What do you get when you combine companies who are passionate about ocean conservation with beach-inspired products? A collaboration that adds up to rum, beach bags and benefits to the environment.
Mount Gay Rum, the oldest running rum distillery in the world, paired up with Sea Bags, a Portland, Maine-based company who has been making totes and bags from recycled sail cloth since 2006. The two companies are raising money to benefit 4ocean’s Pound + Program, whose mission is to end the plastic pollution in our oceans. The team also includes actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier. The resulting Mount Gay x Sea Bags Ocean Currents Collection features two bags, both made in the USA on a limited basis.
“The plastic crisis in our oceans continues to grow, and collectively we need to support conservation efforts and raise awareness around ocean health or we will lose one of Earth’s greatest assets,” said actor and environmentalist Adrian Grenier. “Working with Mount Gay Rum and Sea Bags to create the sustainable Ocean Currents Collection furthers our shared goal and serves to inspire others to help protect the ocean, while offering a sustainable gift just in time for the holidays.”
The Ocean Currents Tote celebrates the groups’ efforts to protect the ocean with a map of water currents as the primary design. Each tote is made from recycled sails that would likely be able to tell a story of the Caribbean, rum and history of sailing in the region. Hand-spliced hemp rope handles further set the tone for a connection with plants and water. A red base contrasts the body of the bag, bringing nautical colors into the mix. It’s large enough for an afternoon outing or a weekend away, yet compact enough for easy storage.
The iconic Mount Gay Rum logo speaks to the long history of rum in the region. The distillery dates back to 1703. Even today, Mount Gay Rum has a unique connection with the ocean, since the salty seawater directly contributes to the flavors in Mount Gay Rum. The process for making the rum dates back 300 years, yet has changed very little with the ocean, providing the salt-infused air and coral naturally filtering water for the distilling.
Without the ocean surrounding Barbados, Mount Gay Distillery would not be able to hold on to their heritage. The company has a mission to give back, protecting the ocean by donating a portion of each tote to a non-profit working to clean up the damage humans have caused to the waters. The contributions will result in the removal of trash for each tote sold. This isn’t Mount Gay’s first foray into ocean initiatives. In its long-standing work with 4ocean, the brand has helped remove 20,000 pounds of plastic from the world’s oceans.
“Our new partnership with Sea Bags is an important step in our ongoing efforts to conserve the ocean,” said Ian McLernon, President and CEO Americas at Rémy Cointreau (owner of Mount Gay Distillery). “Mount Gay and sailing have a storied, interwoven relationship and we are proud to be united in our mission to protect the ocean, while encouraging our community to take action for a more sustainable future.”
The second bag is called the Ocean Currents Beverage Bucket. Also made from recycled sails and other materials, the Beverage Bucket was created to celebrate the ocean with a trip to the beach or an outing on the sailboat. Each bag features six pouches to hold bottles of rum or other beverages and supplies. The center of the buckets hold ice to keep your selections chilled. A grommet in the bottom allows melted ice to drain. Simply load and go for cocktails by the lake or at the beach. Each purchase funds the removal of one pound of waste in the ocean and along the coastlines.
This year Sea Bags earned GreenCircle Certification for recycled content on these iconic Totes and Bucket Bags.
4ocean tries to make it easy for businesses to help support their mission of ending ocean plastic pollution. It works to clean the ocean and eliminate the inflow of plastic from the waterways and beaches along the shore. 4ocean is a business that funds cleanups, provides jobs, contributes to local communities and continues to invest in technologies to advance their purpose. It also makes regular donations to marine conservation organizations.
When I heard about this campaign, I instantly fell in love with the idea of using recycled sails and the nautical theme on each of the bags. The company offered to send a sample and I readily agreed. However, instead of receiving a bag, I received a fifth of Mount Gay Barbados Rum. Winning! After all, how can I fail to find joy in a surprise gift like that.
But, down to business. I’ve traveled through the Caribbean. In fact, I’ve tasted flights of rum on the island of Barbados. The history of rum throughout the region cannot be denied. It’s culture is ingrained in generations of people throughout the region. A worker at a distillery on the island told me even children commonly sample rum, in the same way wine is served at every table in Italy regardless of age.
The bottle they sent was a Black Barrel Double Cask Blend. It has a rich, caramel coloring and distinct rum scent. Since this is a blend, it’s a combination of other rums made by Mount Gay. If you’re familiar with the brand, you might recognize some of the flavors. Personally, I picked up on a sweet overtone of brown sugar or molasses and a finish of the bourbon oak barrel where it aged. This is a smooth rum. I look forward to mixing with it and drinking it by the fire on a cold winter’s night. Cheers!
Images via Mount Gay and Sea Bags
Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Sea Bags. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.