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Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of nationwide expansion

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  • | 7:43 a.m. January 16, 2013
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Troy Roberts deservedly celebrated a major accomplishment in spring 2012, when Publix liquor stores statewide agreed to stock rum from his locally based distillery.

Now Roberts is going for even bigger doings. The latest: Siesta Key Rum will now be sold in Total Wine and More stores, including outlets in Seattle and Los Angles. While Publix is certainly nice, Total Wine is the big leagues of the wine-beer-liquor market. “Total Wine does an educated type of sell,” says Roberts. “They don't just let products sit on a shelf.”

The Potomac, Md.-based chain will now offer Siesta Key Rum, made by the company Roberts founded in 2007, Sarasota-based Drum Circle Distilling, in 10 states. The list includes Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington state. The rum will be available in those stores in February.

The score, however, didn't come quickly. A onetime software sales executive, Roberts began to email and call Total Wine officials at least 18 months ago. He got silence most of the time, instead of outright rejections, so he just kept at it. “It's a real coup for us,” Roberts tells Coffee Talk. “They view us as a professionally run company and they love the product.”

Roberts says the rum line at Drum Circle Distilling, with him and one other employee, is currently at full capacity. He's confident he can handle the increased demand from Total Wine, though he's not opposed to doubling capacity and hiring more people if and when it's necessary.

That could come sooner rather than later. Sales, for instance, increased 77% in 2012 over 2011, says Roberts. He declines to elaborate on specific revenue figures, however he says the company, in a capital-intensive industry, now breaks even. “Things are going in the right direction,” says Roberts. “We are hoping to see good growth again this year.”

In addition to more stores and sales, the products continue to earn rave reviews. For example, the Caribbean Journal awarded Siesta Key Spiced Rum its Rummy for Best Spiced Rum of 2012. The journal says the rum is “the best spiced rum currently on the market” and the competition “wasn't close.”


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