Vida Caña is a local rum company founded in 2015, and has been selling product since 2019. Co-owners Bryan Tierce and Jonathan Fuller both have strong ties to the Coastal Bend; Tierce is from Corpus Christi, and Fuller has lived here since the 1990’s.
Both Tierce and Fuller are surfers, and have spent a lot of time traveling: to the Caribbean, South America, and other places, to surf.
“Rum was always a part of those travels,” Tierce said. “We spent about five years drinking different rums, went to Rum University in Louisville, Kentucky, and just slowly built the brand.”
With their surfing background, the environment and sea life have always been priorities to Tierce and Fuller.
“It’s very important as you’re surfing, and as you’re seeing the environment change," Tierce said. "You see more pollution, more people. Part of our business model was 'how can we keep that?' ”
When creating the business model, the duo decided they were going to help local non-profits working on environmental education and animal rehabilitation. So, for every bottle sold, Vida Caña donates $1 to Padre Island's Texas Sealife Center and Port Aransas' Amos Rehabilitation Keep, both local non-profits.
“They spend a lot of time and money, they’re volunteers, so they’re not making any money," Tierce said. "So from the beginning we decided 'let’s help them out.' We started that from Day One, and we’ll continue that forever.”
In 2019, Vida Caña, along with Padre Island restaurant Scuttlebutt’s, donated money to build a new deck at the Texas Sealife Center totaling around $1,500. From there, Vida Caña has increased its donations each year, giving around $3,500 in 2020, and $6,500 this year.
The money donated this year will cover most of the cost needed for the Texas Sealife Center to upgrade its filtration systems in the sea turtle tanks, and at a great time, too.
“Right now, we’re in the middle of when we can get a cold-stunning event at any time,” said the Texas Sealife Center's Director of Rehabilitation Amanda Terry. “So, the more tanks, the better water we have, the better. It’s always to upgrade those.”
The money Tierce and Fuller give is significant for the non-profits.
“The Sealife Center is totally volunteer-based, and donation-run, so any donations are always appreciated,” Terry said. “It’s great to have Bryan and Jonathan, and everyone with Vida Caña standing behind us.”
Tierce said he is happy the company is able to provide money for these non-profits, but he’s hoping to business can expand, and make a larger impact in the Coastal Bend.
“Our goal is 10, 15 years from now, we’re hoping our contributions can make a significant difference,” he said.
Vida Caña Rum is sold at most local liquor stores, and many Coastal Bend bars. For a full list of where to purchase Vida Caña, click here.