At its core, Chalong Bay Rum Distillery is what the name implies – a factory of rum. But in the process of producing an award-winning artisan spirit, they also make something else – heaps of fun.
The fact that Thailand is the 4th biggest sugar cane producer in the world is reason enough to set up a rum distillery in Phuket. And that’s what a French couple, Marine Lucchini and Thibault Spithakis did – they coupled their own experience in wine-making with their country’s rum-making history and Thailand’s abundance of high-quality sugar cane, and so, Chalong Bay Rum was born.
But they made more than just a product – a perfect ingredient of beachside drinks and probably one of the best souvenirs you can take home from Phuket – they also created a place. A new destination on Phuket’s map.
And I don’t mean just tourist destination – through a visit to the distillery is certainly a fun and educative activity for holidaymakers visiting Phuket – but a meeting place for Phuket residents looking to spice up their social life. Because, believe it or not, there is a gap to be filled in that space in Phuket. If you’re a 5-star resort wine dinner kind of person, Phuket has got you covered; if sipping Cha Manao and munching on street-bought Gai Tod on the beach is your favorite pastime (it is mine!), Phuket is the place to be, but if you’re looking for a sense of community and togetherness, you might feel a bit let down.
Enter Chalong Bay Rum Distillery – a plot of neat, green, grassy and airy real-estate with a refreshingly welcoming ambience – not just for a factory, but in general. The distillery itself, located to the right of the entrance, is a great place to visit, with its impressive industrial machinery and guided tours explaining the intricacies of real rum making, but it’s the open-air restaurant/bar to the left that completes the experience. That’s where the fun takes place.
The team behind the project decided to turn this space into the opposite of what we’d usually associate with any kind of a production plant – CCTV cameras, “no photos” signs, barbed wire and the like. At Chalong Bay guests are welcome, invited to hang out, eat, drink and be merry. And to give them even more reasons to come, there are events, filled with food, drinks and music.
A good example was the recent Perfect Pair dinner showcasing Chalking Bay’s new food and cocktail pairing menu, created by their Chef Oil and mixologist Hoey. The food, the cocktails and their pairings were excellent, but what was really outstanding, was the ambience – relaxed, casual, natural. I don’t know if it was the unpretentious setting, the mariachi band blasting out songs like a jukebox or the sort of a crowd that joined the fun, but fun it was, possibly more fun than I’ve seen in Phuket in a while.
If reading this gives you an intense feeling of missing out, worry not. The food and cocktails pairing menu is available every day, and more importantly, the events are ongoing too – including Latin Fire Nights taking place every Thursday night from 7 pm onwards, and Reggaeton Fever nights which pair drinks with careless dancing to cumbia, Kizomba, hip pop, Brazilian funk, dancehall and merengue on Saturdays.
Follow Chalong Bay Rum on Facebook to keep track of their future events and join the fun next time – or as they call it – celebrate the spirit of Phuket!
Learn more on facebook.com/chalongbaybar