Mount Gay’s Original Spirit, Ernesto Roman


“It’s an honor to celebrate history, the appreciation of craftsmanship, and tradition with a prominent brand who has a sensibility for the same,” photographer Ernesto Roman says of his newest collaboration with Mount Gay Rum. The brand invited four people from various backgrounds and fields, all of whose crafts depend on handmade techniques, to participate in their video series, Original Spirits.


“It’s crucial to remember the importance of honoring history, process, and tradition,” the company says. “Amidst the masses, there are still those few who move against the status quo.”

Brock Willsey of Vividbraille, Pete Raho of Gowanus Furniture Co., and James Tucker of The Aesthetic Union join Roman as four examples of craftsmen who work against the grain and believe that every story starts with a time and place. For Mount Gay, the story began in 1703 in Barbados, but for Roman, it began in Cartagena, Colombia.

Established over 300 years ago, Mount Gay has perfected creating handcrafted products of exceptional quality, something the selected Original Sprits also strive to achieve. Through the videos, they each tell their story, stressing the importance and significance of maintaining the art of handcraft, be it in clothing, photography, design, or the making of rum. 

“In my work, I thrive to create beautiful imagery in order to tell a story,” Roman continues. “The final product must represent quality, although to get there one must go through a process. The Original Spirits celebrates the pleasures of this process, in which dedication, craftsmanship, and techniques are essential to achieve your goals.”