Fruit Juice & Saltwater Add Flavor to New Rum Available in Ohio
New spirits company Saltwater Woody is making its way to Columbus via Louisville, KY. While the Bluegrass state might be known for a certain other spirit, Saltwater Woody is looking to shake things up in the world of rum.
Co-Founder Paul Heintzman says while the industry has seen innovation in a lot of other spirits, from bourbon to vodka and tequila, rum has been pretty stagnant.
“We want to create that American craft rum renaissance,” Heintzman says.
And Saltwater Woody is bringing a first to the industry. It’s the first-ever spirit to be cut to proof with saltwater.
“Salt is a flavor enhancement tool,” Heintzman says.
It’s not the only addition to the rum. Saltwater Woody comes in three flavors, Original, Lemon and Grapefruit, with the two fruit-forward flavors made with real fruit juice.
When developing the unique spirit, Heintzman says they thought of rum as a good mixer, and what’s it normally mixed with? Fruit juice. The salt came in originally as a marketing tool meant to transport the imbiber to the beach, but as Heintzman points out, salt helps to bring down bitterness and enhance the fruit’s sweet flavors.
How someone chooses to drink Saltwater Woody is really up to the kind of night someone is after. The Grapefruit and Lemon can be sipped on the rocks, and all three are ideal for mixing in cocktails. In fact, Heintzman says the more flavors, the better. The Bartender Spirit Awards gave Saltwater Woody a 96 out of 100 for mixability. And, if it’s all-in kind of night, a hard seltzer like White Claw is also a vehicle for the rum.
Saltwater Woody aims to invoke a fun, American brand, reminiscent of sipping drinks on the beach, or as their tagline has become, “tastes like the opposite of whatever a global pandemic is.”
“We wanted anyone who is drinking Saltwater Woody to be transported to senior year spring break,” Heintzman says.
For now, Ohio drinkers will have to settle solely for Saltwater Woody’s grapefruit flavor. Original and Lemon are working their way through Ohio Liquor Control, with hopes that both will be available by July.
It’s been a journey for the spirits company that’s been in production for just under a year. One week before Saltwater Woody was supposed to wrap up its first run in March 2020, COVID brought everything to a screeching halt. Instead, the brand used what base rum they had to make hand sanitizer and delayed production until May.
Heintzman says their 100% American supply chain – from the booze to the bottle – saved their business in the middle of the pandemic. The base rum is pot distilled in Florida before being shipped to Kentucky or North Carolina to be blended and cut with saltwater.
Kentucky was the first distribution state for Saltwater Woody, followed by Ohio, then Indiana, South Carolina, and as of May, Florida. A job opportunity for Heintzman’s wife brought the brand, and its new home base, to Ohio making it an early, and interesting, lesson in distribution.
Saltwater Woody is currently available at several liquor stores across the state. Once COVID restrictions ease, Heintzman looks forward to making Saltwater Woody part of Columbus’ vibrant bar and restaurant scene. He’s focused on building relationships within the industry and getting the product into the hands of bartenders who can encourage Saltwater Woody taste-testing. And once festivals are a thing again, Heintzman, and the Saltwater Woody mascot Woody, will be there in full force.
Craft rum is having a moment in Columbus. Saltwater Woody joins Echo Spirits Distilling, which recently released its Pineapple Rum, in shaking up the rum game with some new options.
For more information, visit saltwaterwoody.com.
All photos provided by Saltwater Woody