A new purpose-driven premium rum brand has landed on UK shores and founder Lee Smith said it was all inspired by his son.
The idea for a sea turtle-saving rum was hatched during a family holiday in Jamaica last year.
Lee said: “I was sitting there watching the sunset and enjoying a glass of rum and it struck me – what if we could bring incredible rum from the Caribbean and Latin America and also do our bit to support one of the region’s most celebrated creatures?
“For as long as I can remember, my son Billy has adored sea turtles and the ocean. When he learned about the threat that these ancient creatures now face – all seven species are today either endangered or threatened – he wanted to do something to help, and so did I.”
The idea for Lost Years rum was then born and now becomes the debut brand from independent rum house Cane & Able, which is run by Lee.
With rum being recently crowned the drink of lockdown and having enjoyed the biggest growth across all spirits during lockdown, Lee is excited for the brand’s future.
Lee said the marine conservation rum brings the taste of the Caribbean and Latin America direct to drinkers. Available via lostyearsrum.com, the hand-bottled craft range includes authentic aged and unaged rums from some of the world’s best and most revered distilleries. Every bottle sold saves up to 10 baby sea turtles.
Lost Years aims to save more than 500,000 hatchlings over the next few years, helping protect one of the world’s oldest and most endangered inhabitants. Cash from every sale will help fund community-based conservation efforts at key turtle nesting sites across the Caribbean and Latin America.
The name Lost Years is a reference to the early years of a sea turtle’s life – after hatching they disappear beneath the waves and aren’t seen again for up to a decade. “Where they go during these ‘lost years’ is one of nature’s great mysteries,” said Lee.
It has taken a year for the entrepreneur to make this dream a reality, from sourcing world class rums from the region, to finding the right non-profit partner to ensure the money raised gets where it is needed.
Cane & Able has formed a long-term partnership with US-based non-profit organisation SEE Turtles, which was set up in 2008 as the world’s first effort to protect these species through ecotourism.
Brad Nahill, president of SEE Turtles, said: “We are excited to partner with Cane & Able on the new Lost Years rum. For each bottle sold, a donation will go to help support sea turtle conservation programs at important nesting beaches across Latin America and the Caribbean. These funds will help keep local community members out patrolling nesting beaches at a time when little volunteer help and outside funding is available.”