SLY DOG Spiced Rum - Who Let The Dogs Out!

SLY DOG Spiced Rum - Who Let The Dogs Out!

Craft Rum Box | Sly Dog Spiced Rum

Who Let The Dogs Out!

This month we caught up with Brothers Bruce and Louis, founders of this months’ offering, SLY DOG Spiced Rum. Sly Dog is a rum made from blending premium rums from the Caribbean and Dominican Republic, aged for three years. The recipe was created, tweaked and finalised over twelve months with the UK’s leading flavour master. The rum has a bold design and a bold branding and it is out to count! With so much to talk about, we wanted to find out a little more about their journey into the world of Spiced Rum and what’s on the horizon. So, we gave them a good grilling.

Congratulations on the launch of SLY DOG Spiced Rum. It looks amazing and I’m sure our rum fans will agree it tastes pretty amazing too. What’s the Story behind the name and what made you think, “I want to make my own rum”?
In terms of getting into rum production, we always drank rum while most of our friends were busy only drinking gin, we couldn’t understand why nobody was drinking the tastiest and most diverse spirit on the planet! About a year ago we noticed a huge uptake in rum drinking, especially spiced, amongst our friends. We knew we could bring something different to the market, something that didn’t use the same style and themes as existing brands. We had wanted to start a young and fresh alcohol brand for a while, so there was no better place to start than with rum. It’s attracting a much younger drinker and the image of rum is certainly livening up. There has been a lot to learn in the world of rum production, but we have really started to find our feet and are enjoying every moment of it.

For us being a SLY DOG is doing what you want and not being worried about people will think. Sly dogs work smarter not harder, and they have a way of always coming out on top. While the brand was in development, we were never afraid to reach out and speak to people that have been there and done it, we managed to team up with some of the best rum experts and flavour masters to help create the liquid, it has taken a little longer than expected as we wouldn’t settle for anything other than perfection, so you could say we have been champion sly dogs. We hope SLY DOG is a brand that the new wave of rum drinkers can get behind, after all we do need more sly dogs in the world.

Buy Sly Dog Spiced Rum on Amazon

SLY DOG, is a family business and you’ve worked hard with your Family to bring SLY DOG to market. Working with family can be challenging and incredibly rewarding. How do you think this has changed your family dynamic?
We are no strangers to family run businesses, so the dynamic hasn’t particularly changed much. We all understand and are totally committed to building SLY DOG into a lasting brand. We all share the same ethos and all take pride in only wanting to put our name to something we really believe in and know we can take places.



A good rum can be appreciated neat. However, it’s always good to know what else you can make with it, or buy that’s made with it. What kind of cocktails would you recommend making with SLY DOG?
Although SLY DOG Rum is perfect to drink on the rocks, while developing the liquid, we were desperate to create a spiced rum that enhances a cocktail. We wanted a rum that is instantly recognisable in any cocktail, which our reviews would suggest we’ve achieved. We were lucky enough for Rich Woods (aka The Cocktail Guy) to want to work with us and he has developed some ‘proper sly’ cocktails, all of which will be available on our website. Our favourite sly cocktail would have to be Rich’s sly take on an Espresso Martini - think the classic on steroids. This cocktail uses Guinness syrup, tonka and chocolate bitters and the result is outrageously delicious. Our SLY-jito and the SLY-Tai (no prizes for guessing what they are inspired by) are perfect for the summer months and drinking outside, which is what everyone will be doing for a while. If you’re after a simple mixer to pair with SLY DOG, Ginger Ale is a great way to enjoy a sneaky SLY DOG with minimal fuss.

SLY DOG joins a growing list of emerging spiced rum brands in an exciting and popular category that is growing at a good pace. With that said, spiced rum is not a category for everyone, and in some instances those preferring the more traditional categories aren’t always so keen on it which is fine as rum is a subjective thing. What would you say the strengths of spice rum are and how do you think your rum could work to elevate the category?
As rum becomes more popular, and new brands are brought to the market, a lot seem to be following similar trends. While the history of rum is still important, we want to be the Sly Dogs of the pack, doing things differently, focussing on the flavour of our rum more than anything else. So, we went to the best in the flavour business, and working with the UK’s leading “Flavour Master” and rum experts, we crafted a spiced rum that would stand out, and created a bottle that would stand out with it.

The numbers speak for themselves in terms of the sales of spiced rum. Even before the pandemic it was growing incredibly quickly, regaining parts of the market after the “gin-boom”. What the closure of hospitality venues has allowed for is a chance for experimentation at home. We ourselves have had new rums delivered every week to allow us to sample what’s available. This has also given rise to the popularity of more expensive choices to what is normally available behind a bar, and with that a newfound appreciation for better tasting spirits. When hospitality is allowed to re-open, this change in taste will have to be catered for by the industry, and we hope to see SLY DOG at the forefront of that shift towards higher quality, flavourful spiced rums behind every bar.

The interpretation of rum has changed a lot. As the industry expands, innovation and creativity blossom, changing the landscape. How has your interpretation of rum changed through the years?
Our early perception of rum was shaped by the fact that our Grandfather was a big rum drinker, always drinking one off bottles from the Caribbean. The fact that he was drinking rum meant that for a while we assumed rum was a drink only for experienced drinkers and seemed slightly intimidating (a bit like how whiskey is still perceived these days). University was probably our first foray into drinking rum and as we got older and sampled more of what the world of rum had to offer, we realised the versatility of it as a spirit and the different ways it could be developed and tweaked to carry all kinds of amazing flavours. Our perception of rum now is that it’s fun, youthful, diverse and rum brands have lots of energy behind them, which is seriously exciting. We now see that rum is about more than just pirates, parrots and palm trees and we think the new wave of drinkers are seeing it too.

In the last few years, consumers have become more aware and interested in processes and transparency of that is becoming increasingly important to the discerning drinker. How important do you feel transparency is in the spirits industry and how do you think producers can champion this honesty?

Consumers nowadays are as informed as ever, with access to all sorts of information about the brands and products they buy. It’s the role of every industry to meet these demands for transparency and the spirits industry is no exception.

The best way for producers to be honest, is for them to realise that what consumers really want is authenticity. While the word “sly” doesn’t always make you think of honesty, as a brand, we believe in being completely transparent with our consumers. The only thing we can’t reveal is what makes up our ferociously guarded secret recipe.

Let’s cast our eyes forward for a moment. Where do you see SLY DOG spiced rum being in ten years’ time?
Obviously 10 years is a very long time, and we have huge ambitions for both SLY DOG and the spiced rum category as a whole. As we convince more people of the enjoyment and satisfaction of spiced rum we see SLY DOG leading the way in the transition from gin-heavy bar menus to ones that reflect the immense popularity of spiced rum.

Hopefully by then, we’ll have chewed up the Rule Book and introduced and converted people to the fantastic taste of SLY DOG rum.

You’ve been on quite the journey, and it wouldn’t surprise us if someone reading this is inspired. What would your best advice be for someone who’d like to launch their own spirit brand?
Ask for help. Talk to as many people as you can. It’s been surprising just how helpful the industry has been to us. Everyone we’ve spoken to has been so friendly and willing to help, even if it’s just to point us in the right direction. Obviously, you need to have a solid, well thought through idea of what you want to produce. But once you’re happy with it, talking to the right people is going to help you turn your idea into reality. And, as is always true, you need to taste your competition. Sample the market you want to become a part of to really know what your brand can do.

Buy Sly Dog Spiced Rum on Amazon

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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.