So you didn’t score a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle bourbon for Christmas? You can find a special release for your rum-loving friends instead, for a couple of hundred dollars less.
Queen Charlotte’s Reserve, the new release from Muddy River Distillery in Belmont, is on shelves now at ABC stores in North Carolina for a suggested price of $27.99.
Queen Charlotte is the second release from Muddy River, following their 80-proof silver Carolina Rum in fall 2012. Queen Charlotte is barrel-aged in new white-oak barrels like those used for bourbon, giving it color and caramelization. It’s also slightly higher in alcohol, at 84 proof.
Caroline Delaney, who owns Muddy River with her husband, Robbie, says they’re working on a third release, a spiced rum like Capt. Morgan or the popular Kracken, for 2014.
Muddy River may be one of the only distilleries to start in the air: Robbie Delaney was a general contractor when the 2008 construction slow-down hit. He needed to start looking for something else to do.
“When the economy went down, it was hard,” says Caroline, an accountant. “And traveling, he was never home.” On a trip, he was flipping through an in-flight magazine when he saw a story about craft distilling and decided to go for it.
Delaney built his own stills. And since his friend Scott Huff likes rum, they decided to make that. They opened their distillery in an industrial park about a mile from downtown Belmont, at 1500 River Drive.
Today, it’s a full-time job for both of the Delaneys. They offer tours and tastings at their facility, and their rum is in more than 300 ABC stores. It also in some liquor stores in South Carolina.
Caroline Delaney has also been putting their product to work for her own Christmas list: She’s been baking rum cakes to give to friends.
Looking to the future, they have modest dreams. She says they want to be “the No. 1-selling rum in North Carolina.”
“We want people, when they think of rum in North Carolina, to think of us.”