As anyone who is a fan of rum running, Spanish Marie was my favorite person for many reasons, enough that we decide to pay homage to her and name our premier aged rum after Marie Waite aka Spanish Marie. I did my own research about her and read books and saw documentaries on Spanish Marie but all the facts really never added up. I started this in 2011 and we produced Spanish Marie Rum in 2013 aka "Bad Bitch Rum". Running down leads and spending a lot of time in the library i started to find a trail of her maiden names and began the journey of trying to find her family. There were no photos, correct birth place or solid info on the notoriously interesting women. Ureka! An answer from someone who was related to Marie Waite. Marie married Charlie Waite a well know rum runner whose family was based in Key West. Charlie was her second husband, yes the first is another story for latter! Marie having spent some time in Cuba was introduced to Key West in her late teens. She meet Charlie who spent time in Key West but settled more in Miami as time went by on the rum running scale. Fast forward to an early am raid on his boat with a fellow rum runner, he was shot and fell overboard and believed to be dead, Alexis the other crew member shot in the neck was the last to see him...well except for the Coast Guard Major who shot him. Marie Waite demanded to know who murdered her husband and alot became of this and fueled her anger for the Coast Guard and the Major who she said" If i am ever in the same room with him i will kill him with any means necessary. Spanish Marie picked up where Charlie left off and began running rum to Key West and Miami on speed boats and also a schooner. This is the 1920's and a tall feat for any man let alone a women rum runner to accomplish and she did it better than anyone. Marie created her own language from spanish and set up transmission station in Key West where Charlies family was based and confused the coast guard and keep the rum flowing making profit and earning her a reputation as a mighty entrepreneurial women. Marie had showed here skills with Charlie as they had a dance academy( front for rum money) with all the socialites. Having so many run ins with the law she was busted a few times for minor rum offences then in late 1929 she had a big raid and went to court to pay her dues. She was given some time to get her affairs straight, kids looked after in case of jail and pay large fines. She disappeared from site and was thought to have gone on the run by most, but did she? She showed back up after prohibition had ended years latter right before the war in 1939. A rum runner? No! She had opened a car repair and autobody shop and was the first women owner /mechanic in south florida! She was good with fixing cars and still was a great mom. Spanish Marie is not only smart but has adaptability to change with the environment. She went on to have 5 more husbands, do great things with Church , charity and other businesses that you will have to read all about this in a book i am writing. The woman who took the high proof rum and added red wine to it , to cut it down and make her own cocktail inspired me to make a rum to honor her, but as i learned more i became in awe of her. Her granddaughter and great granddaughter have become friends and this is the first time in close to a hundred years we get to say on April 12th, Happy 118th Birthday Spanish Marie you truly were a Bad Bitch and there is no better compliment!
-Paul Menta, owner/founder, Key West Legal Rum