“Man, that smells good!”
Peering into an empty bourbon barrel one warm fall morning on Avery Island in southern Louisiana, an accidental spark of inspiration took hold. Knowing they came from a long tradition of family businesses and handcrafted products, a question was asked……
“How come no one in the family has ever gotten into distilling?” The response from his cousin was, “I remember hearing rumors that someone used to make rum.”
Fueled by the possibility that a distant relative may have been in the rum business, they wondered where truth and fiction on the matter lay. The cousins, Chris Puckett and John Reily Thomason inquired with the archivist for the family. Skeptical at first, the archivist came back a few days later with some surprising news. An ancestor that pursued the promise of the Louisiana purchase indeed did distill molasses from the sugarcane he cultivated and soon thereafter, sold his rum throughout the Gulf South. That ancestors name was John Craig Marsh.
Armed with this knowledge, both Chris and John Reily became inspired with whether or not it was feasible to reintroduce their new found rum heritage. In the subsequent months, both cousins met with the family archivist and gathered as much information as they could on John Craig Marsh, his rum and his mercantile business. They began to immerse themselves in all things rum and the world of spirits.
Later that year, Chris was introduced to rum expert Wayne Curtis and over daiquiris at famed Cane & Table in the French Quarter of New Orleans and outlined the family heritage of rum distillation and the idea of reintroducing that rum heritage 200 years and six generations later. After hearing the historical details and the potential future plans, Curtis fully encouraged Chris to move ahead at full steam. A short pedicab through the French Quarter to famed Galatoire’s restaurant, Chris dined with his wife Leigh Ellen and longtime friends Ben and Marta Hamawy. With excitement boiling over, he shared the project with Ben and asked if he had any interest. The next day, Ben joined in and things got serious.
Ben and Chris developed a business plan and brought Brett Dougall into the partnership to be the Creative Director. Learning that Marsh’s rum was not branded as spirits are today, they settled on branding their rum after John Craig Marsh’s homestead located on the highest point of Avery Island and indeed the Gulf South. Still standing and in impeccable shape, “Marsh House” is still used by the Avery family privately for family gatherings and events to this day. In an ode to their ancestor who made his home on Avery Island, his rum heritage created from an entrepreneurial spirit sparked by the Louisiana Purchase, and the homestead the Avery family focuses on today, they branded their rum … Marsh House.
Four years to the weekend that our founder Chris Puckett met Wayne Curtis for the first time and shared his idea over a few cocktails at Cane & Table, he again shared cocktails with Wayne in the same establishment. However, this time Chris was joined by cofounder Ben, and they presented Wayne with his own bottle of Marsh House Rum, (from the first bottling) and they enjoyed cocktails crafted with the very rum that Wayne implored Chris 4 years earlier to pursue; Marsh House Rum.