Session: The History of Rum in New England

Brent Ryan

This session, co-hosted by Brent Ryan of Thomas Tew Rum and Frank Martucci of the United States Bartenders' Guild, will explore the history of this spirit in the Northeast.

Brent Ryan

Master Distiller, Thomas Tew Rum

In 2006, the crew at Coastal Extreme Brewing Co. in Newport, RI made the leap from only brewing beer, to distilling a spirit. And not just any spirit- a spirit that was once a standard and a bartering currency overseas; one that would take years just to distill a single batch; and one that would put our local operation on the map. Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum is a recreation of the rum of the past in Newport, RI, distilled by Newport Distilling Co. The resurrection of this rum came from the strong presence of rum history in Newport, and the desire to bring back that tradition.

Thomas Tew Rum uses fermented blackstrap molasses, brewers yeast from sister company, Newport Storm's, brewery and a copper pot still, in the fashion of 1769 distillers. Each batch ages in a single barrel for several years in once-used bourbon barrels, before it's hand selected by Master Distiller, Brent Ryan and his distilling crew, and determined to be market-ready. Newport Distilling Co. was founded in 2006, with the first batches of Thomas Tew hitting markets by 2008. At the beginning of 2013, the rum expanded it's distribution beyond it's home state of Rhode Island, to various other markets around the country, and continues to grow.

Frank Martucci

General Manager of Beverage Operations, Twin River Casino

National Vice President, United States Bartenders’ Guild

Frank Martucci

Frank Martucci has been in the hospitality industry for over 20 years. The start of his beverage experience began in Princeton, New Jersey, where as a bartender he mastered the art of crafting margaritas for Casa Lupita Restaurant. Frank was very active with community events serving as the Logistic Co-Chair for March Of Dimes Walk America, The Guinness Book of Record Volleyball Event, and American Cancer Society Committee Jail and Bail Fundraiser. Frank went on to work for the Chart House Restaurants for over 12 years in Philadelphia, PA, Maui, Hawaii and Newport, Rhode Island. Over the course of the 12 years Frank was selected Employee of the Year and was a member of the Chart House Navigator Program (trainer for implementing F&B programs). From 2000-2003, Frank oversaw the Food & Beverage Outlets at the Newport Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa. During this timeframe, Frank enhanced their F&B outlets such as Pineapple’s On The Bay that included a creative cannon ball nightly Champagne Sunset Toast, a tradition that still goes on each summer night and the annual Martini, Manhattan & More Cocktails Competition, which is now in its 11th year.

From 2003-2007, Frank was the Food & Beverage Director for Newport Grand Slots. He was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of a multiple food and beverage operations within the company and redeveloping their beverage and guest service programs. In 2007, Frank started Project Broken Wheel, a program that works with local law enforcement agencies and the community by utilizing their unclaimed, lost, stolen or unwanted bicycles in an effort to refurbish bicycles for underprivileged children in Rhode Island. To date this program has donated close to 300 bicycles.

Since 2007, Frank has been the General Manager of Beverage Operations at Twin River Casino. Frank’s focus and passion has been to develop and provide programs for individuals in order to advance their careers and elevate guest service. Wanting to showcase the spirit of the beverage industry in Rhode Island, Frank created ‘The New England Nightclub & Beverage Expo’ in 2008, which received much praise from the beverage community across the country. In addition that same year, Frank created the National “Beast of the East” Flair Bartending Competition with competitors from California, Las Vegas, Canada and the East Coast, as well as the Iron ‘Tender Competition, which incorporated Johnson & Wales University students. Martucci started the Project 86 Hunger program at Twin River Casino and has also served on the Salve Regina Scholarship Wine Gala event committee. In 2011, Frank co-founded and became President of the Rhode Island United States Bartenders’ Guild and created the 1st USBG Northeast Conference, which brought together Northeast Chapters for events that focused on education, networking and community service projects. During 2011, Frank received the Barsmarts Advanced certification and was invited to attend the Pioneers in Mixology event in New York City. In 2012, Twin River Casino selected Martucci to receive the company’s Inaugural ‘Heroes Among Us’ of the Year Award for his dedication to community service. Most recently, Frank was selected to the Board of Directors for the United States Bartenders’ Guild National Charity Foundation, was appointed as the National Vice President of the United States Bartenders’ Guild and the National Nightclub & Bar Convention Advisory Board. In August 2013 Frank will represent the United States as a Delegate at the 62nd World Cocktail Competition in Prague, Czech Republic. Frank lives in Bristol, RI with his beautiful, wonderful and understanding wife Kristen of the last 13 years.

Published March 19th, 2013