Sorghum: An American Rum, Born in Indiana

By | September 15, 2011
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Sorghum is an old sugar crop that is being used to make Indiana rum. Photos courtesy of Colglazier and Hobson Distilling Company

Called Sorghum, this spirit is reviving an all-but-forgotten crop and turning heads to Indiana's craft distilling scene. It sources sorghum cane syrup collected from small farms in southern Indiana and is made in small batches at Heartland Distillers, the Indianapolis company that makes Indiana Vodka, Prohibition Gin and other spirits.

Sorghum comes in two varieties: a white rum that is set to debut in September and a bourbon-barrel-aged dark rum that will follow in October. The aged rum matures in used oak barrels for eight weeks, which gives the spirit its darker color and imparts additional flavor, including vanilla and toasty notes. The white rum is not aged and has a lighter flavor.

Matt Colglazier and Stuart Hobson
Matt Colglazier, left, and Stuart Hobson, right, make Sorgrhum at Hobson’s Heartland Distillers in Indianapolis. Photos courtesy of Colglazier and Hobson Distilling Company

Sorghum comes from Colglazier and Hobson Distilling Company, which is an offshoot of Heartland Distillers. Stuart Hobson is Heartland's founder and distiller, and Matt Colglazier is Hobson's Bloomington-based business partner who came up with the idea to use sorghum cane syrup.

Rum is traditionally made from sugarcane, and this new spirit is a departure from the tropically flavored varieties out there. "It tastes like a rum, but it's got a lot more flavor packed into it," Hobson says. Using sorghum "produces a fuller bodied, more earthy flavored rum. There's no burn when it goes down."

Sorghum is an old sugar source and one of the earliest cultivated crops, but it fell by the wayside when sugarcane proved to be a cheaper and more productive supply.

Whether you prefer to blend the sorghum rum into a piña colada or drink it straight, raise a glass and toast to this Indiana original. For a store locator, visit

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9402 Uptown Drive, Suite 1000
Indianapolis, IN 46256
(800) 417-0150
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