Over the years, Goslings, and their flagship Black Seal Rum, have become synonymous with Bermuda. Black Seal is an essential ingredient in Bermuda fish chowder, adds the island flavor to the Bermuda Rum Swizzle, and is the tempest in Bermuda’s favorite cocktail, the Dark ‘n Stormy®.
In the spring of 1806 James Gosling, the oldest son of William Gosling, wines and spirits merchant, set out from Gravesend, Kent, England on the ship Mercury, with £10,000 sterling worth of merchandise, bound for America. After ninety-one desperate days on becalmed seas their charter ran out, and they put in at the nearest port, St. George’s, Bermuda. And the rest, as they say, is history. Delicious, deep, dark history.
James and his brother Ambrose rented a shop on Front Street in the new capital of Hamilton for £25 a year. The Goslings maintained a store at this location for 127 years.
1857A Brick & Mortar Store
The firm, known as Gosling and Son, was renamed Gosling Brothers. Three years later the first oak barrels of rum distillate arrived in Bermuda. After much experimentation in the blending process, the distinctive black rum destined to be Black Seal was formulated and offered for sale. Almost 150 years later, this same rum would go on to receive the coveted PLATINUM MEDAL at the World Spirits Championships.
1914Black Seal Origins
They didn’t call it Black Seal at first, in fact up until the First World War it was sold from the barrel, and folks brought in bottles for a fill up of “Old Rum”, so called because of its distinctive smoothness. Eventually the black rum was sold in champagne bottles, reclaimed from the British Officer’s Mess, and the corks sealed with black sealing wax. Pretty soon people began to ask for the “Black Seal”. Many years later a play on words and images gave birth to the little, barrel juggling “Black Seal”.
1920'sA Delicious Combination
The British Royal Naval Officer's Club ran a ginger beer factory in Bermuda. They soon discovered that a splash of the local black rum was just what the ginger beer was missing - and a legendary cocktail was born. The name "Dark 'n Stormy" was said to have originated when an old fisherman observed that the drink was the "color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under". Probably followed by – "Barman, I'll have another Dark 'n Stormy!”
1980 A Trailblazing Trademark
On June 9, 1980, the Gosling family trademarked the Dark 'n Stormy® cocktail, protecting the integrity of the drink’s recipe the world over, and forever ensuring that a cocktail can only be advertised as an authentic Dark ‘n Stormy if it contains the key ingredient – Goslings Black Seal Rum. A few years before applying for the trademark, Goslings released a one-of-a-kind product: a Dark 'n Stormy cocktail in a can.
2009Introducing Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer
Goslings introduced Stormy Ginger Beer - a soda with a refreshing zip of ginger that creates the perfect Dark 'n Stormy® cocktail. Today, Goslings Stormy Ginger Beer is the go-to cocktail mixer for both home bartenders and professional mixologists, and one of the top-selling ginger beer brands in the US.
TodayAll Together Now
Today, we continue to share the history, the products, and the happiness that has made our family business successful for eight generations.