THE CONCH REPUBLIC
In April 1982, US Border Patrol set up a roadblock at the head of the Florida Keys to crack down on illegal immigration and stopped all vehicles entering and exiting the Florida Keys. Traffic to Key West came to a dead halt.
Key West City Leaders took their case to Tallahassee and the Florida Governor, who ignored the pleas of the US' beloved Caribbean island.
On April 23, 1982, Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow declared independence from the United States and the rest, as we are fond of telling anyone who will buy us a rum drink, is history.
SPEAKER OF CONCH REPUBLIC
All People Are Created Equal Members Of
ONE HUMAN FAMILY
The Philosophy Of Key West Florida
1983: Paul Menta arrives in Key West
For a young man with a deep love for history, inspired where he grew up in Philadelphia by the history of his hero Benjamin Franklin, The Conch Republic (aka Key West) was the perfect environment for him to grow and create. In the Conch Republic, inspired by legendary, bigger-than-life characters and living historical figures such as Dennis Wardlow, Mel Fisher, Captain Tony, Captain Finbar, and a great many others, Paul Menta flourished. These amazing Conch Republic residents and neighbors all shared a similar independent, live-and-let-live, and community-centered mindset to that of young Menta's own idol Ben Franklin.
Embracing the Conch Republic lifestyle, Paul decided to commit to his love for the ocean, settled in, took up cooking as a Chef, became a professional Kiteboarder, and eventually went on to open the now-renowned Key West First Legal Rum Distillery.