Crusty Juggler

Crusty Juggler

Buy Crusty Juggle on Amazon!

“Long ago, in the days of smugglers and pirates, there was a legend amongst the Cornish folk - the legend of the Crusty Juggler. In the pubs and inns across the county, sailors would tell tale of a man in rags atop the treacherous rocks of the coastline, juggling lengths of flaming driftwood with his salt-encrusted hands. Accounts varied but all agreed on one thing: once you saw the Juggler, you were hell-bound for the rocks! But despite what many thought, the Juggler wasn’t out for blood, nor was he interested in gold, what he craved lay in barrels deep in the belly of the ships that he wrecked: the finest rum, slowly aged, smuggled from the Caribbean. Over the years, the stories faded into legend and the legend faded into myth. But among a select few the spirit of the Crusty Juggler lives on. Some say that even now, on a stormy night when the fog rolls in and conditions are just right, you can see his flaming driftwood rising and falling in the dark, atop the jagged rocks.”

You’ve got to hand it to Tom and Sam, the two brothers behind the Crusty Juggler. They’ve created one heck of a brand. Launched in 2020, lockdown, much like the wind triggered a sudden change in direction. The brothers were forced to close their specialist wine and spirits business, one that they had run for ten years. However, it presented them with the opportunity to create a rum, so they took that opportunity and they ran with it.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing and that’s not always something a brand presents. However, I firmly believe that to enjoy a spirit to its absolute fullest, it’s important to connect with the people who have created it. So, I took a little time to catch up with Co-Founder Tom Hanson, to give you a little peek behind the curtain. The first thing I asked was for him to introduce himself and the team.

“My name is Tom Hanson and I am the co- founder of Crusty Juggler Rum. My brother Sam is the other co-founder and together we produce, bottle, label, package and market our rum in the UK. As we grow, I'm sure that our team will expand but for now we're very much a two person operation!”

A two person operation is pretty impressive! And, with each sip of the rum it’s nice to think about the work that’s gone into it. So, what gave them the idea to make the rum in the first place?

“My brother and I have been running a specialist wine and spirits business in Cornwall for the past 10 years. In that time, we've witnessed the rapid growth of the craft drinks industry and have gained valuable experience as to how the industry works and what products customers want. On top of this, we love creating things and have always wanted to bring out our own premium spirit brand but due to other business commitments we'd never previously found the time. When lockdown came in 2020 it was both a blessing and a curse - our business was forced to close but we finally had the time to make our Rum dream come true! We got in touch with a local design agency and the rest is history!”


The local design agency has really pulled it out of the bag, that’s for sure. The design is interesting, eye catching and ties in beautifully with the branding. So where did the idea of this Crusty Juggler character come from?

“When starting to think about branding, we knew that we wanted a strong character at the heart of our product and being in Cornwall it made sense to draw on the county's rich history of smugglers, pirates and wreckers. On researching this further, we were particularly interested in the figure of the Wrecker - a diabolical criminal who would deliberately lure ships into the rocks in order to steal the goods on board. Famous Cornish Wreckers have included John Carter and the aptly named 'Cruel Coppinger'. The character of the Crusty Juggler is loosely based on these historical figures although his name is actually taken from one of our favourite comedy films - Hot Fuzz! (Those who have seen the film will know the quote!)”

So really, the Crusty Juggler is an amalgamation of local folklore and new ideas, which is perfectly apt, when considering the rum is made with imported Caribbean rum that has been blended with Tom and Sam’s recipe of spices. What’s

the flavour profile like? Can we get any tasting notes? Well, according to the site, the nose is rich and complex with notes of molasses, freshly baked cinnamon rolls and sweet orange. The palate is deep and thick with mouth watering flavours
of treacle sponge cake and creamy vanilla, cut nicely with dried orange peel, winter spice and a warm rush of fiery ginger. And,
the finish is full of a flavour that ‘hangs around till morning’, sweet cinnamon and ginger linger on, with notes of coconut, vanilla and charred American oak to ‘finish you off’. The process starts with Caribbean rum,
rich molasses and demerara sugar.

When the base rum is ready, they add orange peel and carefully selected spices including ginger, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla. Finally, the rum is transferred into ex-bourbon whisky casks where it mellows and matures. It sounds delicious, right? How has the journey been from conception to final product?

“It's been a long journey and there were plenty of setbacks along the way (including having to completely redesign the label half-way through the design process) but the end result was 100% worth it! We were lucky to partner with a great local design company called Kingdom & Sparrow and they helped us out every step of the way. It was around 18 months from start to finish but when we finally got the product on the shelves (selling around 20 bottles on our first day) it was an amazing feeling.”



The guys at the Crusty Juggler like to share a bit of that amazing feeling and, as they say, they live and breathe the Cornish Coast. They care about the environment and the communities that depend on it. So, for every bottle sold, they make a donation to their favourite marine conservation charity, Surfers Against Sewage.

“At the outset of the project we were determined to give something back to the local community and given the nautical associations of our product, Surfers Against Sewage seemed like the obvious choice. We're both passionate about ocean conservation and we couldn't think of a better charity to support given the environmental challenges currently facing humanity.”

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the guys behind this awesome rum. They’ve made a strong start and I can’t wait to see what they do next. So, I’m curious. Is there anything on the horizon they can share with us...?

“Over the next 12 months, we aim to make Crusty Juggler THE spiced rum of Cornwall (and hopefully make an impression on the wider UK market as well). It's an ambitious target but given the amazing response we've received so far, we're confident we can achieve it. There also might be a few more flavours of Crusty to come but we're keeping things very hush hush for now.."

Buy Crusty Juggle on Amazon!

Back to blog

Bernadette Pamplin

Bernadette loves rum. She set up a gin focused blog Under The Ginfluence eight years ago. Since then, her passion has naturally spread from gin, to rum and other spirits too. You can find work from her on Gin Magazine, Distiller Magazine, and Spirits Beacon, as well as content for  The Gin Guide.

She’s also the editor of Rum’s the Word, writing articles on rums featured in the box, as well as other rum related topics. Bernadette has built up six years experience in judging for events like Gin of the Year, World Gin Awards, Spirits Business Awards, Gin Guide Awards, IWSC and the American Distilling Institute Judging of Craft Spirits and works behind the scenes, assisting with organising and participating in panels for the Craft Distilling Expo.