Privateer Rum Grows Beyond Micro-Distillery Status

The Ipswich distillery has undergone a major expansion to add a tasting room, more products, and public tours.
privateer rum

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Local top-shelf rum producer, Privateer, is undergoing a major expansion that will enable them to double production, according to founder Andrew Cabot. The distillery, located at 28 Mitchell Road in Ipswich, has purchased the adjacent warehouse space in their building, affording them an extra 10,000 square feet for a new tasting area, a barrel room, and far more space in which to conduct their day-to-day operations.

“It’s a multiphase expansion and it began with taking over this whole building which is almost 20,000 square feet,” Cabot says. “What complicates the project is that it’s still a highly regulated space. For instance, if I’ve moved my distillery wall one inch, it’s as if I’ve moved it across town. Essentially, what we have to do is start all over again. It’s not quite as bad as getting your original license to operate, but it does require you to not enter your new space until you’ve received all the licenses for the changes. That can take three, four, or even five months. So, what he had to do as part of this expansion is to take the 7,500 square feet that we were already in and cram everything into while we expand our capacity.”

In addition to the extra 5,000 square feet in the working distillery—which will allow them to produce over 2,000 bottles a week—Privateer is constructing a new 7,500 square foot hospitality area. Part of the new space will be dedicated to retail, but there will also be an elegant, elevated tasting room that overlooks the whole distillery. Cabot predicts the construction to be completed by June, but in the meantime, the distillery has opened the public, providing exclusive guided tours, something formerly reserved for industry personnel.

privateer rum

Photo provided

Privateer currently makes two types of rum, a Silver Reserve aged about 12 weeks, and a True American Amber Rum that sits in the cask for up to three years. As part of the expansion, Cabot and his team will be introducing new products, including a navy strength (around 110 proof) rum called Navy Yard.

“Navy Yard is a cask strength rum that also takes about two to three years to make,” Cabot says. “It’s something bartenders around Boston have been asking us to make for quite a while. We revisited a category that had less than good habits: a lot of additives and a lot of manipulations to the spirit. It’s been fun revisiting how real rum is made.”

Distribution for Privateer products has almost exclusively been limited to accounts in Massachusetts and New York, but with increased production, the distillery will now be shipping to several new markets, including Colorado, California, and Washington D.C. Friday and Saturday tours at the distillery can be reserved online. Privateer conducts a 75-minute tour at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.

privateer rum

Photo provided

28 Mitchell Rd., Ipswich; 978-356-0477 or privateerrum.com.