How love, rum, and tatts brought Lucille Rose to Sailor Jerry

Lucille Rose, Sailor Jerry brand ambassador. Photo: Christopher Pearce

The role of Sailor Jerry brand ambassador is less a job, and more a full-blooded lifestyle and  it’s a gig that gets to give a lot back to the bartending community. That’s what Sailor Jerry’s new Australian brand ambassador, Lucille Rose, is looking forward to doing with her role; below, we hear from her about how she found her way here, and what she’s planning for the road ahead.

Tell us a bit about Lucille Rose?
I’m a North Queensland girl who fell in love with a Sydney boy and ended up moving to this big beautiful city on a whim, about two years ago now. I was a French and English high school teacher who essentially fell head-first into bartending when I moved to Sydney. I was thrown behind a small Jamaican rum bar with absolutely no experience, where I very quickly gained significant knowledge on all things cocktails and rum. I absolutely fell in love with the industry – the people, the passion, the creativity, the craft. What started as a casual job whilst I adjusted to big-city life, turned into a fulltime love affair. From there on I threw myself 100 percent into the industry – worked at a few different bars, learned under some of the best in the industry, as well as competing in several state and national cocktail comps. Last year I was also nominated for Rookie of the Year at the Australian Bar Awards. I haven’t been here long, but I assure you that my passion for this industry makes up for lost time. 

What inspires you about Sailor Jerry?
To me, Sailor Jerry isn’t just a rum – it’s an “all in” lifestyle. Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins lived a full, adventurous, mischievous life on the fringes of American society. He was part of a counter-culture in America from the 40s through til the 70s – his whole life was about following your dreams, and living your life authentically. He embraced the individual, the misfit. Sailor Jerry learnt how to tattoo whilst in the Navy, where tattoos were a way for Navy men to be able to maintain a sense of individuality and identity. Sailor Jerry then went on to open a tattoo studio, where we can thank him for being the first to create the colour purple as a tattoo ink! Basically, the culture around Sailor Jerry, both as a rum and an individual, is something I feel very close to. I spent a lot of time as a teen trying to fit in, but I’ve since learnt the importance of embracing your own individuality. I’m also a lover of tattoos and finding creative ways to express yourself – I  have over 30 tattoos now, and I’ve always felt like the more tattooed I become, the more I feel like “myself”. Sailor Jerry is fun, bold, a little cheeky, and very rock n roll – it inspires me to live my life to the absolute fullest, and embrace my own uniqueness.  

Tell us a bit more about your new role – what do you do?
So I’m the Australian brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry. Essentially, it’s my job to spread love, awareness and knowledge of Sailor Jerry to Australia, whilst staying true to the rock n roll attitude of the Sailor Jerry culture. I feel like I was almost made for this role – a lover of rum, old music, vintage clothing… I was even named after a guitar! It’s my role to create exciting Sailor Jerry-inspired events, find new and exciting ways to engage Australia with Sailor Jerry, and keep the legacy alive! You’ll be able to catch me at a bar near you soon, bringing Sailor Jerry spiced-rum goodness. I’ll tell you about what went down when Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins created purple tattoo ink – it’s a hilarious story! 

Lucille Rose, Sailor Jerry brand ambassador. Photo: Christopher Pearce

What are your plans with Sailor Jerry this year?
I have a lot of big plans for Sailor Jerry this year, and I can’t wait to put my creativity to work! Since I’m fresh out from being a bartender myself, I plan on creating a really cool Bartender Advocacy program. In this industry, I see bartenders going above and beyond every day for their guests. From my own experiences, I feel like bartenders wear many hats – they don’t just make drinks. We’re there to entertain, to joke with, and sometimes even a shoulder to cry on. This, paired with long and late work hours, can lead to bartenders tending to neglect their own personal health and wellbeing. I don’t want to give away too much yet, but I’m creating a fun and exciting way in which Sailor Jerry can give back to bartenders, as well as helping to support their physical and emotional wellbeing. Furthermore, with Savage Apple launching this year, there’ll be plenty of Savage Apple parties and events happening in the year ahead! 

What you can you tell us about Sailor Jerry’s latest innovations? 
We have two exciting new products, which are the first new Sailor Jerry innovations since the brand was launched 19 years ago. Our Sailor Jerry RTD range was released last year in two distinct flavours –  Rum and Dry, and Rum and Cola. One of the great things about RTDs is their convenience. You don’t need to worry about ice or glassware or mixers, our RTDs are fun and simple – smooth, classic flavours, ready to go straight from the can. There’s a huge festival culture in Australia, from music to car shows to barbeque festivals, and I can’t wait to see Sailor Jerry RTDs at some big events this year. You’ll be able to find us at festivals in our super cool vintage Airstream bar, or in one of our funky pop up bars. I can’t wait to get out there and bring our RTDs and rock n roll vibes to some of the really exciting festivals we have in this country. I also feel like RTDs have always been a staple at backyard house parties in Australia. It’s great that people have more choice with what they can easily drink at home now – I know I’ll be drinking Sailor Jerry Rum and Dry RTDs by the backyard pool this summer! 

We’ve also just brought Savage Apple to Australia, a product which I am really excited about. Think spiced rum meets a warm apple pie. Bottled at 35% ABV, Savage Apple has bright apple and tasty cinnamon notes, finished with our distinctive Sailor Jerry spiced rum finish.  I think this product will bring forward a whole new wave of Sailor Jerry fans in Australia. It’s a super fun product, perfect for drinking on its own (as a chilled shot) or with some ice (although it works great in cocktails too!), and I can see it becoming quite the house-party staple. Savage Apple is available in bars across Australia now, and will be on shelves later this year. 

What are some of the more inventive things that you’ve seen bartenders doing with Sailor Jerry? 
One of the great things about Sailor Jerry is how versatile it is. It works so well in such a wide variety of cocktails. I’ve seen some venues like Milky Lane doing some really cool food pairings with Sailor Jerry cocktails, and even seen some places creating sauces for chicken wings and ribs using Sailor Jerry! Now with Savage Apple launching too, there’s so much potential for new and exciting cocktails. I can’t wait to see what some bartenders can come up with. 

Lucille Rose, Sailor Jerry brand ambassador. Photo: Christopher Pearce

We are in a very challenging time for the industry – how do you see Sailor Jerry and WGS play a role in this?  
In light of the current global pandemic, bartenders and hospitality staff are facing a difficult and uncertain future. I personally know many bartenders who have had their shifts cut right back due to a decrease in demand as more and more people are staying home. It’s heartbreaking to see fellow industry folk suffering and unsure of what lies ahead. Both Sailor Jerry and William Grant & Sons pride ourselves on our family values and family history background. Bartender advocacy and supporting bartenders plays a huge role in everything we do. I’ve been in talks with the other William Grant & Sons brand ambassadors and as a team, we’re coming up with a plan on how we can best support those who’ve always supported us – the bartenders. Sailor Jerry has always been a brand for the working class man (or woman!), and now is our time to really step forward and help those in the industry on a personal level. Personally, I think now is really the time to support small businesses, more than ever. If you’re healthy and able to, please go out and support your local businesses. Small businesses will feel the effects of this pandemic the most. We all really need to ban together as much as possible. 

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