Phil Prichard

Master Distiller and Blender at
Prichard's Distillery in Tennessee

Speaking of rum prior to 1999, one would think of fruity concoctions, paper umbrellas and palm trees. Phil Prichard had another idea however. He thought of another time, a time when Thomas Jefferson referred to rum as the poor man's brandy. America's greatest export in Colonial America, this was a time when rum played a very important role in shaping the history and economic future of America.

Phil would explore the history of how rum was made in over a hundred distilleries in New England well over two hundred years ago. He set about to revive its ancient roots, offering up a traditional American Rum at a time when the nation was rediscovering its patronage after 9/11/2001.

American rum was very different than the popular rums of the Caribbean. Tropical rums, mostly made from Black Strap Molasses, bore much of the characteristic flavor of this bitter residue of the sugar refining industry. When Phil tried to make rum from black strap in a pot still, the bitter acrid smell took three weeks to purge. When he made his rum from sweet, table grade molasses, he understood the rum to which Thomas Jefferson referred.

Building the first rum distillery in Tennessee was no easy task.

With an idea, a dream and tenacity, Prichard's Distillery commenced operation in Kelso, Tennessee in 1999. Phil and his wife Connie would be joined in the coming months by sons Philip and Seth in a true entrepreneurial family venture.