Business 5 in 5 with JoAnn Elardo


5 Questions in 5 Minutes

An interview with JoAnn Elardo, owner of Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery

What products and services does Wicked Dolphin provide?

Wicked Dolphin is a distillery located in Southwest Florida, Cape Coral specifically, and we actually produce grain-to-glass rum. We are an award-winning rum distillery!

How did you get into this position?

It’s kind of funny. I retired from my first business in 2008 and moved down here to Florida and was looking at some interests that I had. I started looking at the sugar market down here and how 80% of the sugar in the United States is produced in Florida. At that time it was 80%. And I was having a cocktail as I was reading and I said, “This is a terrible rum that I’m drinking right now. Why aren’t we doing this down here?” And, and that’s exactly how it (Wicked Dolphin) was born.

Bonus question: Why did you name the rum distillery Wicked Dolphin?

I was having a problem coming up with a name. We (had) just finished our house here in Florida and we had the windows all open. It was a beautiful night. We live on the river and dolphins run all through the river, all day and all night, and they’re beautiful. My dogs run up and down after them.

That night, when I went to bed at about 3 AM in the morning, I heard a growl and I woke my husband. I said, “Somebody’s breaking in!” And he said, “Nah, it’s that damn wicked dolphin, he’s back.” And I just said, “Huh.” And I laid in bed and thought, “Oh, that’s a funny name.” That’s how the name was born.

How do you define success professionally?

I think success is something that satisfies you. You’re in business. You’re very satisfied with the business. You’re happy that you’re making a difference. For me, monetarily, that’ll come. If you’re doing what you really like and you’re happy about it, it will come. So I would say what’s satisfying for me at this point in my life is helping people. That is probably the forefront in my career.

Could you give me an example of success?

An example of success is having a very good team. Looking forward to seeing that team every day. Working hard, feeling great at the end of the day, being able to pay your bills and being able to give back.

Take a peek at the horizon and let me know what you see for Wicked Dolphin, and the rum industry in general, in the next five years.

I see expansion. We talk about that a lot lately. We’re expanding into maybe a little bit more territory here in Florida. We are definitely increasing our production. Our tours are still free tours and those are attended by a lot of people. We have a lot of visitors that come down here to Florida and they’re looking for something a little bit different to do. And I would say these are signs of our increase. We also have purchased property and new equipment that will help us get to that spot.

This has been a presentation of American business writers. Clear, concise communication for your business. Visit us at


This has been a presentation of American Business Writers. Clear, concise communication for your business.