Experience Sarasota: Siesta Key Rum & Drum Circle Distilling
Snug amid an anonymous industrial estate near US 301, DrumCircle Distilling provides a sweet-smelling, rum-laden oasis. They offer tours of the distillery and people are often shocked at the operation, but in a good way.
Rum, Sarasota and the Mash
Snug amid an anonymous industrial estate near US 301, DrumCircle Distilling provides a sweet-smelling, rum-laden oasis in the shadow of industrial-sized recycling plants and 18-wheelers.
And, as incongruous as this locale may first appear for a rum distillery, Troy Roberts, founder of DrumCircle Distilling, is more than content with his domain while admitting a love of baking took him to a new found career of happily mixing water, molasses and a magical menu of secret powers to create his premier product.
Sitting in the company’s distillery, Roberts offers a professional, laid back vibe.
“I’ve been entrepreneurial most of my life,” he said. “And I know how to make good rum.”
But it’s surprising from where inspiration came from.
“I love baking rum cakes,” Roberts said. “And as I researched more recipes I discovered that people were making their own rum. And that’s when a light bulb went off in my head.”
Not that Roberts was new to the business world. As a former high-ranking employee of Compuserve and a successful web site developer, the thought of entering a new arena was, nevertheless, fraught with doubt.
“You’ve got to have everything right in the spirits industry,” he explained. “If you screw up anything, you can forget it.”
With a production rate of more than 800 bottles per week of the distillery’s Siesta Key Rum, Roberts’ journey from selling frozen yogurt as a 19-year-old in Portland, Oregon to the warmer climes of South Florida remained true to a simple aesthetic.
“I created websites for sports car enthusiasts for about eight years until I sold the business in 2007… then I bought a still.
“It was a natural progression,” he laughs. “I went from the driving to the drinking business.”
His confidence is well supported. Since 2007, DrumCircles’ Siesta Key Rum has proven an increasingly successful business plan. According to Roberts, the rum is flowing from his distillery more than ever.
“The heart of the company is in Sarasota,” said Roberts. “But we really have spread out a lot. We’re with Publix, and Total Wine who have stores in 14 states. Locally, we work with Siesta Spirits, who were our first retailer, and Liquor Locker among others. We have always had great support from the local community.”
With such a successful business, many would be surprised at the low-key element of DrumCircle’s concept.
“We offer tours of the distillery and people are shocked at our operation, but in a good way,” said Roberts.
“Either they picture us making the rum in a bathtub and are surprised to see we’re a well-organized operation or, others expect to see employees running around. No one realizes we’re a small company – it’s just myself and my business partner Tom Clarke busting our butts every day. I describe myself as the cook, the scientist and the guy who fixes things and mops the floors. It’s a perfect fit for me.”
And although you’ll never find a bearded pirate caricature wandering among the stills of DrumCircle Distilling (“We’re too classy for that,” said Roberts), the essence of a sunny day relaxing at the beach will always be found in a bottle of Roberts’ rum.
For further information, visit: drumcircledistilling.com