When we wound up with our first unplanned Saturday in what seems like 6 years, I experienced a fleeting moment of what felt like panic.
“What should we do?” I asked Jenn. And she didn’t know either.
It was awesome.
So I pitched turning Small Business Saturday into Regional Business Saturday. Despite the fact that corporate behemoth American Express launched SBS, I love the concept of not letting the mom-and-pops miss out on all the post-Thanksgiving commerce. And anyway, I’d been jonesing for a visit to a couple of places within 60 miles of home.
To distilleries in Richland, Ga., and Americus, Ga. — namely Richland Rum and 13th Colony.
We headed to Richland first, where this new boutique distiller has surprised connoisseurs everywhere with craft rum made from regional sugar cane (instead of molasses, like every other rum around). Turns out they were closed, having done a Black Friday event instead.
We were undaunted and pointed the car to Americus. But first we crossed through Plains, home of former President Jimmy Carter and Georgia’s ground zero for peanuts. Thinking about the next year of fresh peanut butter, I swung into the parking lot of the big peanut distributor downtown, only to find them closed too. I guess Plains isn’t a commercial mecca, even on Small Business Saturday. But the little shop next door called Plain Peanuts was open, and they were selling raw peanuts by the 5-pound bag cheaper than I could get them in the shell in Columbus. (In for two.) Stocked up on some unshelled pecans and a big burlap sack for storing sweet potatoes while we were there. Oh, and a couple cones of peanut butter ice cream.
On to Americus, where the first stop was at Cafe Campesino for four pounds of fair-trade coffee beans and a colorful history of the coffeeshop courtesy of owner Bill Harris. This place was so groovy (rhymes with on-site-veggie-co-op) that they’ll get their own blog post presently.
We were disappointed to find 13th Colony distillery also closed (a gentle note to both distilleries: POST YOUR HOURS ON THE FACEBOOKS. THAT’S WHAT YOUR PAGES ARE FOR), but the liquor store in town was happy to sell us all the local product, including a handle of gin and 750 of limited-edition corn whiskey from 13th Colony and a bottle of the deliciously caramel rum from Richland Rum. It runs a sporty $50+ per 750 ml, but it’s the finest rum I’ve ever sipped. Fancy places in Cali have crafted drinks designed exclusively to use Richland Rum, and Garden & Gun magazine profiled the place, thereby proving its awesomeness.
So that was our day off, and this is our haul:
Now the best part: Consuming it!