"There aren't many men like Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins around anymore. The father of old-school tattooing, Sailor Jerry was an innovator and a true independent. A navy man, he was hardworking, idealistic and opinionated. His integrity and brash rebelliousness was a testimony to his craft as is the rum that bears his signature. Our rum is made the only way it should be, the old-school way, the way REAL men have always drank it: distilled strong, spiced, and smooth, 92 proof. This isn't some kind of mamby-pamby-parrot, umbrella-in your- coconut rum; this is the kind of rum people have been drinking since people started making the stuff and we're pretty sure Sailor Jerry would be proud of it. We certainly are." ~ Winery notes
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Norman Keith Collins (January 14, 1911 – June 12, 1973) was a prominent American tattoo artist, famous for his tattooing of sailors; he was also known as "Sailor Jerry".
An annual event now takes place in Hawaii called the "Sailor Jerry Festival" and aims to honor Collins's global influence, his many achievements, and his local ties.
Collins was born on January 14, 1911 in Reno but grew up in Northern California. As a child he hopped freight trains across the country and learned tattooing from a man named "Big Mike" from Palmer, Alaska, originally using the hand-pricking method. In the late 1920s he met Tatts Thomas from Chicago who taught him how to use a tattoo machine. He practiced on drunks brought in from Skid Row. He later sailed the Pacific Ocean before settling in Hawaii in the 1930s.
At age 19, Collins enlisted in the United States Navy. During his subsequent travels at sea, he was exposed to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. During his career as a tattoo artist, he worked as a licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, on which he conducted tours of the Hawaiian islands.