JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For some people, the cold tonight could have a devastating impact on their business. A local distillery says it has spent thousands on vital crops, and Monday night it could all be ruined.
It's a race against time -- and temperature-- for the St. Augustine Distillery Company.
"That's the next generation of this sugar cane, there's one there, there's the opposite, these eyelets, so what we're doing is trying to cover these up and protect these canes, because otherwise they'll freeze and they won't be able to survive the cold," said co-owner Phillip McDaniel.
Monday's freeze is just one hurdle in a long-term plan for the small distillery in downtown St. Augustine. McDaniel says the cane is an investment for a specific type of rum not made in Northeast Florida or anywhere else in the U.S.
"Almost 99% of rum is made from molasses, and so we're doing things a little bit differently," he said.
McDaniel planted five different types of sugarcane to test the different flavors of what's called agricultural rum.
"For the cane that we're planting now, our rums won't be available for another three to four years, so this is absolutely a long-term plan for us," he said.
For all the time invested, one freeze could ruin it all. So, they put the call out on Facebook asking for volunteers to help harvest the cane before it's too late.
"Now we're literally grabbing them by hand and putting them on the trailer, then making piles at the end of each row," he said.
The crew brought blankets and comforters to wrap the cane up and hope it survives the freeze.
"We've put a lot of money and love in to this project, and this cane stock is really what makes this project different," he said.