The Physics
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Volume of US Rum Consumption

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Results of Industry Search. 1996. David Lam Management Research Library Lexis/Nexis Site. Industry Searches. University of British Columbia Library.
(cases in thousands)
106.61 Ml
Adams Liquor Handbook 2001. Beverage Dynamics, July/August 2001.
Total Rum15,56817,100
(thousands of 9-liter cases)
153.9 Ml
The Historic View. The Good Life. 27 August 2001. "By 1700, per capita rum consumption in the 14 colonies was about four gallons a year." 4.16 Ml
Cycles of US History-Colonial Cycle. 2 February 2000. "population of colonies est. 275,000 (1700)."
Brandes, Richard. "question." E-mail to the author. 21 May 2002. "18.1 million 9-liter cases." 162.9 Ml
Hipschen, Amy. July 2001 Edition of Tidbits eZine. US Army Community and Family Support Center. "US rum consumption increased 6.7% from 1998-'99, to 124.425 million liters from 116.640 million, and increased more than 21% from 1995-'99." 116.64–124.43 Ml
Furlotte, Nicolas. Taking Stock of Rum. Cheers, June 1999. "But at 6.8 million 9 liter cases is 1998, tequila accounts for less that half the actual volume of rum (14.5 million cases)." 130.5 Ml

Rum is an alcoholic beverage produced by the distillation of various fermented cane sugar products. The most common mixtures used in making rum consist of molasses and water or sugar and water. Sugarcane is a type of grass most often found growing in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Molasses is a byproduct in the processing of sugar. It is a dark brown glutinous liquid containing uncrystallized sugar and some sucrose (a disaccharide composed of glucose and fructose). Alcohol is formed through the actions of enzymes, causing a chemical reaction between organic substances. This process is identified as fermentation, in which the action of zymase secreted by yeast converts simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose, into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. This can be represented by the equation

C6H12O6 → 2C2H5OH + 2CO2.

Another type of rum production involves the fermentation of a mixture of the scum formed from the heating of the raw sugarcane juice with molasses, water, and the residue left after the refining of sugar, known as dunder. In a process known as distillation, the liquid mixture is heated until its volatile components pass into the vapor phase. The vapor is then cooled to recover such constituents in liquid form by condensation. The process of distillation not only concentrates the alcohol, but also removes from the beverage a large portion of the unpleasant-tasting impurities. Once distilled, rum is a white or straw-colored spirit varying in strength from 80 to 150 proof (40 to 75 percent alcohol). Dark rums are made by adding a small amount of caramel or by aging in special wooden casks. The flavor depends upon ethyl butyrate, an organic ester. Annually, the US consumes between 130 million and 154 million liters.

Mary Vernov -- 2002