By James Atkinson

Attendees to the Top Shelf boutique drinks festival this coming Sunday and Monday can expect some refreshingly candid views on the rum category from global ambassador, Ian Burrell, with tickets for the inaugural show selling fast.

Speaking to TheShout this morning, Burrell said he has two distinctly different presentations in store for the consumer (Sunday) and trade (Monday) sessions of Top Shelf, to be held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.

Burrell said the consumer session will be more lighthearted, focusing on why the tiki phenomenon has been here since the 1930s and is still going strong. As part of this presentation he will mix up cocktails for consumers to try.

“On the trade day it will be a more in-depth look at the category of rum, to help bartenders understand why rum should be used on the bar, and what styles of rums they should be looking for and how to use them in various different drinks,” Burrell said.

He said the Q&A component will be a highlight of the trade session, promising to give his “no bullshit” views on rum for bartenders.

“The great thing about what I do is that because I’m independent, I don’t have to answer to any rum company,” he said. 

“So if anyone wants to ask any questions I’ll be able to give them the lowdown as opposed to a brand ambassador or a marketer. I’ll just tell it how it is.”

“I think it’s going to be a great show. The good thing about it is going to be catching up with a lot of friends that I haven’t seen for a while – being on the other side of the earth, it’s not regular that you get down to Australia,” Burrell said.

For further information and to catch some of the last remaining tickets to Top Shelf, visit

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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