Our Story

Western Canada's Premier Craft Rum Producer

Collage of archival photos featuring Emilio Picariello.

The Untold History of Alberta Rum Running

Alberta has a history of bold entrepreneurs who were willing to take risks to achieve their goals. One of the most notorious of these was Emilio Picariello, infamously known as 'Emperor Pic'. When Prohibition began, he saw an opportunity and quickly built a significant rum running operation.

Operating from his headquarters in the Blairmore Hotel in the Crowsnest Pass, Emperor Pic ran rum, whiskey and other spirits through the tight mountain passes of Alberta, British Columbia and the US Pacific Northwest.

Romero Rum is built on a rich and mostly untold history of rum running during Prohibition from the Blairmore Hotel in the Crowsnest Pass.

Collage of archival photos featuring Blairmore Alberta

Our Very Own Robin Hood

Although the law considered him a criminal, Emilio had another side. He often made generous charitable contributions to the community, funded a miners’ strike, and gave Christmas presents to poor families with some of the profits from his illegal bootlegging operation.

Learn more about the history behind rum running in Alberta by booking a tour and to sample our rum made using Canadian ingredients and Canadian equipment.

A collage of photos featuring Romero's distillery equipment and a bottle of sugarcane spirit.

Continuing The Tradition

Although Romero Distilling Co. stays on the right side of the law, we do continue one of Emilio's traditions of giving back to our local community through staff volunteer efforts and ongoing contributions to local charities.

Our premium rums are exceptional and truly Canadian.

  • Tomas Romero, MBA

    Tomas Romero, MBA

    Co-Founder

    Tomas has been a Rum enthusiast for many years enjoying tasting and learning how the different types are made. After a career as a Project Manager and Team Lead for organizations such as MasTec Canada and ConocoPhillips, Tomas made the decision to venture out and establish Romero Distilling Co. with his father, Diego. He then spent time learning from many industry experts.

    Tomas is happily married and a proud father of three. He also enjoys spending time snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, dirt biking, as well as playing hockey, ball and golf.

  • Diego Romero, P.Eng.

    Diego Romero, P.Eng.

    Co-Founder

    Originally from Spain, Diego came to Canada in the early sixties as a young child. After receiving a degree in Metallurgical Engineering and later, a Masters in Mineral Engineering from the University of Alberta, he worked his entire career in the mining and mineral processing industries, for both operating and engineering companies.

    In August 2018, Diego retired from his ‘day job’ and co-founded Romero Distilling Co., the first distillery in western Canada dedicated to the production of Rum, with his son Tomas.

    His hobbies include reading (a wide variety of topics), travelling with his wife of 41 years and spending time with family.

  • Respect

    Respect for our customers, community, employees and environment.

  • Use

    Use of local, premium Canadian made products and equipment.

  • Modesty

    Modesty, an appreciation of the rich heritage of rum making.

A glass of Romero Rum on an old wood background

As Canada's premier craft rum producer, Romero Distilling Co. is dedicated to continuous improvement through determination, hard work and innovation. As unique and bold as Emilio and his band of notorious outlaws, our premium rums are exceptional and truly Canadian.

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