Delve deep into rums infamous past and you may reveal tales of pillaging pirates, cures for baldness, and body preservation’s. (Yes that’s right, rumour has it Admiral Nelson was actually pickled in rum, but that’s another story). Fortunately, those days are now well and truly where they belong and at the helm of the rum revolution are some rumbelieveable legends in their own right. On National Rum Day we take the chance to chat with 8th generation Gosling, Emily Gosling, about all things rum.
How did you get into the rum business?
Goslings is a family-owned business, and once I turned 18, I began working in the retail stores and at Goslings-sponsored events during my summer breaks. I wanted to learn about every facet of the business, as Goslings is Bermuda’s largest importer of wines and spirits, as well as a rum export business. After I graduated from university, I spent a summer working for Love Drinks here in the UK, and it was then that I realized that the rum export side of the Goslings business was a true passion. At the time I realized this, I had already committed to completing a one-year Bachelor of Education in Toronto, and I had every intention of returning to London when I completed the course. However, I remained in Toronto for an additional two years, working in education and non-profits before I realized that joining the family business was what I truly wanted. I pitched the idea of becoming the company’s Canada Brand Ambassador to the seventh generation, and I began the role in January 2016. I worked alongside our Canadian distributor for two years, and learning about the business and how to be successful in my role from the time I spent in Canada was integral to my development and understanding of the industry and of Goslings as a company. Late last year, I was offered the opportunity to undertake a new challenge as Global Brand Ambassador, based in the UK. I moved to London about a month ago, and while it’s been non-stop, I know this is exactly where I’m meant to be.
Has rum always been a passion of yours?
Growing up in a family business, rum has truly been more of a way of life. I grew up watching and learning from the sixth and seventh generations, who worked so hard and sacrificed so much to help build Goslings into the company it is today. My passion and drive as Brand Ambassador is motivated by the chance to show the previous generations how thankful I am for the lessons they taught me, and for the life they gave me. I want to be able to contribute to the Goslings legacy, and represent a brand that is linked to Bermudian culture and traditions to the best of my ability.
Do you think the spirit industry is a difficult one for women to break into?
My mother, Nancy Gosling, is the President and CEO of Goslings Group of Companies. Mom could put business aside when she got home from work and essentially raise me and my sister, Victoria, as a single parent. My mother had an incredible support system, but it’s only now, after a few years working for Goslings, that I understand how difficult it is to balance work and personal life, especially in a family business. My mother’s strength, the respect she has from the industry, and her incredible work ethic meant that I never even thought to question her role as a woman in the industry. She’s been the ultimate role model, and taught me that I can accomplish anything if you’re willing to work hard for it. Of course, I experience day-to-day challenges, as it is still a largely male-dominated industry, but there are some incredible women I’ve had the pleasure of working with in the UK and Canada who are changing a game that’s long overdue for a re-write.
Should rum be drunk with mixers?
My responsibility as Brand Ambassador is to educate and challenge the customer to broaden their thinking when it comes to rum as a category. There are so many different rums out there, and at the end of the day, I can give the customer as much knowledge and background as I can. What they decide to do with the rum beyond that is their choice. Personally though? Depends on the rum.
What should we be looking for when we drink rum?
Depends what you like! The best way to find out is to try as many different rums as you can. Participate in a masterclass, ask a question on an industry Facebook group – get educated! Rum is so dynamic and has so much history. I love thinking about my job as a chance to give the customer a full experience – taste, a story and Bermudian culture in a glass. Within my own portfolio, you can be looking for different things depending on the rum you’re tasting. Our rums consist of different aged blends, they’re aged in different places, and the barrels are treated differently depending on the product. Every customer is different and will take different things from that experience. Ultimately, I want to be able to equip the customers with the tools that can help them better identify what they’re experiencing.
Where would you like to see yourself in 30 years from now?
That’s a great question but also a little overwhelming, considering I don’t know what I’ll be doing even five years from now. I do know that I’ll be involved in the business. I want to be able to say that I took advantage of opportunities to visit different parts of the world, meet new people, and share my family’s story. There are seven, eighth-generation Goslings working in the business right now, and I’m looking forward to building and strengthening the brand with them in the coming years. My job in the UK means that I’m currently 4000+ miles away from my partner, so I’m looking forward spending the next 30+ years with him, preferably living in the same place!
What’s your favourite way to drink Rum?
I go through phases, but with any drink, it’s important that the rum doesn’t get lost in the mix. The Dark ‘n Stormy® is always going to be a favourite – both for its taste as well the history and connection to Bermuda (Bermuda’s national drink!) During this hot summer, I’ve been enjoying Gold Seal Rum and soda water. It’s simple, refreshing, and delicious.
How will you be celebrating National Rum Day?
I’m hosting a masterclass at The Bishop, a Young’s Pub, in Kingston-upon-Thames, before meeting up with some Canadian rum friends at Trailer Happiness in London. Super busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.