Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving Day 2: New Orleans Amber

One other thing I picked up at the grocery was a bottle of New Orleans Amber Rum. Celebration Distillation Corp. was "the oldest premium rum distillery on the U.S. mainland" (it was founded in 1995); they used Louisiana sugarcane to produce single barrel and blended rums that I've heard were pretty good. I've always meant to pick up a bottle, but I'm not much of a rum drinker these days, so I never ended up buying any while back visiting my folks.

Unfortunately, Katrina also took a toll on Celebration. Eamonn Fitzgerald’s Rainy Day contacted the distillery back in early September and received this reply:
"Unfortunately, our distillery and the rum in it was submerged in the toxic flood water when one of the levees broke. The future of our company is uncertain, however, the employees are safely evacuated. We're glad you enjoyed Cane what we did, we don't know if or when we'll be making rum again."
I'd read this elsewhere in the aftermath of the storm, so when I saw a bottle of New Orleans Amber on the shelf at Winn-Dixie, I picked it up. They also had two bottles of New Orleans Crystal, but I passed on those. (I do kind of wish I'd spied a bottle of the five-year-old single-barrel Cane Amber, which sounds especially nice.)

New Orleans Flood Map: Celebration Distillation Corp.

According to the City of New Orleans Property Database, the distillery site is 1.5 feet below sealevel (and in an "A2" flood zone). The New Orleans Flood Map says the maximum water at the distillery address (2815 Frenchmen St., New Orleans, LA 70122) was 3.2 feet, but clicking on the satellite image of the distillery building reports water levels ranging from barely 2 feet to nearly 5 feet. in various parts of the facility. In any case, it'll be a little while before I open the bottle, I think, but it's sad to think that it could well be something that might never be made again.

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