The Second Annual LA Rum Festival Includes More Tiki This Year

The LA Rum Festival, 2022. Photo by Joselina Rodríguez.

The Los Angeles Rum & Tiki Festival comes back to Downtown LA for its 2nd Annual Southern California festival Friday, September 8, 2023, from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., once again at The Majestic Ballroom.

This year will also feature an adjacent event with sessions located at Roxanne’s in Long Beach on Saturday, September 9, 2023.

The “boutique-style” event will offer Grand Tastings and seminar events this year to showcase select brands that “emphasize the education and premiumization of the rum,” as well as provide seminars on the second day with an emphasis on rum Tiki cocktails and some movers and shakers of the Southern California Tiki Bar culture.

Plantation Rum at the LA Rum Festival, 2022. Photo by Lee Joseph.

The Los Angeles Rum & Tiki Fest will feature a generous selection of international rums, with selections from companies and distilleries such as Chairmen’s Reserve, Bounty, Admiral Rodney rums and Marigot Bay Rum Creams of the island of Saint Lucia, Ron Barcelo and Chinola Passion Fruit Liqueur of the Dominican Republic, El Dorado of Demerara-Guyana, Rum-Bar, Long Pond, MonyMusk, and Worthy Park from Jamaica, Plantation Rum from Barbados, Rhum Clement and Rhum J.M of Martinique, Saint Benelovence Rum Clairin and Barbancourt of Haiti, KōHana Rum and Kuleana Rum of Hawaii, English Harbour of Antigua, Selva Rey Rum of Panama, Botran Rum from Guatemala, Isautier of Saint-Pierre, Diplomático, Ron Carupano and Santa Teresa Rum of Venezuela, Tanduey from The Philippines, Deadhead and Bonampak from Chiapas, Mexico, Cañada Rum from Santa Maria Tlalixtac, Oaxaca, Flor de Caña of Nicaragua, Copalli of Belize, Bayou Rum from Louisiana, or Gosling Rum and its Spirited Seas, a rum ages in vintage American White Oak barrels for a year at sea.

Other rums featured are from Spiribam, Impex (Black Tot, Impex, Lemon Hart Rum), Rum Saison, Ten to One, Maison Velier, Ron Izalco, Pyrat, and more.

The Rum Lab Marketers produces the Puerto Rico Rum Festival, Taste of Rum, Miami Rum Congress, California, New York, LA Rum Fest, San Francisco Rum Fest, and the Chicago Rum Festival, which attract “hundreds of people from trade, rum aficionados, tourists, and locals.”

Saint Benevolence Rum at the LA Rum Festival, 2022. Photo by Lee Joseph.

Friday, September 8, 2023 Sessions

The Trade “Industry” Session #1, 4-5:30 pm
For industry professionals to enjoy tastings, trade-focused seminars, and networking. For trade members only in bar, restaurant, and retail sale of beer/spirits and beverage media. (RSVP only, space limited)

VIP Rum Experts Session #2, 4-9 pm
A five-hour program offering early admission, an exclusive tasting cup by The NEAT Glass, premium rum tasting, and access to two VIP Seminars and consumer seminars.

The Spirit of Haiti by La Maison and Velier (VIP’s), 4:15 – 5 p.m.
Guest speaker, Johann Jobello of La Maison and Velier, will explore the Haitian terroir through its local spirit, Clairin. Learn about the categorical differences that make Clairin so unique as well as the iconic styles of five single producers from five different villages.

VIP Rum Enthusiastic Session #3, 5-9 pm
A four-hour program offering one-hour early admission, an exclusive tasting cup presented by The NEAT Glass, taste premium rums, and access to one VIP Seminar.

Monymusk Overproof – Culture, Identity, More than a Spirit (VIP’s) – 5:15 – 6 pm
This seminar features Jamaica’s iconic brand, Monymusk rum, with Guest Speakers, Robert Gordon, Blender, and Kimberly Williams, Master Blender Apprentice, and Moderator, Adrienne Stoner. (VIP Seminar. RSVP only, space limited)

Rum Aficionados General Admission Tasting Session #4, 6-9 pm
A 3-hour program offering the attendees an exclusive tasting cup presented by The NEAT Glass, premium rum tasting, and consumer seminars.

100% Estate Grown Rum, 6:15-7 pm
Learn about and taste 100% Estate exquisite rum from 100% estate-grown rum brands/companies during the seminar.

The Holy Trinity and Other Tropical Potions, 7:15 – 8 pm
“Rum cocktails and spirit drinks have captivating stories, beliefs, and histories attached to the islands they come from.” Stir up and blend lore, and perhaps a bit of fantasy, into your future cocktails after learning on the history and ritual connected to rum drinks of various Caribbean islands. Featured Speaker, Bryan Inman, @TheRumChampion on Instagram and North America Rum Influencer of the Year.

The Misconception of Spanish-Styled Rum, 8:15 – 9 pm
Hosted by Kiowa Bryan, and Bryan Inman, this seminar, four experts, Luis Báez,  Federico Hernández, Otto Flores, and Zan Kong, will explain and show how rum varies per country and speak on the misconceptions of what and how a Spanish-styled rum must be made and taste.

Designated Driver
This pass is only for designated drivers who will not be drinking at the event, where a sampling cup will not be given. Note that designated drivers seen with a drink will be asked to leave the event.

The event will also have a Tiki Bazaar with vendors such as Match Accessories—purveyors of vintage-inspired accessories, Spirited Sweets Chocolates—booze-infused chocolates!, Fancy Fruits—vintage aloha wear and hair accessories, and more.

LA Rum Festival, 2022. Photo by Lee Joseph.

According to the site, “the U.S. is considered one of the rum industry’s most significant countries. Before the American Revolution, rum was the most consumed spirit” with California alone being one of the “largest rum consumer markets in the USA.”

Event Location #1: The Majestic Downtown

The Majestic Downtown is a gorgeous iconic 30,000 sq ft venue space and frequent filming location. A truly elegant part of the Beaux Arts movement in design constructed in 1924, this exceptional historical landmark’s interior decor features an Indiana limestone facade, crystal chandeliers, high hand-painted Italian ceilings, arched windows, sculpted marble columns, and original marble floors.

For the festival, The Rum Lab has partnered with nearby hotels, The Proper Hotel & The Freehand LA, to give attendees exclusive discounts for The LA Rum Fest weekend.

Session tickets range from $45 – $200 at Eventbrite, with a session for Designated Driver at $20. RSVP’s and advanced ticket purchases are encouraged as all online sales end September 8, 2023, and sessions may sell out.

The Majestic Downtown – 650 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

Saturday, September 9, 2023 Sessions – at Roxanne’s in Long Beach

101 of Rum Distillation Wille’s Tin Shop, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Join Forrest Cokely as he teaches the basics of distillation. There is certainly no better place than learning from the Master Distiller himself at the distillery.

Ray Buhen and the Legendary Tiki-Ti, 1:50 pm – 2:50 pm
Spend a fascinating hour with podcaster, historian, and avid fan and supporter of the Buhen family, Adrian Eustaquio, as he presents the story of Roman Realista Buhion (better known as Ray Buhen), the famous tropical mixologist and founder of the small, but mighty, Tiki-Ti bar in Los Angeles, California. While Adrian walks you through the timeline and legacy of Ray Buhen and the Tiki-Ti, see historical photos from the Buhen family’s personal archives and hear stories directly from Ray’s son and grandson, Mike Buhen Sr and Mike Buhen Jr.

160 years of Haitian RHUM Tradition, 3:10 pm – 4:10 pm
With guest Speaker Vladimir de Delva, featuring Barbancourt rum. “Since its creation in 1862, Rhums Barbancourt has been known for its uniqueness. The founder Dupré Barbancourt explored the processes of double distillation inherited from cognac to create a unique rum in the image of Haiti.”

Event Location #2: Roxanne’s of Long Beach
Located in historic California Heights, Roxanne’s Lounge serves up “abuelita-crafted Latin favorites,” mixing its owner’s Central American heritage with American bar favorites. By night, it’s an upscale neighborhood bar with dapper bartenders, a password-only speakeasy in the back, and a lineup of house craft cocktails unlike anywhere else in Long Beach providing “expertly shaken fresh juices and small-batch spirits into an affordable pinkie-out worthy cocktail.”

Roxanne’s is at 1115 E Wardlow Rd, Long Beach, CA 90807 – (562) 426-4777

About Monique A. LeBleu

Monique A. LeBleu is a writer, photographer, videographer, and shameless foodie and wineaux. A love of film history and a background in film production, post-production, and film theory provide unique insights into her movie reviews. As well, a background in technical theater fuels her passion on all-things theater. As a foodie, living in the ever-growing and diverse culinary landscape that is the City of Los Angeles feeds her never-ending pursuit of the perfect comfort food—the world's best Mac n' Cheese!
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