Lemon Hart 151, a high-proof rum distilled in Guyana and bottled in Canada, is an essential ingredient in many classic tiki cocktails and a product beloved by bartenders and rum patrons. But it has been hard to find for some months, owing to the sale of the brand by liquor giant Pernod Ricard to Mosaiq in February 2010.
This past weekend, however, brought news that the coveted rum may soon be back on the shelves in certain states. A posting on the Lemon Hart Facebook site read "At 9:39pm Feb 18, 2011 the COLA [certificate of label approval] for the last 481 cases of Lemon Hart 151 bottled by Pernod was approved for import to the US... There are a lot more papers to file, taxes to pay and state approvals to get but this is a huge step in the right direction." First shipments will go to New York, California, Illinois, Washington DC, Louisiana, Colorado and Hawaii.
According to the website A Mountain of Crushed Ice, the holdup was because, "in order for the last cases of Lemon Hart 151 that Pernod bottled to be sold, Mosaiq has to make a deal with a US importer to import and market this rum. Then in addition to paying for the rum, there is the Federal Tax that has to be paid when the rum is carried across the border. The old labels say ‘Imported by Pernod.’ This isn’t a big deal but it takes time to get a letter of exception for the rum to be imported by a third party or a sticker has to be added to the bottle."