COASTE | DEC 2016 - JAN 2017

“If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it the best,” she explains. “We did a lot of homework and never rush anything. We’ve worked very hard to perfect our craft, we’ve invested a lot of time and money, and we were lucky enough that we could survive a year or two.”

In the beginning, Wicked Dolphin focused on producing its “Reserve” product line — various rum flavors aged one, two, three years or longer in American white oak barrels that previously matured whiskey. It’s one reason why the first batch of rum distilled in 2012 wasn’t bottled for

sale until a year later. But over time, restaurants and clubs have approached Wicked Dolphin about a lighter rum that would go nicelywithmixed drinks, and a “Premium” line was launched. Nevertheless, JoAnn has a special affinity for quality “and we still have some of the original batch that we’ll age for 20 years.”

To make Wicked Dolphin the best it could be, JoAnn made two very important decisions early in the company’s history: she hired a master distiller to work at the Cape Coral distillery for almost a year, and convinced her nephew Dan Termini — a Long Islander who had dabbled in craft beers but also came with a

“I looked at the bottle and saw that it was produced in Canada,” she recalls. “That’s when I thought: why aren’t we making a Florida rum?” __ JoAnn Elardo

mechanical background — to apprentice with him as head distiller. “Dan’s craft beer experience made for a nice and easy transition, and his mechanical background doesn’t hurt when you’ve got a bunch of distilling equipment that always needs fixing.”

This affinity for quality is what’s garnered Wicked Dolphin so much attention in the rum world. In 2013, its first year,WickedDolphinwon a gold “Best in Class” at the Miami Rum Renaissance. In 2014 and 2015, Wicked Dolphin took to the world stage

18 COASTE | communtiy


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