Anyone who’s whizzed down North 21st Street in Ybor City lately — or been stuck in rush-hour traffic along the one-way thoroughfare — has no doubt noticed the ivory building that proudly displays two words: Gaspar’s Rum.
Um, come again? A rum named for the dude whose invasion of Tampa locals celebrate with extensive amounts of booze each year during that little celebration called Gasparilla?
Inch a bit closer to 2102 E. Fourth Ave. and Tampa Bay Rum Company’s home base comes into view. The Ybor property is where Motorcycle Boutique previously operated.
Founded in 2015 by Samuel Meyers, Tampa Bay Rum Company produces two kinds of small-batch rum under the Gaspar’s label — spiced and coconut — with Gaspar’s Silver Rum, Gaspar’s Scurvy Lime Rum and Gasparilla Spiced Rum in the works.
The distillery’s tasting room — the sole place where the aforementioned spirits can be purchased at the moment — celebrated its opening with a party on Feb. 10, featuring free samples and a tour ahead of the annual Knight Parade.
“The ghost of Jose Gaspar and his marauding pirate crew can still be felt within the ancient walls of our distillery,” according to the Tampa Bay Rum Company website, “and you will be transported to yesteryear whilst sampling our Gaspar’s and Gasparilla Rum’s at our Buccaneer Bar.”
With a story that embraces Tampa and its maritime ties, the distillery is regularly open to the public for tours and tastings from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Visitors are also welcome to buy their own 750-milliliter bottles of rum, which cost $30 each.