Daufuskie Island Rum Company

Serial entrepreneur Tony Chase proves that nothing is impossible when you’re armed with a crazy idea and you’re willing to do a lot of hard work. As a seasoned professional in the healthcare industry, Chase was able to put his knowledge of chemistry to a new use—the development of a top-secret recipe for rum. He took the recipe, floated it over to Daufuskie Island and built a distillery accessible only by boat. Now his rums are sold all over the Lowcountry and are featured in specialty drinks at popular restaurants and bars. He sat down with South’s Managing Editor Stacy Moser to spill his secrets to success—along with some tasty summer cocktail recipes. 

A theme common amongst successful entrepreneurs is their whole-hearted belief in what others might believe is a crazy idea. Tony Chase is a case in point—he’s open to new ideas—especially the crazy ones.

A few years ago, Chase was on the hunt for a possible retirement property to buy. “It all started when I searched online for the perfect house and one on Daufuskie Island matched all my criteria. I contacted the realtor and we agreed to meet at the house,” Chase chuckles. “I said I didn’t need directions—I had my GPS. The realtor laughed and said, ‘You can only get here by boat—you know that, right?’”

Chase was intrigued and caught a ferry to the island, about three miles off the coast from Hilton Head, South Carolina. He fell in love with it at first sight. That night, over drinks in a local bar, his conversation with a new friend turned to a mutual dream—building and running a rum distillery. The next morning, as the boozy fog cleared and reasonable minds prevailed, his friend backed away from the idea, but Chase decided to run with the ball. He’d toyed with the idea of retiring on Daufuskie, but now he envisioned building a new business there. And Daufuskie Island Rum Company was born.

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