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What is the MUCK & DUNDER?
Welcome to the MUCK & DUNDER page - here is our chance to explain a little bit about who we are, what we do, and why...
The Muck & Dunder has been a vision of ours (Shelly & Stu) for a few years now, after we both fell in love with the concept, flavours, culture and history of Rum. After years of attending, organising and hosting many events, festivals and get togethers, we came to the conclusion that this is something we were pretty good at and could do something out of the ordinary with - so the idea of a Rum Bar came to mind. We wanted a place that we could source our own range of products free of tie, offer decent drinks at competitive prices and get people exploring the wonderful world of rum, its culture, music and feel good vibes.
So - let's start with summer of 2018, this was a great summer in more ways than one for us, as we were lucky to fit in a load of music gigs plus a few local festivals, and we were able go on a couple of super cool holidays/rum adventures. The main event that sticks to mind is Victorious Festival this year, as we had some of our oldest friends join us from Oman for the festival, school friends from Kent, and new friends from Norwich & Oxford too! As a group, we soft of consider ourselves as 'Festival Veterans' and we love nothing more than a decent air bed, spacious tents, folding chairs and luxury camping stoves - so to say we always go fully prepared is an understatement! Victorious 2018 was different though...for the first time in our festival history, we (Shelly & Stu) decided to go one step further and take a pop-up bar for our 'campsite' as a surprise for our friends. Fully equipped with cool boxes, optics, mini kegs, fairy lights and an obligatory disco ball, all to be housed in a top quality £25 gazebo from eBay. Shelly was cheeky and managed to borrow the bar section from the Brewery where she works, along with a favour from one of the Brewery Sign Writers, Paul Martin, who quickly marked out the bar sign the day before the festival!
In a (borrowed) van on our way to Victorious, we were talking about the bar and how we were going to get it set up before our friends arrived, what was going to be the first drink enjoyed in there, and who was going to be barred first?! (all jokes aside, please drink responsibly folks & don't be that di*khead who gets barred...)
We always had the name 'Muck & Dunder' in mind as our bar name, Muck being the spent/waste sugarcane from the distilling process, and Dunder being the pit in which it goes in to - we could spend hours talking about the process and origins of the bar name, but we need to save something for our tasting sessions...
Any way, enroute to the festival, in the borrowed van, surprise pop up bar in the boot, we decided that Muck & Dunder was the bar name for us, and with the Rum Boom looming around the corner (watch out Gin), we decided there and then to get the name Trademarked before someone else did. With Stu driving, Shelly completed the entire application on her dedicated festival phone (a battered old iPhone - just in case she dropped her new one in the portaloo again), registered the domain name online, set up the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages - all before reaching the festival campsite!
9am we arrived at the festival site, armed with two sack trucks and a bucket of coffee, we got straight to work on the campsite pitch. Shelly had her usual 'putting up the tent' rage/meltdown, Stu bent all the tent pegs as normal, rain clouds made an appearance, and the £25 gazebo was much smaller than advertised on eBay...but we got there in the end, just in time for the arrival of the Oman and Kent crew!
Radio X had a broadcasting tent in the same field as us, and we noticed a few producers walking around the site chatting with festival-goers, asking for any funny stories (clean ones only), so moments later a bunch of bright-eyed Radio X producers approached us. Sadly, we didn't have any funny or family friendly stories for them to broadcast, but their ears pricked up when Stu told them that we did have our own Rum Bar on site! Minutes went by and then the broadcasting team reappeared with Radio X presenter Gordon Smart, who turned out to be the very first guest at the Muck & Dunder in return for a short interview. So that's how we started...safe to say the festival was great, the company we kept was the best and the music was world class...
The next best thing for us was a mobile option, so along came Lady Muck! Lady Muck (a converted Rice horse box) was originally part of a small fleet of mobile bars in Chester, being used for serving keg beers and a few spirits at some of the race tracks there. With some TLC, Lady Muck is now ready to go after being refurbished and rummified - we've since ripped out the keg beer side of things, as our passion is primarily all things rum. Lady Muck is fully stocked with some serious rums offering rum cocktails, rare finds and quality products (and a luxury rum hot chocolate for the colder months).
Role on to May 2021...where we finally got the keys to our very own premises in Devizes, Wiltshire. Shelly gave up her 23yr job with the local brewery to take on an empty premises in town (previously The Beehive Lifestyle shop, and a fruit & veg shop many years before that!). After 6 weeks of refurbishment and installing the bar/toilets, fixtures & fittings, we flung our doors open on the 25th June 2021 and haven't looked back since.
Now we have our very own place, filled to the rafters with over 200 rums, 20+ gins, wines/beers/spirits you name it...plus an extensive rum-focused cocktail menu with over 30 to choose from (and counting). We offer monthly rum tasting sessions, the odd pop-up street food event, semi-regular salsa classes plus a range of live DJ nights/new music. We've had some amazing music artists perform here too, The Allergies, Jimmy Needles, GARDNA plus an array of up and coming BBC Introducing artists from the West (huge thanks to our pal, James Threlfall who is forever helping us with the music side of things). We are open during the day for coffee/cake with good wifi for those wanting a change of scenery on their working from home days, we continue to support local suppliers too (shout out to Loud Mouth Coffee in Frome & Cakesmiths in Bristol!). At night, we turn up the vibes and bring something unique to Devizes, with all of our drinks being made from scratch (no pre-mixes), we still encourage table service so you can kick back and leave the hard work to us and our team.
To recap - we wanted a place that we could source our own range of rums free of tie, offer decent drinks at competitive prices and get people exploring the wonderful world of rum, its culture, music and feel good vibes - so, we hope to see you at the Muck & Dunder soon!
Shelly & Stu x
MUCK; a pit/hole for acidic 'dunder' to ferment, enhancing esters & adding 'funk' to the distillate
DUNDER; spent/left over residue in the still from the distillation process
The Original Muck & Dunder - it had to start somewhere!
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