Edwin Hincapie is the North American Brand Director for Santa Teresa 1796 Rum. He has been in his current role for 2 years and previously held roles with Dewar’s Scotch Whisky, Campari America and Heineken USA, as well as leadership roles on the agency side. Edwin is a native New Yorker of Colombian heritage and currently lives in South Florida. Learn more about him, in the next interview:
TRL: What does the rum mean to you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
Rum is fascinating to me. It opens your mind, heart, and senses to a variety of places, processes, people, and taste profiles. Rum, for me, is part of my heritage both from my parents and having grown up with the flavors of South America and the Caribbean so close to home. I fell in love with rum once I started expanding my knowledge of the category. On trips to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and South America, I took in all the local rums, was fascinated by their stories, and was amazed by the number of rums and the history and production processes. As time went on, I learned more about super premium rums, solera aged rums, and the different propositions that these rums represented.
TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.
1. Heritage/History – where does it come from, who makes it, and why did they make it? What makes it special?
2. Craftsmanship – what makes the rum special, why does it have that flavor profile, what does the rum say about its place of origin
3. Conviviality – Rum is about the “we” not the “me” A great rum brings people together in friendship, laughter, and enjoyment
TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made to the rum industry?
Being part of the Santa Teresa 1796 has allowed me to have a greater impact on a community via Project Alcatraz and all the community initiatives, the brand drives. Our motto is Great Rum. Greater Purpose drives everything we do. It is amazing to see your work have a direct impact on others’ lives, communities, and country.
TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.
The opportunity to meet great people, experience unknown places, lead teams of unique individuals, and drive towards a common goal and purpose.
TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about besides rum? Why?
Discovery–alternative places, new foods, new cocktails, anything new that expands your thinking, point of view, and experience.
TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?
Anywhere with friends, family, and good times. Though I recently got to experience drinking Santa Teresa 1796 in Los Roques and that is pretty hard to beat!
TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe
Currently, I enjoy “Bird of Aragua”. Inspired by the classic Jungle Bird cocktail, but slightly brighter and with some Venezuelan soul.
– 1 1/2 parts SANTA TERESA® 1796 RUM
– 3/4 part APEROL
– 1 1/2 parts FRESH PINEAPPLE JUICE
– 1/2 part FRESH LIME JUICE
– 3/4 part SIMPLE SYRUP
– Pour all ingredients into a shaker
– Shake vigorously with ice
– Fine-strain and pour over fresh ice in a Collins glass
– Garnish with an orange slice 1 1/2 parts SANTA TERESA® 1796 RUM 3/4 part APEROL 1 1/2 parts FRESH PINEAPPLE JUICE 1/2 part FRESH LIME JUICE 3/4 part SIMPLE SYRUP
TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?
There are so many preconceived notions around rum as a sugary, fruity, beach spirit. When in fact, rum can be rich in tradition, complex, premium, and refined and every liquid has a great story behind it. We need to entice the consumer to expand their palates and enjoy the full spectrum of rum, from entry-level offerings and up through the premiumization ladder.
TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?
Keep drinking/trying! Take a sip neat and then try to identify the flavor notes, experiment across a variety of premium rums, and see what makes each unique but also what you enjoy best.
TRL: How can the rum contribute to improving the crisis in some countries?
Have a position and a purpose and stand by it. Live by the values set by the organization and make sure those values come to life via every employee, every interaction, and every action. The most important thing is to be consistent and not stray from your purpose. Have a bigger picture and make sure everything you do works towards it. At Santa Teresa, we have Project Alcatraz and Santa Teresa Foundation, which looks to via multiple initiatives improve the community around the Hacienda and provide ex-gang members an opportunity for a second chance.
TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?
The people I most like to meet are the Master Blenders. It is magical to hear their passion, their thoughts, and how there are a little of themselves in every bottle. Their pride and enthusiasm are contagious. They are the best people to learn from.
TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?
Continue to expand the reach and awareness of Santa Teresa 1796, bringing our purpose and rum to new audiences and most of all, continue to learn in order to leave an impact on the industry.
TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?
They are the gatekeepers, their knowledge, and recommendations for introducing products and educating consumers are priceless. It is vital that in anything we do in the industry, especially if we want to change the perception of rum and bring new light to the super-premium offerings, we connect with bartenders first.
TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?
Learn, talk to everyone, and taste everything you can. Visit distilleries, reach out, and ask questions, but most of all, have fun and enjoy the ride!
TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?
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