, Salem, MA


December 5, 2012

Rum's the word

Childhood friends off and running with business after career changes


The copper still, specially designed for Turkey Shore, was built to capture flavor, Perry said.

“For us, it’s about maximizing flavor,” he said.

Turkey Shore rums are meant to be sippable, consumed “neat,” on the rocks or combined in cocktails. As a craft distiller, Turkey Shore is part of a growing number of artisan rum-makers — the antithesis of the commercially made rums that many people think of for a rum and cola or tropical drink.

“Rum is the fastest-growing segment (of spirit-makers),” Perry said. “The word ‘premium rum’ didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

Turkey Shore makes white and tavern-style rums year-round and recently introduced limited-edition seasonal rums. The Golden Marsh fall rum is made with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg and other spices.

A bottle of the white rum retails for about $22, while the tavern-style is between $24 and $26, Perry said.

Perry was a rum drinker and aficionado before going into the business, he said. Previously, he taught high school history; Parker was an Ipswich clammer. They are both 35.

Now, Perry runs the business side of Turkey Shore while Parker concentrates on the rum-making. Parker took several intensive courses on distilling as their business was getting off the ground.

“From there, it was trial and error,” Perry said. “I have to say we produced some pretty lousy stuff (at first). But you have to start somewhere.”

Parker and Perry are Turkey Shore’s only full-time employees. They produce approximately 10,000 bottles of rum per year.

Perry said they’d like to increase production — they plan on moving into Ipswich Ale’s space next door, once the company opens its new brewery downtown. That will allow Turkey Shore to expand a little and offer more tours and tastings, he said.

But they’ll always be a regional brand, he said, keeping the majority of sales at liquor stores, bars and restaurants in New England.

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