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Inspired by travels to New Zealand, Lucy Kane launched Fantail Rum with highest quality spirit and sustainable credentials at its core.

In New Zealand, there is a curious and beautiful bird known as the Fantail. I first encountered this busy little creature while visiting the geo-thermal hot pools in Whitianga. Showing off its black and white fan tail feathers, it captured our attention as it flitted from branch to branch in the lush native bush of the day spa. The bird became the inspiration for Fantail spiced rum.

While relaxing in the hot springs, my husband Steven, a New Zealander, told me more about the Fantail. This native bird of New Zealand, with its distinctively loud tweeta-tweeta-tweeta chirrup, holds a special place in people’s hearts, but sadly, a lot of its natural habitat of native forests and bush has been converted into farmland, and cats, magpies and rats prey on its eggs. It was a bittersweet story to discover such a charismatic bird and simultaneously learn of its plight. Fortunately, it is one of the more successful native species that has managed to adapt to live closely with humans.

The Maori people have their own name for the enchanting bird, the Pīwakawaka. Maori mythology believes that the bird brings messages of death from the gods to people, although this isn’t to be feared as it's an opportunity to prepare for the event.

Mesmerised by the charming Fantail, sipping on our favourite ice-cold rum cocktails (my dirty secret drink is a pina colada and Steven had a dark and stormy), an idea formed to create a rum that would capture the spirit of the bird, the essence of New Zealand, whilst being uncompromisingly committed to the environment. It would also capture quintessentially New Zealand flavours such as Manuka honey and tangelo. My family loves the healthy, medicinal benefits of Manuka, and my husband grew up with a tangelo tree in his back garden, so abundant in fruit that he would devour them after school. Tangelo trees flourish in the temperate warm weather of New Zealand and are very common, although unknown in the UK.


The fruit is best described as a hybrid of a tangerine and a grapefruit, and is sweet, very juicy, larger than a tangerine and about the size of a human fist. Fantail spiced rum has the highest-quality spirit at its core, flavoured with the delicate sweet flavour of Manuka, bringing honey, caramel and toffee. You can also pick out high floral notes. The hit of citrus from the tangelo adds a touch of fresh fruit which complements the warmth of the rum. The flavour is a round, complex and smooth rum drink that we sip at home with a couple of ice cubes or mix into a long cocktail. We love experimenting with the variety of craft mixers that are now available, being less sweet they allow the flavours of the rum to shine.

The brand has an air of nostalgia, with art deco influences, the arts movement synonymous with the 1920s, the same decade the tangelo was cultivated. The craft design nods to a time before our planet began to noticeably suffer from the destructive effects of humans, when the Fantail bird was free to breed and thrive in native bush, before its habitats had been taken over by humans encroaching on its natural space.

The pace of life in New Zealand is slower than our life in the UK. It is a welcome time to pause. When we’re there, it’s all about family. Time down at the family beach house, shared meals, good food, great chat. A family tradition when hosting guests is a beer before lunchtime. The trend for craft lagers is possibly even larger than in the UK and each beer has a story on the side of the can that demonstrates its uniqueness. They are often completely wild, ridiculous but ultimately perfect entertainment as you kick back with a beer. This gave us the inspiration for the Fantail story featured on the bottle that is a mix of fact and romance, but we hope it entertains as you relax into a glass Fantail rum.

I am deeply passionate about looking after our planet and leaving it in a better state for our children. This has led me to be involved in a number of environmental projects that address issues of climate change such as founding a clean air campaign group and being a trustee of our local climate centre. One of the most interesting and effective projects has been rewilding an unloved littered patch, and turning it into a habitat for wildlife and people. It is now an urban oasis, which attracts the whole community looking for a green tranquil space to forest bathe or simply escape the frenetic pace of the city.

Wildlife is thriving there and we have created habitats for birds, butterflies and bees. We see new species arriving every year as we add to it with more native and edible plants and a greater variety of layers within the urban forest. Schoolchildren have planted native hedges, and the Scouts use it as an outdoor classroom. Initially, we had just one curious Robin, it then found a partner and had a family, this year we have spotted five different bird species. Through this project, I have learnt first-hand how we can all make a significant difference to our environment and see real change. It was essential to me that Fantail rum is as sustainable as possible, and I can bring this environmental commitment into my work. Every element of Fantail packaging is chosen for its environmental qualities.

The bottle is made of 100% recycled glass and we’ve avoided using plastics so that every element of the packaging can be recycled and won’t leave a footprint on the planet. I researched our suppliers to make sure they have strong environmental credentials and where possible are carbon neutral. Some suppliers with environmental sounding names tried to greenwash us with packaging options containing plastic. Easier choices and compromises could have been made but we have a responsibility to the world. It’s a very natural association to be part of the Craft Rum Box as it also has such great sustainable policies. I love how the box is eco-friendly from the inside-out and even the magazine is printed on recycled paper.

The carbon footprint of our travels to New Zealand is something we are conscious of, so we offset by donating to small wildlife charities. They are making a big impact on local environments such as saving the natural habitats of native birds under threat from receding dunes, or preventing walkers and their dogs from disturbing the Dotterel whilst nesting in high season. These charities touched us first hand when we travelled in New Zealand visiting friends and family, and engaging with these environmental projects led to a deeper connection with the true essence of the country.

My vision is not only to have an uncompromisingly sustainable rum that is great quality and taste, but by committing to donate 5% of our profits to wildlife charities we can have a positive impact on the planet. I hope you enjoy the rum as much as we do with our friends, and that you feel that extra touch of warmth knowing you too are helping the planet.

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