Most of the popular summer drinks involve rum. It conjures up visions of white beach chairs sitting on deep white sandy beaches with blue Caribbean waters lapping up the shore as the palm trees sway in the wind. Scents of coconut oil waft through the air as time stands still and all is right for a moment.

Rum has been around since the 17th century, spreading from the Caribbean Islands to Colonial North America, where the first American-based distillery was set up in Boston, Massachusetts.

It was the plantation slaves in the Caribbean who discovered that molasses from sugar cane could be fermented into alcohol. The name is generally thought to derive from the Latin word for sugar, saccharum, along with a host of other such as ramboozle and rumbullion. Whatever it is, that’s fine with me because rum is a staple year-round in our household.

A few years ago a new rum entered the market by none other than Kenny Chesney — king of the best summertime “beachy” songs we all sing along and get happy to. His concerts have beach balls flying through the air with concert-goers continuously keep them going around.

Chesney generally wants everyone there to have as good of a time as he is. He really found a niche in the music area that make his fans feel good and care-free. So why did he feel the need to enter into such a volatile market as the liquor industry, and capture a market that is underserved, even underappreciated by many?

I reached out with questions to Monica Gray, marketing director for Chesney’s Blue Chair Rum.

Q: When and why did the idea of wanting to start a rum company come about?

A: Kenny Chesney’s love of the islands has been well-documented throughout his career.

Blue Chair Bay Rum was born from his desire to bottle the character and soul of the islands to share that love with his fans.

Since launching in 2013, the brand has grown to include 10 premium flavors, with Chesney still the sole owner and lead decision maker for the company. From the flavor of the rum to the design of the bottle labels, Chesney remains an active participant in all decisions.

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This promotional image of country star Kenny Chesney has him holding a bottle of Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum.

Q: How is he balancing his multifaceted careers?

A: Chesney has surrounded himself with team members he trusts in all aspects of his career, which enables him to thrive in all areas. While he still oversees major decisions when it comes to both his music and Blue Chair Bay Rum, the support of his team enables him to maintain quality control across the board.

Q: Where is the rum distilled and bottled?

A: Blue Chair Bay is made in the Caribbean.

Q: Is it open for public tours?

A: Unfortunately, our distillery is not open to the public.

Q: Who comes up with the different flavors of rum?

A: Kenny Chesney makes all product decisions and directs flavor expansion. “Much like his music career, he is very involved down to the smallest detail,” says David Farmer, president of Fishbowl Spirits. The flavors currently offered are: Blue Chair Bay Spiced Rum (launched in 2019), White Rum, Coconut Rum, Banana Rum, Vanilla Rum, Coconut Spiced Rum, Key Lime Rum Cream, Banana Rum Cream, Pineapple Rum Cream and Coconut Spiced Rum Cream.

Q: What is the company’s main target group for the rum?

A: Blue Chair Bay Rum’s flavor profile is designed to celebrate Kenny Chesney’s love of island living and the Caribbean. The company’s goal is to embrace every demographic – and encourage a sense of relaxation and enjoyment in all that responsibly consume Blue Chair Bay.

Q: When a consumer first sees and tastes the product -- what is the overall experience the company hopes they take with them?

A: We hope the consumer tastes and feels both the natural and premium sides of the product as compared to other products on the shelf, and we of course hope our consumers feel like they are in the islands. Through strong sampling programs we are finding that consumers do typically respond in this way.

Q: What is Kenny Chesney's favorite out of the portfolio? Favorite recipe?

A: As Chesney is involved in the flavor process for all Blue Chair Bay Rums, he is a fan of all 10 flavors. A current favorite though is the Key Lime Rum Cream, which is reminiscent of his love for the Florida Keys with its fresh key lime notes, a rich, buttery middle and even a graham cracker crust finish – all of which make the My My My Key Lime Pie recipe delicious:

  • 3 oz. Blue Chair Bay Key Lime Rum Cream
  • .5 oz. Blue Chair Bay Vanilla Rum
  • 2 oz. coconut water
  • Rim martini glass with crushed graham crackers. Shake all ingredients together with ice, and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and a cherry.
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Blue Chair Bay Key Lime Rum is among the most popular of the 10 rums Kenny Chesney’s company is producing.

Q: What is yours?

A: Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum is the staff’s favorite pick. We love to mix up an island girl or two on occasion:

  • 1.5 oz. Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. lemon-lime soda

Q: What does Blue Chair plan on doing for holiday gift giving- any special packaging?

A: We will be releasing a 2019 commemorative bottle in the fall for the holiday season.

Rum in Review

Blue Chair Bay Key Lime Rum Cream: The best key lime cream! The lime is just right. The cream balances it out to perfection, the rum is present, but not overdone. Why make a key lime pie when you can enjoy this?

Price: Blue Chair Rums cost $23 at Riverbend Liquors in Waco.

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Lorrie Dicorte has been in the wine business for 37 years and her family for 90 years. Her grandfather, Billy Dicorte, and cousin, Tony LaBarbera, were the first to import fine wines such as Ch Lafite Rothschild. Lorrie has served on international wine competition judging panels, and is known for her keen smell and taste.

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