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Ian Burrell's Equiano - Interview & Rum Review

Updated: May 2

Equiano is a new rum brand that is labeled as the world's first African & Caribbean rum. It's a blend of rums from Mauritius (Grays Distillery) and Barbados (Foursquare Distillery), blended in Barbados by Richard Seale.

There are four business partners behind the brand, with the most well known one being Ian Burrell. Luckily, he was willing to sit down for an interview about himself, UK Rumfest and Equiano. Following the interview you can find my own thoughts about the rum.

Many people only know you as the Global Rum Ambassador, but you are a family man as well. How many kids do you have and how old are they?

I have two boys at home. The eldest is 6 years and youngest is 3 years.

Is it difficult to combine family life with such a globe trotting type of job?

It wasn't last year as there was not much travelling by anyone. (LOL) But usually there are times where it is difficult, but I made my bed, created my own position and determine when I do and don't work, so it's easier than if I had a boss telling where to be.

I'm pretty sure you didn't wake up one morning and decided to create the Global Rum Ambassador job and image for yourself. What did the road leading up to this look like? I vaguely remember a rap video.

LOL, well I was making cocktails behind bars while I was making music videos. While working behind the bar in the mid 1990's I was asked to represent J Wray & Nephew UK as the first UK Rum brand ambassador. While building a name for myself, a presenter of rum stories and history, I was given the opportunity to help launch Appleton Estate rums in New Zealand & Australia. The thought of being paid to travel the world and sample rum was an exciting one, but I also realised that there was no go to person for rum brands to use to tell their stories. So I decided it was going to be me.

Ian Burrell

You are founder and organizer of UK Rumfest, which was the first of its kind in the world. Many have followed. Did you ever think it would have as much of an impact as it's had?

100% no. I could never have imagined that the UK RumFest would go onto influence rum festivals around the world or help the industry to achieve its goal of getting as much "liquid on lips", thus helping the growth of the rum category. Consumers could learn about rum from ambassadors, blenders and distillers directly and then make informed opinions about the spirit. The biggest honour I receive is when brands personally thank me for what I have done or am doing for the rum category.

UK Rumfest is a massive operation. How much of your time is spent preparing and organizing it through the year?