LEISURE LETTER 21: RUM DIARY
Being longtime connoisseurs of the works of Hemingway, it’s only natural that we’ve added a steady repertoire of rum-based drinks as we pursue this life of leisure. When Campesino Rum showed up on our radar, naturally DM’s started flowing back and forth and a brand love story began.
Inspired by timeless entertainment, beautiful company, and bottomless adventure, our brands share a common thread that runs deep. We recently caught up with founder Hatton Smith II on how it all began, what inspires him and his go-to rum drinks.
DDM: What’s the origin of the brand & what inspired you to start Campesino?
HS: I started the company in the states almost two years ago but the whole story kind of starts back right after high school. I’m from Alabama and grew up in the coffee business and I wanted to get as far out as I could. I was living in my parent's basement and was watching the movie Apocalypse Now and I got super into it and had this overarching urge to immerse myself as far as I could into the deepest jungle out there. At 19 I found a way to live on this sustainable food farm in Panama where they were doing some rad stuff like sustainable agriculture and living completely off the grid; no internet or electricity, basically camping under a thatched roof and a rain tarp. Needless to say, I totally fell in love with what I was doing. One day on a hike through the jungle, I ended up finding an abandoned 125-gallon pot and column rum still. So being young and ambitious, I moved into the still and learned how to make rum. I had no intention of making the spirit when I moved to Panama, but it just fell into my lap. After a ton of research, I had created my own little recipe. I found an expired Bacardi patent that helped me develop my recipe and from there let mother nature do its thing to help make the magic. So then I had my secret formula and from there just started selling it. I would sell it to travelers, students on the farm that I had lived on, just to whoever I could. This small business quickly grew and pretty soon I knew living in the jungle and just selling rum wasn’t a sustainable life path for many reasons, so I ended up moving back to the states with the idea of building a bigger brand and business and that’s where Campesino started.
DDM: What is your go-to drink/cocktail?
HS: So my go-to drink is a Rum old-fashioned, made with Campesino-aged rum, but instead of sugar I prefer local honey. I’ve also created this drink called the “Classico.” It's made with the juice of half a lime and two big spoonfuls of sugar; I fill it with rum and muddle it down. Then I fill a glass with crushed ice and top it with Topo Chico. It’s basically a rum limeade. It's fantastic!
DDM: You were gracious enough to send us a couple of bottles and before we could do a promotional shoot it was gone. Where can we find your rum?
HS: We’re in 3 different states right now: Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and about to enter into the fourth state, Florida, next month. So four states in both bars and restaurants. We work with tons of really, really awesome food and beverage people.
You can also buy direct from our website and click buy now and get a bottle of rum shipped right to your door.
DDM: Do you have anything exciting on the horizon for Campesino rum you can tell us about?
HS: We’ve got a bunch of cool new content coming out in terms of photos and videos showing more of who we are. We’re also really looking forward to expanding into Florida and making an impact there. Soon we’ll be releasing some new rum although that won’t happen for another 6 months maybe even a little longer; we’re really looking forward to that.
My goal is to make Campesino a nationwide and worldwide rum company and reach a broader demographic online. We really want to reach people and bring them a rum that will change their view of what rum can be. I really want to see a revolution for the rum category: a pure product without additives that isn’t so sweet with all that added sugar.
DDM: You seem to perfectly embrace the art of leisure. How would you say you quench your lust for leisure?
HS: Oh wow that’s such a great question. I’d say on the beach, in the sand, soaking wet with a beautiful woman in one hand and a bottle of Campesino in the other rocking my Dandy shorts. Haha