In 1979, nearly a decade after the Royal Navy abandoned the custom of the daily tot of rum, company founder Charles Tobias obtained the rights to blending information associated with the naval rum ration and formed the company to produce the spirit according to the original Admiralty recipe, a blend of five West Indian rums without colouring agents. The Royal Navy Sailor's Fund, a Navy charity, receives royalties from the proceeds of each bottle of the rum sold, and that is now the charity's largest source of income apart from the founder's original bequest.
The Royal Navy issued the last tot to 'the fleet' on 31 July 1970. Since then, this has been known in Royal Naval Slang as the 'Black Day'. The remaining rum stocks were put up for auction. They were bought by Brian Cornford and shipped to Gibraltar and held in a secure bonded warehouse. As each visiting Royal Navy ship visited Gibraltar it was the task of Cornford and his General Manager, John Kania, to supply individual, wax-dated, corked, wicker-covered demijohns containing full strength (approx 110 proof) to the ships. When the individual gallon jars were finally sold, the large wooden barrels were tapped. It was found that over the years some of the contents in each wood barrel had evaporated, and diluted the strength to a slight degree, though some would say it simply mellowed. The barrelled rum was decanted into litre bottles and sold primarily to RN, RAF and Army messes and selected local Gib pubs.
Some Genuine Royal Navy Rum still pops up in premium auction houses, and apart from the collectability aspect, the contents are vintage, and because of the wax seal is still as powerful as the day it was bottled. It is rarely seen, though bought at auction (the last time GBP 1250) for special ceremonial events. This is not to be confused with the commercially bottled Pussers Rum seen on supermarket shelves dated after 1970.
Part of the reason why Pusser's Rum has been successful is because some say that it has several characteristics in common with a scotch whisky, despite that it is distilled from molasses. This may have been a result of the British Navy developing a scotchlike rum due to tastes of enlisted men at the time.