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09.2010

Massachusetts Beverage Business

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BLACK TOT RUM RATIONS RUN DRY

And then there was none. The last remaining stocks of the legendary Black Tot Rum, the original Royal Navy rum, were recently released for sale at HMS Belfast on the River Thames in London. On July 31, 197O, also known as Black Tot Day, the last rations were given out to serving sailors, ending a 3OO-year-old tradition. Sailors that day wore black armbands and conducted mock funerals to bid farewell to the rations. A reserve of the rum was stored in wicker-clad stone flagons by E.D. & F. Man & Co., official rum merchants to the Navy since 1784. Over the years, small amounts were withdrawn for state occasions. The bottles just released were each packaged in a dark wooden case with a copper cup measuring the official half-gill measure, a book on the history of naval rum written by spirits author Dave Broom and a certificate of authenticity. The price is £6OO (US $942) per bottle.

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