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June 27, 2013

For Immediate Release
Media Contact:
Julie Calzone
337.235.2924 ext. 18
Lafayette Travel Contact:
Kelly Strenge
(Lafayette, La.) - Lafayette’s first rum distillery, Rank Wildcat Spirits, has signed on as a sponsor for the 2013 EatLafayette™ by Lafayette Travel campaign. The campaign runs through September 2 and touts the Fly Lafayette Club as its title Sponsor.
Rank Wildcat Spirits is Louisiana’s second fully licensed and operational rum distillery. All of Rank Wildcat Spirits’ raw materials are provided exclusively from M. A. Patout and Son, a mill that was started in 1825 and is the oldest and largest family-owned sugar mill in Louisiana. Being a part of Louisiana’s culture, the mill provides pride to Rank Wildcat Sprits by further legitimizing the distillery’s status as a grassroots Acadian operation.
Two long-time friends David Meaux and Cole LeBlanc own rank Wildcat Spirits. Realizing that Acadiana grows as much, if not more, sugar cane than most of the Caribbean rum-producing nations, one question arose: Where is Acadiana’s rum industry?
“Louisiana prides itself not only on its food, but also its culture. People were missing out on another fundamental part of Louisiana’s culture, rum made from Louisiana sugarcane. No one has fully taken advantage of the immense amount of sugarcane that Louisiana grows in this way,” says David Meaux, Rank Wildcat Spirits co-owner.
“EatLafayette is a perfect campaign for us because it celebrates locally-owned restaurants! Since we are a local rum distillery, it only makes sense for us to pair up with the locally owned restaurants,” says co-owner Cole LeBlanc.
Although EatLafayette focuses on locally owned restaurants, the sponsors are a diverse group that also celebrates many aspects of Lafayette culture.
“We are excited to have Rank Wildcat Spirits and Sweet Crude Rum as part of this year’s campaign. Rum will be a great match for the 73 restaurants that are participating this year,” said Ben Berthelot, executive director for Lafayette Travel.
“We are dedicated to serving the people of Lafayette,” said Meaux. “All of our spirits are distilled using our hand-crafted and  one-of-a-kind  stainless  steel  and  copper  stills.”
“We love the sense of community that Lafayette’s citizens represent. Rank Wildcat Spirits wants to enhance the rich culture that already lays here by providing a fine spirit called Sweet Crude Rum,” says LeBlanc
Meaux explains, “Sweet Crude Rum is our signature, hand-made, small batch white rum and is produced using only the most premium cane sugar and molasses derived from right here in Acadiana! This smooth, intrinsic, and unique rum can be added to your favorite cocktail, but it also does just fine on its own!”
Although the EatLafayette campaign is only 11 weeks long, the fun for Rank Wildcat Spirits will not stop. Meaux and LeBlanc will be working hard in developing its dark counterpart, tentatively named Black Gold.
EatLafayette by Lafayette Travel has been proudly celebrated Lafayette’s cuisine for nine years. This year’s edition of the campaign that celebrates and markets Lafayette, Louisiana’s one-of-a-kind locally owned restaurants signed up 73 participants, a record number.

It was a simple concept of helping locally-owned eateries attract customers that have grown to a multi-media campaign that now spans 11 weeks beginning June 17. The campaign is funded by sponsorships, registration fees, Lafayette Travel and support by local media groups. 

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