COASTE | DEC 2016 - JAN 2017

at the International Rum Conference Madrid — and took home gold. Add to these awards at the American Distilling Institute, Spirits of the Americas, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and more, and you have the makings of a folk tale come true: the little rum that could. But not only is Wicked Dolphin a popular rum that’s now in five states, the Cape Coral distillery has become a tourism destination of sorts and a highly praised TripAdvisor attraction, hosting more than 25,000 people annually for tours, trinkets and — best of all — free samples. With all this attention and growth, the Elardos are looking down the road — literally and figuratively. Recently, they purchased a parcel of land adjacent to the distillery, enabling Wicked Dolphin to expand its capacity in production and tours. Plus sometime before the end of the year, Wicked Dolphin will foray into vodka with its own signature label that JoAnn promises “will rival the best vodkas out there.”

And further down the road—roughly eightmiles, to be exact —Elardo has taken her company in an altogether different direction with the October opening of Big Blue Brewing, a brew pub and restaurant in Cape Coral managed by her other nephew Joe Termini, twin brother (almost identical) of head distiller Dan. Big Blue Brewing is a delightfully hip and happening place, with six signature beer labels, a light and tempting menu, plus an attractive and highly creative décor that is, once again, the amazing vision of its owner. But despite where these ventures may take her, JoAnn Elardo wants to remain true to her passion: quality. “I don’t have any real desire to create this huge company,” she says. “There’s nothing wrong with being a great boutique, and we will always want to be a great Florida rum. That’s a good story to be able to tell.” 239.242.5244 {


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