The Rum Rats: We Let The Rum Do The Talking!


Rum Rats Founder Shamus Hewitt and partner Steven Bell © Courtesy of Rum Rats

The Best Rum You Haven’t Tried Yet!

In the sun-soaked embrace of the Latin American coast, where the warm Caribbean air meets the cool Pacific breeze, two adventurers, Shamus Hewitt and Jason Gardner, discovered their passion for good times and beach living—a classic combination, shared as well by partners Steven and Elsa Bell. What brought them all together? A bottle of small-batch, artisanal Panamanian Rum that set the stage for a journey into the world of Latin American rums. Thus, The Rum Rats was born, fueled by the desire to create a rum that embodies the region’s unique flavours.

Their creation, the ‘Arco Seco,’ proudly declares, “Born in Panama, Finished in Canada,” a testament to the fusion of tropical charm and Canadian craftsmanship—an experience that pushes the boundaries of what you’d expect from a typical rum.

Passion, expertise, and a touch of Caribbean magic

By teaming up with industry legends ‘Don Pancho’ Fernandez and Carlos Esquivel of The Pilsa Rum Distillery, The Rum Rats were able to bring their dream to life. Don Pancho, a master blender with five decades of experience, ensures the legacy of traditional rum production thrives.

The heart of The Rum Rats’ production lies in the Arco Seco region of Southern Panama. This region, largely undiscovered by North American audiences, brings out the distinct flavour of The Rum Rats’ signature release—a five-year Bourbon barrel-aged, single-origin black molasses rum. The deliberate five-year aging process allows the natural flavour profiles of Panamanian sugar cane to shine through. The rum undergoes minimal filtration, resulting in a non-chill filtered product straight from cask to bottle—no additives, no added sugar, just the pure essence of Panamanian rum. With a 500-bottle limited run, the five-year Cask Strength 64% is a must-try for rum drinkers.

© Courtesy of Rum Rats
© Courtesy of Rum Rats

This year, Rum Rats is introducing a 15-year bourbon barrel-aged rum, sure to become an instant classic. Rum enthusiasts will also have the opportunity to get involved in the rum barrel investment program, which will launch later this year. Just as in whisky cask investing, The Rum Rats: Panamanian Crafted Rum Investment Program will focus on selecting high-quality oak casks for aging rum, sourced from reputable cooperatives to ensure consistency and quality in the aging process.

What sets The Rum Rats apart is their dedication to inclusivity. A rum for everyone, The Rum Rats believe that the beauty of rum shouldn’t be confined to vacations or specific groups—anyone, anywhere, anytime, can sip and enjoy.

In the spirit of giving back, The Rum Rats have pledged to donate 10 per cent of all merchandise sales to the Tortuga Vovero Turtle Sanctuary in Nicaragua, an opportunity to raise a glass for a good cause.

Sip and Savour

Whether you’re a seasoned rum enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of spirits, The Rum Rats’ ‘Arco Seco’ promises a sip of the Latin American coast in every drop. The best way to drink Arco Seco is neat, but if you prefer a mixed drink, these cocktails only take a few simple ingredients to provide a taste of the sun, sea, and the thrill of a new adventure.

A toast to the supporters who made this journey possible—Brett at Bragg Creek, Jose, Don Simões, the teams at Last Straw and Artcraft, and all the unsung heroes behind the scenes. From bottle suppliers to designers, the Rum Rats family extends gratitude for the support that fueled their adventure. A special shoutout to Carlos Esquivel and David Harris at the Pilsa Distillery for their ongoing support and mentorship.

Find The Rum Rats online at, shop exclusive merchandise at, and place an order at for Canada-wide delivery.

Happy sipping!

The AristocRat

The Rum Rats’ version of the classic Rum Manhattan


  • Ice
  • 2 ounces Arco Seco 5
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1/2 teaspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • Twist of orange peel, for garnish


  1. Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost.
  3. Pour into a suitable cocktail glass.

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Brought together by a mutual appreciation for good times and beach living in their adopted homes on the Latin American coast, the Rum Rats partnership of Shamus Hewitt & Jason Gardner, was solidified over a bottle of small batch, artisanal Panamanian Rum.


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