The last distillery I visited was GrandTen in South Boston. It was interesting in comparing and contrasting each distillery's angle on their product. For example, one of the two people behind GrandTen is a classically trained chemist, and the way that they perfected each round of prototype gins definitely had a focused, scientific way about it.
The distiller for Privateer is Maggie Campbell, and her initial classical training was getting a philosophy degree. She traced her interests in distilling to prior to graduation; when she was 20, she visited the Oban distillery in Scotland and became fascinated by the tour. After college, her life path took her to wine school in Denver to become a sommelier, which definitely paid off later in training her nose for shaping her spirits. She found a job at a boutique beer and store, and when she suggested that they also sell spirits, it became her job to research what they should carry. As she got into home brewing, she began writing people for advice about books about beer and spirits. Her email correspondence with the Germain-Robin distillery paid off for there was soon an opening for an assistant distiller, and she worked there for nearly a year. The owner of Privateer Rum, Andrew Cabot, was in need of a distiller who could take their product to the next level, and when he contacted Germain-Robin for a recommendation, they suggested Maggie.
From a historical side, Andrew traced his lineage back to another Andrew Cabot who was a rum distiller and was also involved in privateering activities during the Revolutionary War period. His ancestor's distillery was in nearby Beverly, MA. While I did get to meet Andrew at the Boston Cocktail Summit, he was away on business during my visit.
For ferments, the methodology is long, cool, and slow to create deeper and richer flavors and to minimize as much of the aromatics from being carried off with the carbon dioxide. While 24 hour to 3 day ferments are common in rum, Privateer's product takes a full 7 days. For a yeast, they use a European yeast strain that the original distiller selected from Scotland. The still, pictured above has the capability of being run as either a pot or a column still; the first or stripping run is done solely as a pot and the second or spirit run uses the hybrid pot-column.