Raising the rum bar

For 20 years Keri has dreamed of having a small beachside rum bar somewhere in the islands. Making rum is a first step towards that dream.

Keri had her first sip of rum under midnight skies in the heart of the Caribbean. Ever since, she noticed that wherever she travelled - from Spain to Mozambique, Cuba to Fiji - rum is enjoyed with delight. By 2015 this wandering spirit had a career in writing and had finally settled in Cabarita Beach, New South Wales, Australia....So how did she end up making rum, and then vodka?

On a flight to New Zealand with her head in the clouds dreaming about the beachside rum bar, Keri was struck by the idea that she could make rum. Cabarita's hinterland is awash with sugarcane (rum's base ingredient) and years of travelling had taught her the joys of the journey and not just the destination.

Obsessively crafted - pot distilled

Keri spent two years visiting local and interstate distilleries researching. She tinkered around with a 25-litre fermenter and experimented with different strains of yeast. Together with a little pot still she developed a bomb-proof recipe and concocted a novel way of infusing spices into the spirit during distillation. She travelled to Perth to view a still-maker's workshop before finally, in the middle of a global pandemic, she took the plunge and ordered an alembic copper pot still to commercialise.

Passion and tenacity

Having overcome many of the hurdles every small business owner learns from,  today Keri produces award-winning spirits under the flagship brand, Soltera Rum. Then, two years later, Northern Rivers Vodka was born from a new-found sense of business acumen and it became an immediate success.

But to be sure, the rum bar in the islands remains her dream.

Soltera Rum distillery Cabarita Beach