#rumfamily : Favourite Distillers – Pedro Ferreira
The #rumfamily series continues to focus on those that are at the heart of the category, the distillers. Second up is the micro distillery, O’Reizinho master distiller, Pedro Ferreira, who produces exceptional Rums from Madeira.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to where you are now as a distiller?
Ok, so I was born here in Madeira but left for South Africa when I was six. Due to health, safety and a few other things my wife and I decided to leave SA and come back here. My dad had the distillery for more or less 40 years but only as a hobby. It never really grew much, always doing small quantities for friends etc. When I arrived in 2012 we concentrated on the commercial side of things going steady as we grow.
O’Reizinho translates to ‘the little king’. My great grandfather was born 2 months prematurely in 1875. The odds of survival were very slim in those days, so instead of taking him to the doctor, the midwife rushed the baby to the priest. In the middle of the night the priest opened the door and there was this premature baby. They asked the priest to baptize him so that he was ready to go to heaven. The priest held up the infant and said this baby will be a Reizinho in heaven.
Naturally the baby survived (otherwise I wouldn’t be typing right now) but not only did he survive, he lived to be 94 and had 14 children. The name stuck and has been carried over since.
What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of that journey?
I wish I knew more about ageing and started earlier with my experiments. We didn’t know enough and were reluctant to try.
Please could you describe a typical day in your working life?
There is a saying which is now one of my favourites and that is ‘find something that you like doing and you never have to work a day in your life’. That pretty much sums up my ‘work’ days. I get up and walk to work, being so close to the distillery, start the boiler and then begin my pot still distillation. When I don’t have anything to distill I usually clean up and do paperwork etc. and concentrate on sales.
What are you most proud of out of all of your Rum achievements so far?
I must say I’m most proud of my awards (pics in gallery).
What is the hardest thing about producing Rum at the moment?
At the moment the hardest thing would be foreseeing the future. Being a micro distillery we can’t extend ourselves too much and can only invest in one thing at a time so we cant gamble much.
What is the best thing about producing Rum at the moment?
Best part must be just going to work!
What are your thoughts on GI for Rum producing countries?
I think that the GI is so important nowadays as more and more are producing Rum and consumers want to know or need to know what they buying. The GI status gives us a different image.
There seems to be endless possibilities from ageing in different woods, blending and releasing expressions at different ABVs. Are there things you know would not work and are there things you want to try?
Although there is endless possibilities when it comes to aging I, on a personal note, think it’s important not to stray away from the main characteristics of the Rum and also to keep it local. So far all our Rum is aged in Madeira wine casks. On the island we all try other casks for ageing but not in large quantities.
Which Rums do you enjoy drinking at the moment?
I must say I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Rum. I only really enjoy my own. I haven’t tried a lot of the others but those I have I keep comparing to mine, and in my opinion, mine is just better…
Are there any new projects you can tell us about and what should we look out for from your distillery in the near future?
I am working on a few ideas but the most exciting one is that I will have some more 3 year old!