SARASOTA, Fla. - Siesta Key is known across the country for it's pristine, white sand beaches but one local company is hoping Siesta will soon become synonymous with something else: rum.
Siesta Key Rum is set to make its national debut this week, all from a start-up company in Sarasota that managed to survive and thrive even in a tough economy.
Troy Roberts may have what some would call a dream job. "I get to make rum all day," said Roberts, "there are a lot worse things to be doing."
And his business partner Tom Clarke feels the same. "It's unlike any job or position out there," said Clarke.
Back in 2007, they started Drum Circle Distilling in Sarasota, wanting to make their own premium rum.
"We do everything manually," said Roberts, "we put it into tanks, filter it, put it into bottles, everything by ourselves."
But it wasn't until 2010 that they had a product good enough to start selling. And the distilling process itself isn't easy. "It's very labor intensive," said Roberts, "It's hard physical work."
After selling locally for the past two years, bottles of Siesta Key Rum will hit shelves all across the nation starting this week.
"This is the first time we're branching out of the state, we're going to ten new places and it's a big opportunity for us," said Roberts.
And everything about this rum is made in Sarasota. "Our labels are printed in Florida, we use molasses from Florida sugar cane, and we have a graduate from the Ringling School of Art who does our labels," said Clarke.
Roberts says success in a tough economy came mostly from two things: hard work and persistence.
"We've gotten out there, and we just pound the pavement, we do a lot of samplings, we do a lot of tastings, to get people to try the rum and we just keep chipping away at it," said Roberts.
Each batch of rum yields between 90 and 100 bottles. They make three different versions: spiced, gold and silver.
You can buy Siesta Key Rum at many local locations, such as Siesta Spirits, as well as Publix Liquors, ABC Liquors and Total Wine locations across Florida -- and soon, nationwide.