Crows Craft Brewing and Distilling Company, founded by former Razorback lead singer Jose Mari Cuervo, just marked yet another historic milestone in the Philippine beverage industry with the e-launch of its newest product, a rum called Crows Nest Agrikultura. The fun virtual party was held last August 15 via Zoom, and livestreamed on Facebook Live.
While the Philippines is well known for its locally produced rums, this Crows Nest Agrikultura is in a class by itself. It is the country’s first “Agricole-style” white rum, a style prevalent in the French Caribbean. The difference lies in the kind of sugar used, in this case, fresh sugarcane juice (sometimes called sugarcane honey). On the other hand, our local rums like Tanduay, Old Captain, and Don Papa use the more traditional molasses, a by-product of sugar production.
Crows Nest Agrikultura stands out as a white rum in its purest form, with no added sugar or additives of any kind. It’s neither untainted by any barrel nor compounded by any other flavor than the cane juice itself. This rum tends to have a more upfront, fresh, grassy (sugarcane is actually a type of grass), herbaceous taste versus the more familiar sweeter flavors of caramel and vanilla that one generally associates with molasses-based rums. But it still offers a refreshing natural sweetness that Cuervo attributes to the good quality of the sugarcane used. This slight sweetness makes this Crows Nest rum a tad more approachable and enjoyable than most imported Agricole rums which tend to be too “funky,” especially for newbie rum drinkers.
The quality of this Crows Nest Agrikultura lies in its product, sugarcane, which happens to be handpicked by a Crows staff member who used to be a cane farmer from a sugar plantation in Batangas. After the sugarcane is picked, the freshly cut sugar cane is pressed and fermented within 24 hours from harvest for optimum flavor.
Cuervo has been a pioneer in the Philippine craft spirits industry since 2013. He started by brewing his own line of craft beer at the height of the domestic craft beer revolution. He then launched the Philippines’ first craft gin in February 2017, followed by the country’s first craft single malt whisky in March 2019. For the distillery’s sixth anniversary, Cuervo launched Eau de Vie Mangue (mango brandy) in September 2019.
After beer, gin, whisky, and brandy, why then rum? According to Cuervo, he wanted to create a spirit that best reflects the Philippine terroir, or how a region’s natural environment (soil, climate, sunlight, etc.) can give a product its distinctive characteristics. While his other brands have a bit of the Philippines in them—local botanicals for his gin, Philippine mango for his Eau de Vie Mangue—it is the Crows Nest Agrikultura Rum that is 100% purely Philippine made from farm to bottle.
To order, send a direct message to @crowscraftbrewing on Instagram and Facebook
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