Business

Rum running across the ditch

Jade Hurst will carry her quota across the Tasman.
Jade Hurst will carry her quota across the Tasman. Janna Dixon

MORE than 100 years ago the Australian Government made it illegal to import rum that was not already aged, in a bid to protect the local industry - much like the country's controversial ban on New Zealand apples.

But unlike the apple law, lifted last year, the rum rule remains.

It has created problems for Auckland-based rum brand Stolen, which has enjoyed wild success selling its aged white and gold rums across the ditch. Stolen launched an overproof product this month but section 105a of the Customs Act 1901 has hampered its plans to export it to the lucrative Australian market.

So the brand's founders, Jamie Duff and Roger Holmes, are recruiting "mules" to carry the product to Sydney and Melbourne, two bottles at a time.

Duff said it was not illegal, as no money changed hands and the amount was within "personal" limits. The ultra-specialty product was given, not sold, to bars to show gratitude for stocking Stolen's other products.

The "mules" were compensated with cocktails.

The overproof rum, called SX9, was available in specialty bars and not stocked in liquor stores.

"Traditionally, it's not aged so it hangs on to its characteristics," Duff said. "It's 65 per cent alcohol so you don't want it falling into the wrong hands."

Twenty-five frequent travellers had signed up so far, including Jade Hurst, 30, who travels to Sydney four or five times a year.

She responded to an ambiguous "mules wanted" poster plastered on a Ponsonby electricity pole as she liked the idea of helping a local company and thought it was quite clever.

Her first rum run, to Darlinghurst night-spot Eau De Vie, was planned for May.

Stolen had given her a T-shirt emblazoned with the word Mule to wear through the airport. "I might have a jacket over it so I don't draw too much attention," she said.

Topics:  importing, protectionism, rum


Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Hurry! Reserved seating selling fast for Pro Bull Riding

Luke Nichols riding Rap Dancer at the PBR Bullriding Rural Weekly Live Series held at the Grafton Showgrounds. Photo:Bruce Thomas / Daily Examiner March 28, 2015

Numbered seats still available for PBR Live Series finale

Take your tastebuds on a gourmet tour of Northern Rivers

Rebecca Zentveld, (right) from Zentveld’s Coffee, with (from left) Rebekka Battista from Our House, and Ballina-on-Richmond Rotarians Wendy Marsh and Col Lee, promoting the gourmet tour which is part of this year’s Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival.

Flavours of the Northern Rivers Gourmet Tour in July.

Dig deep for cash to keep the music alive in Ballina

Summerland Credit Union Ballina branch manager Amanda Petersen with the cash prize in the Ballina Coastal Country Music fundraising raffle, with (back, left) raffle co-ordinator Carmel Hayman from the Rotary Club of Ballina and Belinda Cordery from Summerland Credit Union.

Tickets for Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival.

Latest deals and offers

Call for pool plaque to shine in a prominent place

BALLINA RSL sub-branch members are keen to ensure a memorial plaque will be in a prominent position when the Ballina War Memorial Pool is upgraded.

Hurry! Reserved seating selling fast for Pro Bull Riding

Luke Nichols riding Rap Dancer at the PBR Bullriding Rural Weekly Live Series held at the Grafton Showgrounds. Photo:Bruce Thomas / Daily Examiner March 28, 2015

Numbered seats still available for PBR Live Series finale

Take your tastebuds on a gourmet tour of Northern Rivers

Rebecca Zentveld, (right) from Zentveld’s Coffee, with (from left) Rebekka Battista from Our House, and Ballina-on-Richmond Rotarians Wendy Marsh and Col Lee, promoting the gourmet tour which is part of this year’s Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival.

Flavours of the Northern Rivers Gourmet Tour in July.

Dig deep for cash to keep the music alive in Ballina

Summerland Credit Union Ballina branch manager Amanda Petersen with the cash prize in the Ballina Coastal Country Music fundraising raffle, with (back, left) raffle co-ordinator Carmel Hayman from the Rotary Club of Ballina and Belinda Cordery from Summerland Credit Union.

Tickets for Ballina Coastal Country Music Festival.

Good Guys labels Ballina boy Braydan a Super Kid

National Super Kid finalist Braydan Webb with Good Guys Ballina store manager Dax Cowan.

Braydan Webb a national finalist in the inaugural Super Kid Awards.

WATCH: Bong throwing at Nimbin MardiGrass

GO LARGE: Mark visiting from Brisbane scored a huge 30-plus metre throw at the MardiGrass bong throwing competition.

No shortage of brave (or foolish) competitors in the "Hemp Olympix".

Calling all musos for NCEIA Dolphin awards

ON STAGE: Electronic duo Nocturnal Tapes, Lachie Mulligan on electronics and Harry Suttor on guitar and vocals, at the 2015 Dolphin Awards ceremony.

Entries are open to independent musicians to audition

Star Wars: Force Awakens told in Emojis

Disney has released an emoji version of The Force Awakens.

To commemorate Star Wars Day, Disney releases emoji version of film on a smart...

NYPD join dance challenge

New York Police respond to NZ dance challenge.

New York's finest accept Kiwi dance challenge.

NZ Police Issue Dance Challenge

NZ Police doing the running man dance.

Video of NZ Police doing the running man dance and challenging police forces around...

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

VIDEO: Art Deco fan pays $835,000 for Imperial Hotel

No Caption

Iconic "Impy" sold at a bargan price to bidder who loves Art Deco.

RBA warns of future apartment oversupply

Toowoomba: Crest Apartments and Burke & Wills, Ruthven Street ( view from Neil Street) Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

RBA says oversupply of apartments poses risk to household finances