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1st Female Master 'Rummelier' Is Tampa Woman, Among 12 In World

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TAMPA, FL — The Royal Rum Society has awarded the Certified Master Rummelier designation to Isabella Rosal of Tampa, the first woman to receive the honor and one of only 33 certified rum makers in the United States.

At the age of 32, she is also the youngest to achieve the Certified Rummelier status, the highest professional designation in the rum industry.

The certification is presented for demonstrating the highest level of competency in distilling rum by completing 16 course modules on rum production methods, history, tasting, elucidation and variety, touring at least 10 distilleries and tasting a minimum of 200 distinct rums using the Royal Rum Society’s taste rating system.

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The nonprofit, independent Royal Rum Society is committed to giving back to communities where rum is produced through its Spirit of Cane philanthropic program.

Born and raised on a rum estate in Northern Luzon in the Philippines, Rosal, a partner and CEO at 7th Sky Ventures in Tampa, collaborates with distilleries across Florida on creating unique single-barrel rums for her clients.

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With her newly obtained qualification, Isabella is preparing to launch the Tampa chapter member of the Florida Rum Society, a professional community dedicated to sharing and advancing the knowledge of rum making.

“Born and raised at a rum estate and sugarcane farm in Northern Luzon in the Philippines, I was surrounded by all things rum from an early age,” Rosal said.

While she may be the first woman to achieve the Royal Rum Society’s certification, Rosal told Patch that she is far from the first to be involved in the rum-making industry.

“My mother, Chuchi Honrado, spent most of her professional life working as a chemist at that rum estate in North Luzon and later as an adviser to large rum producers and distilleries in the Philippines,” she said. “So many talented women work in the industry as traders or distillery owners or technical advisers like my mother, but we never talk about them.”

Rosal said she intends to change that.

“Being a female rummelier is empowering and challenging at the same time,” she said. “My mission is to break the bias and shed light on women in the rum culture.”

The first product that reflects Rosal’s expertise and passion in her capacity as a Master Rummelier will be the limited-edition of Battleship 57 rum produced by Gamblers Bay Distillery in Tampa, which will be available to purchase this summer.

Rosal was just 10 years old when she launched her first entrepreneurial venture, selling sweets to her classmates off the back of her skateboard.

Upon moving to the United States and after a short stint at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rosal founded TBD, an award-winning tea café and a wholesale company in Riverview before starting 7th Sky Ventures LLC with her family.

A Navy spouse and a mother of two, Rosal has a degree in financial engineering from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines, and a bachelor of science in actuarial science from the University of Santo Thomas.

She describes herself as both an activist for the economic empowerment of women and youth as well as an advocate for the environment and sustainability.

For the TBD Cafe, she collaborated with University of South Florida researchers on a study to evaluate the effects of anaerobic digestion of food waste using tea leaves.

The researchers compared the anaerobic digestion of the food waste alone versus mixed with the tea leaves and found that the addition of the tea leaves resulted in significantly higher production of valuable biomethane gas. The project received wide recognition by environmental science experts.

“This important discovery shed light on the role that the tea industry can play globally in meeting recycling goals by improving bioenergy production,” she said.

She is continuing that commitment to sustainability at 7th Sky Ventures.

On average, a 750-milliliter bottle of rum produces 6.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, she said.

At 7th Sky Ventures, she found a way to use this byproduct by turning spent distillation ingredients into natural home fragrances, such as room and linen sprays, available through the 7th Sky retail site.

The alcohol base for the spray is a redistillation of the waste products left from the rum production, and the fragrant components are derived from organic essential oils. The packaging is 100 percent recyclable, making the product a natural and healthy alternative to commercial air fresheners, Rosal said.

As a licensed importer and exporter, the company brings innovative products to Tampa Bay and promotes unique Florida products overseas.

7th Sky Ventures also supports other entrepreneurs, representing a variety of innovative private-label products, including natural home fragrances, candles and soap.

In her spare time, Rosal is a founder of the youth-empowering PEP Talk Program (now called the Jose Lorenzo Honrado Scholarship Program) in the Philippines and a certified health and safety specialist with the American Red Cross.

She is also a frequent guest speaker at the University of South Florida and a mentor to students and young entrepreneurs.

7th Sky Ventures

Isabel Rosal said she’s following in her mother’s footsteps. Her mother, Chuchi Honrado, spent most of her professional life working as a chemist at a rum estate in North Luzon in the Philippines and later as an adviser to large rum producers and distilleries in the Philippines.

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