Barry Bottoms demonstrates a newly-installed Bottoms Up rum-delivery faucet in a Blacktip Island home. (photo courtesy of Bottoms Up Distillery)
A Blacktip Island distillery’s plan to pipe rum to every home on the island came under fire Thursday from an unlikely alliance of the island’s religious community and bar owners.
“Drinking’s already out of control on this little rock,” said the Rev. Pierre Grunt. “This plan will let people sit at their sink and drink until they pass out.
“Before, at least they had to get up and go to a bar,” Grunt said. “And what’s to keep little children away from the tap?”
Brewery owners defended their plan.
“Our market’s tiny. We’re fighting to survive financially,” Bottoms Up Distillery president Barry Bottoms said. “The idea’s to make our new Bottoms Up dark rum readily available to everyone.
“I don’t understand why Pierre’s got his shorts in such a wad,” Bottoms said. “The taps have child-proof locks. And with so many people drinking at home, this’ll cut down on drunk driving, too.”
Grunt found support from the island’s bar owners.
“Barry’s playing dirty pool, siphoning customers away from us,” said Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt. “Before, we’d buy booze from Barry, mark it up, sell it to our patrons. This plan cuts us out of the loop.
“Don’t know what kind of pipes Barry’s using, but they better be sturdy,” Skerritt said. “No telling what kind of damage a burrowing iguana or land crab might do to those lines, if you take my meaning.”
Many residents, however, are excited about the plan.
“It’ll be great, never being out of hootch,” divemaster Gage Hoase said. “Unless you don’t pay your bill and they cut you off. And the monthly billing’s like running a bar tab, really. Plus, they give volume discounts.
“The only hitch I can see is a pressure drop if too many people go for a drink at the same time,” Hoase said. “Like halftime during the Super Bowl or something.”
Bottoms, meanwhile, said Bottoms Up is sensitive to residents who oppose the plan.
“Getting your house rum plumbed is 100 percent optional,” Bottoms said. “It does increase the home’s resale value, though, so we’re suggesting church goers and A.A. types get the line installed and then just cap it off.
“We have plans to run separate lines for light and dark rums, eventually,” Bottoms said. “And if it works well on Blacktip, we’ll branch out to the other Tiperon islands.”