Cane Land Distilling Company, LLC was founded in 2013 by Walter Tharp, whose family owns Alma Plantation & Sugar Mill in Lakeland, Louisiana.
Tharp hatched the idea of opening a distillery while attending a party at a wedding of the owners of the famed rum company, Ron Zacapa in Guatemala. Other owners of sugar mills from Guatemala and El Salvador were in attendance at the wedding gala. One common question emerged from conversations with those sugar mill owners. “You have a sugar mill and you don’t make rum? Why not?”
Tharp’s initial thought was, “Just because we make sugar doesn’t mean we make candy bars.” Reflecting on the conversation on the flight back to the States, the idea for a Louisiana distillery was already in motion. Having such a vast agricultural resource as Alma, it made perfect sense.
Years of red tape ensued. Everything from pesky laws from the Prohibition Era that are still on the books, to challenges from federal, state and local authorities, made the journey difficult. But Tharp persevered.
Today, Cane Land Distilling Company is in full production in very rare company. Owning the farmland on Alma, the sugar mill and the distillery allows for complete control of the production and distilling process. This results in one of the country’s only estate bottled producers of spirits and rhum agricole in the continental U.S.