the future in mind.

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

I hope to one day see Louisiana as a destination for rum in America. It’s the second largest sugarcane-producing state in the country, with all farms and mills owned individually by the families or growers themselves. Louisiana is my home, and it is a great state that would benefit from diversification as it progresses into a sustainable future.

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

Run my family’s sugarcane mill J

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

They are our storytellers! “The on-premise makes us famous, while the off-premise pays our mortgage.”

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

OWN HOME. And overinvest in branding and marketing from the get-go. If the consumer wants it, accounts will buy it.

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