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Jess Civello
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(January 17, 2017) - Bayou Rum Distillery, the largest private rum distillery in the U.S., was recently honored as the Best Large-scale Visitor Center through competition in Drinks International's 2017 Distillery Experience Challenge. The Louisiana-based distillery, a frontrunner in the creation of award-winning American rums, is continuing to bolster its reputation as a leading travel destination - not only for the Gulf South United States, but also the world.

"From the beginning, we have set out to share the process, history and taste of Bayou Rum with everyone who visits us. We believe we have something special here, and we want others to be able to experience it alongside us," said Lisa Cortese, who runs the visitor center.

Distilleries host thousands of visitors every year, and as with any other tourist attraction, creating memorable, positive and hospitable experiences is key to driving continuous traffic and establishing a foothold in the competitive travel and tourism marketplace. Drinks International, devoted to the global beer, wine and spirits industry, set out to find the best distilleries in the world. The Distillery Experience Challenge rewards excellence in hospitality, whether it's teaching how a spirit is made, the history of the distillery and its environment, conducting a tasting, or hosting an event.

In addition to the state-of-the-art distillery and visitor center, the 36,000 square-foot Bayou Rum property features a gallery celebrating the state's historic role as a sugar cane producer and rum distiller, a 109-year-old farmhouse, a tasting bar and a gift shop.

Noted by the judges as one of the best entries, Bayou Rum was credited with creating such a comprehensive facility that it put the visitor center and the brand on the map. Judging took place at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust's London headquarters, and the panel of judges included: Graham Cox, the WSET's UK business development director; Charles Maxwell, head of Thames Distillers; Joanne Moore, G&J Distillers master distiller; Christian Davis, editor, Drinks International.

"We opened the visitor center at the distillery as a way for tourists and fans to truly experience, firsthand, the process of making Bayou Rum in the heartland of sugar cane farming," said Trey Litel, co-founder and president of Bayou Rum. "This honor reflects the accomplishments and daily efforts of our team to provide what we believe is the best visitor experience in our industry."

This is not the first time the Louisiana attraction has been recognized as a leading travel destination. In 2016, the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association named the Bayou Rum Distillery Attraction of the Year.

Founded in 2011 by brothers Tim and Trey Litel, alongside longtime friend Skip Cortese, Bayou Rum is handcrafted on-site the Louisiana way; in traditional copper pot stills using fresh Louisiana sugarcane. The award-winning flavor has been recognized 82 times in tasting competitions across the globe. In January of 2016, New York-based Stoli Group® USA became the exclusive national distributor of the award-winning Bayou Rum and its family of America's Rum®.

About BayouTM Rum
Bayou Rum is America's Rum® handcrafted from fresh Louisiana sugarcane for an award-winning flavor recognized 82 times in tasting competitions; distilled and bottled consistently with quality assurance at the largest private rum distillery in the USA. The Bayou Rum family consists of four expressions - Bayou Silver, Bayou Spiced, Bayou Satsuma Rum Liqueur and Bayou Select aged rum.
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