If you thought that frozen beverage machines were solely made for bars and restaurants – think again. We’re introducing you to Jim Bleech, owner of Rum Runner, a company that operates a boat that sails the beautiful waters of the British Virgin Islands. The Rum Runner is not your average boat though; it’s a boat that houses two dual-flavor Spaceman frozen beverage machines on it, allowing Jim to hand-deliver frozen cocktails to customers who are on boats of their own.
We got the opportunity to speak to Jim about his company, the success it has brought him, where the idea came from, and how Spaceman frozen beverage machines have helped him live out his dreams on the turquoise waters.
Where did the idea come from?
The idea for a power boat that sold frozen cocktails came about around 30 years ago. When Jim used to lay out on the beach, he would notice that people on their boats had to come back to shore to get ice, so he thought it might be a good idea to start selling ice himself. After consulting his wife about it, she asked, “Why don’t we just sell drinks?” Although the idea has existed for quite some time, it wasn’t until about a decade ago that Jim began to take action. After finding the proper partners and obtaining certain licenses, the Rum Runner officially hit the waters about 3 months ago.
How does Rum Runner work?
Jim travels around on a dinghy boat seeking out people who are interested in a frozen drink (which isn’t hard, of course.) After taking their orders, he returns to his larger boat to get the drinks and then brings the drinks back on his dinghy. They keep QR codes on the boat so customers can easily pay through Venmo or use cash. The Rum Runner’s busy times are between 2PM-5PM, and Jim and his crew plan to be on the water every day except during hurricane season which is from August until mid-October.
How has business been since the launch of Rum Runner?
In Jim’s own words, they “have just been kicking butt”, which is exactly what we love to hear at Spaceman. Not only has business been booming, but Jim says “the drinks are just awesome, the machines put out the most incredible drinks, and it can’t be duplicated.” According to Jim, there are no other companies selling frozen drinks on the British Virgin Islands, making Rum Runner that much more popular. There have even been people that specifically went out on the water to find his boat and try out his frozen cocktails, which they discovered through social media.
Are their mixes made from scratch?
Everything at Rum Runner is made from scratch, and they create all their own recipes. Jim and his two employees keep extra ingredients on the boat at all times, since they sell the mix so quickly they need to make more while they’re on the water. Jim said one of his employees probably spends about 60% of his overall time on the boat just mixing up more cocktails so they have the machines consistently filled.
What flavors are on the menu?
Jim currently serves four frozen drinks, but their number one seller is the Rum Runner. We were told that it’s made with a secret recipe, but Jim gave us some insight as to what’s in the drink. It contains a total of 10 ingredients, including a mixture of white and dark rum, banana and cherry liqueur, and a range of tropical juices such as guava, orange, and pineapple. Their number two drink is a Passion Fruit Daiquiri, followed by a Mango Colada, then a Painkiller, a cocktail famous to the islands.
Are the Spaceman frozen beverage machines profitable?
Jim said they are cash flow positive. Jim told us that they sell roughly 100 drinks a day, and that’s only within a 3-hour time span. At $15 a pop, it’s clear that these drinks are in-demand and are bringing Jim a return on his investment.
Why did Jim choose Spaceman?
Jim found Spaceman through a simple Google search. At first, he didn’t know anything about frozen beverage machines and was comparing different brands. However, after speaking to the customer service representatives at Spaceman, he said the help was outstanding, and it made the decision a no-brainer. Jim told us they haven’t encountered a single problem with the machines, they are super easy to clean and maintain, and he simply can’t say enough good things about them. He also told us that if Rum Runner ever ventures onto the shore, he will gladly be using Spaceman machines for his on-land business as well.
Thank you to Jim Bleech and Rum Runner for allowing Spaceman to write a spotlight on your business and highlight how Spaceman machines have positively impacted your business. We cannot wait to see the new heights that Rum Runner reaches and are glad to be a part of this journey with you.