Chalong Bay Rum is a multifaceted company based in a tranquil area of southern Phuket not far from Phuket Zoo and from a group of popular seafood restaurants. The first priority of the company is the production of high-end quality white rum which has already started to gain international recognition in the spirits’ professional community.
Chalong Bay Rum’s second facet is to organise visits of their distillery, allowing visitors to learn more about rum production and to discover the ‘backstage area’ of a successful business; the third and last facet of Chalong Bay Rum is their cocktail workshop and bar, where you can learn how to mix rum-based beverages such as Mojitos and a Ti'Punch, and then sample them. Private parties and special events can also be organised at Chalong Bay Rum.
The next time you’re raising a sundowner cocktail to toast your Phuket holidays, it’s worth reflecting on just how the spirits in your Mojito or Daiquiri are produced. The base of your rum-based cocktails comes from sugar cane and guess what? Thailand is one of the world’s largest producers of this valuable yet abundant commodity.
In fact Southeast Asia is where sugar cane originates from, despite the prevalence of the crop in the Caribbean – it was good old Christopher Columbus who introduced sugar cane to the Caribbean and somewhat predictably both the French and the British claim to have invented rum.
All imported and locally produced rums are in fact industrial rums and, as many have discovered, sugar cane residue-molasses rum is agreeably cheap but does not have flavour or quality of pure sugar cane juice-based rum. Note that about 90% of world's rum production is industrial (using molasses from sugar production), and even the most reputed white rum brands such as Bacardi or Havana Club are produced industrially.
Things are about to change: Marine Lucchini and Thibault Spithakis, two young French entrepreneurs, have established a distillery that produces top-grade white rum near Chalong on Phuket’s east coast. This clear and pure liquor is manufactured in Phuket, using only 'best-of-crop' Thai sugarcane and centuries old French distillation methods.
It’s worth mentioning that absolutely everything in the process is done by hand, and that includes cleaning, labeling, and filling the bottles! “It’s artisanal production,” says Marine who is in charge of the rum production. In fact, it’s a marriage between traditional French expertise, distillation equipment and a typical Thai product, with startlingly high-standard results.
To test the quality of their produce, Thibault and Marine flew off to Hong Kong to attend the yearly Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition where their white rum was rated top of its category. Chalong Bay Rum costs 440 baht for a small bottle (0.33l) and 640 baht for a large bottle (0.7l) (August 2017 prices).
The good part of all this is that you can visit Chalong Bay Rum and have the whole process explained to you with a cocktail of your choice afterwards (using the distillery’s rum of course). The hourly guided tours begin from 14:00 and run until 18:00 every day. Tours are in English, French, Thai, and soon in Russian. This is a unique and entertaining tour with the added bonus of a refreshing happy ending.
The latest original addition to the Chalong Bay Rum distillery experience is a cocktail workshop with sampling. This activity is available for a minimum of four persons and lasts about two hours. Guests learn how to mix properly Mojitos, Spicyrinhas and Pina Coladas, and then sample them.
Friendly and easy-going, these courses mean a good time in good company and to learn lots of interesting facts about alcohol and the best ways to make delicious cocktails. The courses are held in a dimly-lit large open-air workshop featuring wooden tables and benches, tropical plants, and a bottles display.
Besides the distillery guided tours and cocktail workshops, Chalong Bay Rum can organize private events (birthdays, weddings and any other private parties) as well as team building and incentive events (with a professional coach). The Cocktail Bar and boutique is open daily from 11:00 to 22:00.
Chalong Bay Rum
- Location: 14/2 Moo 2, Soi Palai 2, Chalong
- Tel: +66 (0)88 448 1343, +66 (0)82 800 4701