GuildSomm Rum Podcast

In this episode, Master Sommelier  explores the vast world of rum. First, he interviews Shawn Martin, distillery manager of Papa's Pilar Rum in Key West, who discusses the production methods used to make myriad styles of rum. Then, Chris speaks with Ian Burrell, the global rum ambassador, about rum's origins in the Caribbean, how the colonial power of the Royal Navy informs the legacy of rum, and how the category continues to evolve, and more. 

This month’s blind tasting segment with  features , proprietor of forthcoming wine shop Rocks + Acid in Chapel Hill. Can you identify the grape and region purely based on Paula's tasting note? Additionally,  reveals the wine he presented in the  Emerging Regions: Vermont & The Finger Lakes episode


In this episode:

Shawn Martin balances his time between his two passions: rum and marine conservation. Shawn leads Papa's Pilar's rum-making operations in Key West, under the guidance of Master Blender & Distiller Ron Call. With innovation at the forefront of Papa's Pilar rum-making and blending, Shawn relishes experimenting with different flavors and finishes of rum to create bold, distinctive blends. 

When he’s not blending rum in the Key West distillery, you can find Shawn at The College of The Florida Keys working as an adjunct professor in the Environmental Technology department or working to protect the marine environment of the Florida Keys as chair of the Florida Keys chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. 

Ian Burrell is the world’s only recognized global rum ambassador. Based in the UK, Ian was formerly a pro basketball player and recording artist, and now travels the world leading rum training sessions, having taught masterclasses and judged competitions on seven continents. Additionally, Ian is the rum and cocktail specialist on The UK’s television show “Sunday Brunch,” where he is regularly seen by millions of viewers educating celebrity guests on the rum category.

In 2007, Ian founded The UK RumFest, the world’s first international Rum festival, which has since inspired rum festivals around the world, in destinations from Miami to Berlin to Hong Kong to Mauritius. Ian was awarded International Brand Ambassador of the Year at the 2018 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, and in 2020 was named 10th Most Influential Person in the Global Bar Industry by the magazine Drinks International.

In 2019, Ian and his business partners launched Equiano rum, the world’s first African Caribbean rum and an homage to abolitionist Olaudah Equiano.

 is the founder and owner of Rocks + Acid, the mission-based wine shop and tasting room opening this spring in Chapel Hill, NC.

Prior to establishing her business, Paula was the Beverage Director for the Fearrington House Inn and Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, NC. She also spent two years as a senior sommelier at Eleven Madison Park in New York City, during which time the restaurant received the Outstanding Service award from the James Beard Foundation. 

Paula is an award-winning sommelier and wine educator and has been recognized by Wine Enthusiast as one of five Filipino and Filipino-American Sommeliers Changing the Narrative in the United States.

Blind wine reveal:

Early in the episode,  returns to reveal the wine he tasted with Emily in October's podcast episode, Emerging Wine Regions: Vermont & The Finger Lakes. If you haven't yet heard Kelly's tasting description yet, listen to the final 14 minutes of that episode. You can find the wine here.

Kelly has worked in wine for 17 years as a sommelier, beverage director, and sales rep, and has even worked in retail. He enjoys rainy days, good books, and baking. He can often be found traveling and laughing with his husband over a bottle of Sherry, Champagne, or Riesling.