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Tidal Rum: Meet the producer

07 July 2020

Ever had to forage to enjoy your favourite alcoholic beverage?

That’s exactly what Ben Clyde-Smith and Harry Coulthard, founders of Tidal Rum, do to create the distinctive taste of their oak-smoked and seaweed-infused rum.

Thanks to Jersey’s huge tidal range – the third largest in the world – the pair behind Tidal Rum forage for a seaweed only found in a handful of places across the globe.

And it is the taste of Pepper Dulse which makes their rum stand out among others. And Harry jokes, he has tasted a fair few!

Harry and Ben throw a bottle of rum between them

How was Tidal Rum born? 

The duo met at Manchester University and have both extensively travelled the world, tasting different food and drink on their travels.

Harry says they both love rum and knew that the tipple was making a comeback as a more classy, beginning-of-the-night drink rather than something you shot at the end of the evening.

Harry says: ‘We always knew it was rum we wanted to produce and it has been a huge learning curve for us and we have learnt along the way through experimenting.’

Why seaweed-infused rum? 

Harry and Ben forage Jersey’s shores with local, outdoor expert Kazz Padidar.

Harry said: ‘We’ve known Kazz for a while and love going out foraging with him and he introduced us to Jersey Pepper Dulse seaweed. We initially tried lots of different seaweeds and they all have these really different flavours, but the Pepper Dulse had this amazing rich and earthy flavour which we loved.

‘It tastes of the sea and takes you back to our history with the ocean.’

The seaweed is responsibly harvested between October and May. It is then gently oak smoked and infused. The rum is made in the Caribbean and then finished in Jersey.

Are islanders changing the way they drink rum? 

‘We want people to drink rum in a more refined way and move away from that pirate image,’ Harry smiles.

‘We are trying to change the connotation of how rum is drunk. We don’t want it to be something you drink at the end of the night – we want people to sit and enjoy it and have a couple throughout the evening.

‘For me drinking the Tidal Fresh with half a lime, loads of ice and topped up with soda is the perfect way to drink it. This drink is naturally low in calories, refreshing, and the flavour of the rum comes through beautifully.'

What does it mean to be a local producer and how has the journey been so far? 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic Tidal Rum have had to change the way they do things, with venues and pubs being closed for several weeks. But the support of islanders and their local Co-op has kept them going.

Harry said: ‘It’s really important to us that we are local and are getting that support from islanders. We have been selling the rum via Fetch.je during the crisis and that has been working well for us.

‘I think a lot of people have been making nice food with local ingredients at home and they want something nice to drink to go with it.’

Harry also says the pair are building some good relationships with different venues in the island and can’t wait to be back at festivals next summer.

He adds: ‘It’s great to have the support of the Co-op, as it is almost that seal of approval. It’s really good to be supported by an established brand. If people are already in the store and buying alcohol then it’s good that we are there, as they may choose our rum. We want as many people as possible to try our product.'

What’s next for Tidal Rum?

‘The plan for the next year is to make better connections with other tidal locations across the UK,’ Harry said.

‘We are experimenting with different products and ideally we would have our own smokehouse but at the moment we are happy with how everything is going.’

Try it for yourself next time you shop with us. Tidal Rum is available to buy in selected Jersey stores.