Turning Bajan Rum into What?

Barbados has a rich legacy of distilling rum going back to the mid 1700s, the Mount Gay brand is said to be the oldest commercial rum operation in existence. Although several of the colonies in that period also produced rum, Barbados registered the highest production.

Increase in global rum supply and other considerations led to many distilleries on the island closing operations. Predictably the local rum business has been infiltrated by foreign interest and although the financial and marketing muscle is promoted as the main benefit, the ‘dilution’ of local ownership now threatens the Barbados Rum Brand.

The majority of Barbadians are oblivious to the implications for the local rum business given the current state of the industry. Many Barbadians read an article in the Barbados Advocate of 26 August 2021 titled – WIRD Carries the Torch for Barbados Rum & Spirits Convention – without feeling any outrage at a French master blender defining the elements of local rum. As far as the blogmaster is aware France is known for making wine and champagne.

Richard Seale, proprietor of Foursquare Distillery, accuses the WIRD of “doing their best to derail” completion of the GI proposal. “It is long overdue that Barbados rum is protected in global markets, and the tool to do that is a GI,” says Seale. “At the moment, the consumer can buy a Barbados rum based on our reputation but end up with a substandard product because it has been adulterated with sugar.” He adds economic risks that come in the absence of a GI as well, highlighting that the consumer has no way to distinguish between a Barbados rum aged and bottled in Europe, and a Barbados rum aged and bottled in Barbados.

The Spirits Business

It is a matter of public record there is disagreement between the four Barbados based distilleries over the important issue of geographical indication (GI) – West Indies Rum Distillery, Mount Gay, Four Square and Saint Nicholas Abbey. GI is “an indication which identifies a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a regional locality in that territory, where a given quality , reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin” (WTO). 

The government of Barbados through its agent the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) requested the distilleries to detail a position on GI as a prerequisite for its approval. To date Mount Gay, Four Square and Saint Nicholas Abbey have agreed on a GI for Barbados Rum. Regrettably West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) has registered objection to the proposal. Some opine WIRD is prepared to bastardize the Barbados rum ‘taste’ to benefit a narrow interest.

Imagine this scenario: three Barbados juice manufacturers collaborated to produce ‘proper’ local juice based on hundreds of years of knowledge capital accrued and decided to stage an event BUT the government of Barbados would support the event only if a fourth company making a juice sprinkled with foreign additives was allowed to participate…

The blogmaster is aware the issue of protecting the authenticity of the Barbados rum taste must recognize the business requirement for distilleries to be able to innovate and differentiate. It is still disappointing distilleries based in a country with the oldest tradition of commercial distilling of rum cannot agree to what is a Barbados rum. If ever there was a case for the Barbados government to flex its muscle in order to protect the preferred brand of rum, it is now. We are about to shift to a different phase of governance.  The real meaning of transitioning to a native daughter of the soil in the role of President on the 30 November 2021 can be reinforced by our government imposing the will of the people to the unresolved GI issue. If WIRD threatens to close shop because the GI as agreed by the other three distillers means Barbados would have to be removed from the labelling of imitation rum products, allow them to please. Sometimes one has to stand for something or fall for anything.

As a country we have allowed too many businesses that use to define Barbadianna to be infiltrated by foreign interest and influence, in the process we have ‘diluted’ our identity as a people. 

Relevant Link: The Spirits Business

88 thoughts on “Turning Bajan Rum into What?

    • @Tim Ward

      What is the point about molasses you are making? Is this an opportunity for government and distilleries to collaborate to add purpose to the local sugar industry? Even if all the molasses has to be imported because of supply issues does the GI allow for room to protect a standard?

      Furthermore, under the proposed GI, distillers would be able to use fresh juice, syrup or molasses to make rum. Any yeast strain would also be permitted, but non‐saccharomyces strains must be native, and only Barbados water should be used. In terms of maturation, producers would have to use new oak or refill casks from a list of recognised wine and spirits denominations to age Barbados rum. Age statements would have to refer to the youngest spirit used, and vats would not be acceptable for age statements. The addition of sugar syrup or flavourings would be outlawed, but caramel colouring “under strict guidelines” would be acceptable for consistency.

  1. The Ganja trade is blooming and growing into a big herb tree.
    The Ganja tribe is emerging from the underground like the Taliban but they are creating a peaceful revolution of the mind body and spirit.

    Ganja Mi Bun

  2. @Tim Ward Most people understand the prestige and value of Scotch whisky and how important a GI is in protecting the local industry, but you’ll probably be surprise to know that most of grain used to make Scotch is not from Scotland. Just like most of the parts used to make Swiss watches, another protected trademark, are not from Switzerland. To be a Barbados rum is about the Barbadian knowhow, the Barbadian provenance of where its made and aged. Remember, the barrels used to aged the rums are mostly from America.

  3. Where there is no vision authenticity perishes.
    Who paid attention to rum. We got tourism…………
    Remember the story of the black belly sheep
    More crocodile tears.

  4. Premium Authentic Barbados rum.

    Molasses produced from sugar cane grown in Barbados.

    Rum distilled in Barbados.

    • @William

      The issue of what is authentic rum and players agreeing to a GI is creating problems in other countries because of the money influence of some layers.

  5. @ David
    Eventually the jokers who dismiss the importance of a true Caribbean State will come around.
    Many of these battles should be tackled as a block rather than individual states , with limited resources, butting about like headless chickens.
    The inability to solve many of these problems is the result of a failed post independence era leadership.
    The chance of correcting or overcoming many of our problems are relatively slim outside of a unified global cohesive presence.
    However your article is still a refreshing departure from what is being served up in the so called traditional media.
    Well done bro’

    • @lawson

      An interesting intervention regarding Bermuda Onion. It is a story the blogmaster was told a few years on a visit. It is amazing given its minimal contribution to GDP these days how the story helps to grow Bermuda’s heritage and nurture the identity of Bermudans.

  6. @ Tim

    What nerve

    Barbados once de Mecca for rum. Our vision narrowed and we lost sight.

    Bridgetown leading merchants had their own labels yesterday.

    Mount Gay
    Alleyne Arthur
    S E Cole
    E S A Field’s
    Stan field Scoot
    Four Square
    Pretty Girl-Nips
    Old Brigands
    No-frills $2 pint bottles, $0.10 cent snaps-shots from leading Roebuck-Street Rum bottling Companies.

    We sold Mountgay and Malibu rights. Dam shame.

    Today, rum is a multibillion-dollar business in the US alone. It accrued over $8 billion in sales in 2020 in America.

    Italy is the world’s largest exporter for that liquid gold.

    Maybe we’ll sell Marl next. A natural commodity used for artificial bedrock.

    Italy leads de world on exports.

    We got TOURISM..?

  7. What of the other rum producers in the Caribbean. I’m thinking particularly of Guyana? Have they sold out too?

    In the UK, during the eighties the only place one could buy Cockspur rum was the local Indian corner shop. Then gradually the large retailers started to stock our rum. Since the French bought out Mount Gay it has become widely available at incredibly low bargain basement prices; whilst the value of Whiskey prices remains at a premium level. Our rum can be found selling in every square mile of the UK.
    The European and American markets placed trade barriers that prevented our rum producers from penetrating their markets prior to them buying us out. Remarkably, gin is the next big thing in the UK, it has soared in popularity whilst maintaining a premium price.
    I can remember going to Cost-u-less and seeing the high levels of imported spirits, vodka in particular, which occupied the vast majority of the shelf space within their store.

    The moral of the story is clear. If you have a Rolls Royce of a product – you must defend and promote it whilst not allowing others to devalue it. I guess this sums up up our tourist industry and everything else on our cursed and wretched backward island.

  8. If as a country we cannot maximise our premium high valued products, produce and our island assets then what chance do we really have to survive once we become a republic. We are mere toddlers barely able to crawl yet alone stand on our own two feet.

    Lizzie or Charlie, please do not abandon your tiny off-spring! Cuhdear!

  9. @TLSN
    I was looking at one of the link provided by Hants. There were three rums on the page with two having the same price and the Cuban rum having a much higher pricing.

    Is the message here that Mount Gay is inferior to the Cuban brand? I am quite certain other factors are at play but pricing also influences customer choices. Some things are for the masses and others are for those that are more refined.

    TLSN gets it.

  10. @ TLSN
    It is so nice to control an economy for four hundred years; sit back enjoy all the profits; guarantee generational wealth while refusing to innovate and modernize your businesses in the interest of the country that has afforded you and yours a lifestyle that you could not achieve any other part of the world.
    That’s what the traditional corporate class has enjoyed and continue to enjoy.
    The truth hurts .

  11. “Many Barbadians read an article in the Barbados Advocate of 26 August 2021 titled – WIRD Carries the Torch for Barbados Rum & Spirits Convention – without feeling any outrage at a French master blender defining the elements of local rum. As far as the blogmaster is aware France is known for making wine and champagne.”

    Don’t worry, we will be here complaining in 2023 when there are “applications” or “suitable applicants” for the post of master blenders. Only applicunts applied.

  12. when there are NO “applications” or “suitable applicants” for the post of master blenders. Only applicunts applied.

  13. @signorron
    “To be a Barbados rum is about the Barbadian knowhow, the Barbadian provenance of where its made and aged. ”

    Let me state,I am not knowledgeable about rum making or law.

    1) Wouldn’t the designation of master blender of Bajan rums and two or three years of experience of blending rum allow a foreigner t claim he has Barbadian knowhow and to train others in acquiring the know how.

    2) I am certain that a more sophisticated approach may be used, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Barbados rum can be produced outside of Barbados; see the link below


    You may be talking of a model that no longer exist or is more limited than what you think.

  14. This is so important. Maintaining the honesty and integrity of Barbados Rum at home and worldwide can be stressed enough. The two words Barbados Rum stand for something strong beautiful and honest. Being able to use them on a bottle of Barbados Rum is an honour.

  15. There is a lot that can be distressing when you do not travel down Avenue B or Avenue D. One has to wonder if we see Barbados as a nation with interests to protect or just a number business deals (where we sell every spoon in the kitchen).

    Do we have long-term vision and look past the day when we cash the check or the day we get our percentage kickback?

    Can we see beyond the mess of portage? Do we think of our children and their future? We can read, but do we fully understand the contracts that we read and sign.

    Perhaps, it is best to travel down Avenues B and D. They may be shitty streets, but we know the route

  16. @RumnCoke
    Italy? Suspect you meant India?

    A Caribbean State may have trouble on rum as PR, DR, USVI and Cuba have a different approach.

    A GI is long overdue. Ferrand don’t give a damn about Bajan rum, Jamaican, Trini etc. Their game is all about marketing. Which includes ageing in sherry etc casks in Europe. Plus they can put rum from 3 different sources in one product.

    Effin you wishes to be a master blender then yah wud have fah-learn-um.

  17. @Hants
    Distilled, AGED and BOTTLED in Barbados as prescribed by the GI.
    Otherwise they will distill in Bim, and send it elsewhere for ageing as ‘they see fit’ and add ‘whatever they choose’.

  18. “Being able to use them on a bottle of Barbados Rum is an honour.”

    One of the first thing I do when entering a liquor store at an airport or outside of Barbados is to look for a Barbados Rum. Just seeing a ‘Bajan brand’ amongst other international brands makes me feel comfortable and ‘proud’. Now a teetotaller, but I still get that same feeling.

  19. @NO
    The video by TLSN tells me we still have Bajans with this qualifications.

    If one day we wake up and all the master blenders and distillers are foreign, then the “no qualified” notice may come true.

    Hopefully, for these position we also have that a local must be an apprentice to the ‘master’.

  20. The best rum in the world is produced in Barbados… and it is not Mount Gay.

    Foursquare have been dominating the International Wine And Spirits (IWSC) competitions for years now.

    In 2021 “Barbados’ Foursquare Rum Distillery dominated the Gold Outstanding winners, taking five of the seven medals.”

  21. “Perhaps, it is best to travel down Avenues B and D. They may be shitty streets, but we know the route.”
    Appropriately noted.

    @ NO
    India is correct..

  22. @TheO
    That is an old joke about how Falernum got its name. Still love a corn’n’oil but my Falernum supply is low.

  23. @David
    Why would Ferrand (WIRD) want a GI? It runs contrary to “their story” (Plantation brand) where they distill in various places and age in ex sherry/ brandy casks.

    We don’t get Foursquare here, but can be found in the USA whenever that border opens again. Doesn’t Foursquare age some products in NON oak casks? A la Ferrand?

  24. Whenever I go to a bar I ask for mt gay and here is what they usually have cpt morgans , bacardi or appletons never a barbados rum, so it has to be better marketing by these other brands because it certainly is not taste. Rum is a drink that is pushed with coke and lime so to be fair I guess the bars will go with the cheapest but quality will prevail if it is marketed right. I was out the other night with my children and the girls had cocktails made fresh not bar mix and they were 16 bucks each , the place was full as it could be all spending , because a lot of people will pay for top notch ingredients and liquor.

  25. @David,
    “The issue here is that WIRD is the lone company standing to have agreement on a GI”
    I Know. The West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) is deliberately sabotaging the Barbados rum industry because it is a puppet of Alexandre Gabriel, owner of Maison Ferrand, (who has a chequered reputation back in France as well). M. Ferrand is being enabled by a very wealthy and well connected Barbadian lawyer who is also a Knight of St. Andrew and is selfishly putting his own financial interest ahead of the National interest.

    • What options do we have in civil society to pressure this matter? The people have an interest to have the matter resolved.

  26. @NorthernObserver August 27, 2021 4:12 PM
    “We don’t get Foursquare here […]”
    You can find it if you look hard, https://flaskfinewines.com/products/foursquare-rum-private-cask-canada-exclusive-12-year-old-ob but some of the prices will make your eyes water…

    But you can also find Foursquare’s mass market brands like Old Brigand, Doorly’s, and E.S.A. Field White Rum at normal rum prices. They are all superior products because Foursquare is absolutely fanatic about quality and the Barbados Rum making tradition.

  27. @NorthernObserver August 27, 2021 4:12 PM
    “We don’t get Foursquare here […]”
    Oops… it looks like the place I pointed you towards is in California, even though that vintage was produced exclusively for the LCBO in Ontario Canada. It looks like those evil Americans bought up the Canadian stock then tripled the price.

  28. All Barbadians, any home and abroad, should execute a total boycott of all rum produced by WIRD. Do not buy or drink Cockspur Rum, Plantation Rum, or Malibu liqueur until West Indies Rum Distillery stops sabotaging a meaningful GI for Barbados Rum.

    Someone gave me a bottle of Plantation Rum as a gift; they meant well, but I poured it down the kitchen sink.

  29. @David
    I posted a comment supporting NO’s point about Ferrand shipping product (Plantation) to France for aging complete with the LCBO description, it appeared and then disappeared

    What gives?

  30. William Skinner August 27, 2021 8:36 AM #: “Where there is no vision authenticity perishes. Who paid attention to rum. We got tourism…………”

    I’m reminded of a contribution by your ‘comrade,’ in which he mentioned P.M Mottley should introduce a legal definition of Barbadian rum, in line with WTO policy and put a strategy in place, including a trade body, to defend its interest.

    Sandals Resort’s first choice rum is Jamaican Appleton Estate and NOT host country’s brand. This means in Barbados, unless they’re specifically requested, Barbadian brands such as ESAF, Old Brigand, Cockspur, Mount Gay or Alleyne Arthur are placed ‘on the back burner.’
    In other words, if a guest ordered a rum & coke, rum punch or any other rum based beverage, Appleton would be used, which is disadvantageous to local brands.

    Seems as though no one “paid attention to rum,” but, after all, as you said, “we have tourism.”

  31. Kinda looks like the ad for buckleys cough syrup lol. Great ad should have done it with their tourism authority a little more island promotion kill two birds with one stone.

  32. Cololombia is producing some great rums, but one I noticed Parce it has a unique marketing strategy for every bottle sold they plant a tree in the colombia rain forest. Very ecological.. Maybe you can poach their idea in a way like for every bottle sold money will be donated to buy a shaver for Donna.

  33. @Sargeant August 27, 2021 5:28 PM
    “Where does Bumbu fit into this segment?”
    Bumbu îs absolute crap. It isn’t really rum at all, but rum based liqueur since it is only 76 proof, and rum is supposed to be at least 80 proof. It is loaded with additives and sugar to try to make it palatable. WIRD makes it… anyone else would be too embarrassed to put it on the market.

  34. @PLT
    The LCBO Foursquare was around at Xmas, sold out quickly. How it ended up in the USA is anybody’s guess.
    Real McCoy I hadn’t seen in a while, likely because it’s inventory is exclusively in Toronto area.

    Bumbu isn’t Rum. It’s an alcohol based, sugar laced, flavoured beverage. Likely linked to some entertainer. WIRD are good at making labelled products for the stars. But they don’t make Margaritaville which is from Jamaica.

  35. @PLT
    Who owns Cockspur? Wasn’t your buddy CH one of the group who bought the Brand? I assume WIRD still supplies the Brand. Diageo must be on a LT contract with Malibu. They certainly killed Cockspur years back when HInnes gave them the brand internationally.

  36. @NorthernObserver
    I have no idea who owns Cockspur the brand; I just know that WIRD manufactures it. I don’t know much about Herbert’s business affairs, but I though that the Goddards clan sold up all their rum industry holdings… I could be wrong.

  37. Agree we have to stand on principle here and not let a foreign owned entity try to dictate our identity.

    It’s true that commercial tastes and realities is what will drive profits. Our own Bajan billionaire as an example, no way would she be at this level singing folk songs and soca to a global audience, while managing a pottery company. Even though it’s our heritage.

    But we have to take a stand sometimes and preserve our heritage

  38. Most deserving a professional ..
    Professional who brought tears of joys and happiness to many house holds
    A trophy of emotions he gave to all and sundry world wide
    Long live Sir Garfield Sobers a cricket legend for all the right reasons

  39. Plantation in name, plantation in mentality.

    Mr Gabriel likes to produce his “Barbados Rum” behind a green curtain in France. He says it must leave Barbados in bulk shipments raw from the still where he will “bring it up to standard” by maturing, blending and packaging in the new mother country.

    Black Barbadian hands will harvest the cane in the field, white French hands will pack the finished product on the pristine factory floor. Mr. Gabriel says this neocolonialism is actually precious “tradition” that he is determined to preserve.

    A fire sale price saw him acquire the failing WIRD from Goddards in 2017 and Gabriel suddenly told everyone his “Barbados rum” had in fact been coming from WIRD for the past 20 years, a claim he failed he mentioned before and was news to everyone not least of all the staff at WIRD.

    Nevertheless, faced with imminent closure by Goddards or embracing their new Trump like owner, the former Goddards appointed ASSpiring manager at WIRD Hassell found the new French “cuisine” much to his taste and is to Gabriel as Lindsay Graham proved to Trump. Gabriel is as pathological as Trump, just less vulgar and slightly better dressed. One of his more notorious acts in France was swindling an old cognac distiller out of the use of his generational family name which Gabriel then duly applied to his own bottlings.

    Now during this time the BIDC moved to establish geographical protections for Barbados Rum, which would guarantee that a bottle of Barbados Rum sold in Europe did in fact contain 100% Barbados Rum. Gabriel presumably saw this a threat to his Oz inspired business model.

    That is where the fake master blender “engaged” the fake economics professor and the order came down from the Prime Ministers office no less to the BIDC, stop the process!

    One has to wonder what the fake Professor has on Mottley from their time together at the Four Seasons that she has to keep the fake processor in Govt despite his increasingly seedy reputation. She did lobby very hard (to the point of embarrassment) to pass him off to the CDB, a job the former currency trader was even less qualified for than running a hotel.

    Gabriel told the besotted Mottley in 2017 in true trump like style that he can deliver one Billion dollars in sales but this pesky business of authenticating Barbados rum must not stand in his way. Today he is no closer to this promise than the fake professor is to filling a hotel room.

    Mottley says the change to a republic is merely symbolic. She might be right.

    • @Insider

      Why was WIRD failing under Goddards? It seems a reasonable fit to execute vertical marketing given its portfolio of business interest and customers?

  40. “Black Barbadian hands will harvest the cane in the field, white French hands will pack the finished product on the pristine factory floor. Mr. Gabriel says this neocolonialism is actually precious “tradition” that he is determined to preserve.”

    Reminds me of the cacao tree and swiss chocolate.

  41. Vacation is ending.
    I looked through my hotel window at the nice clean beach, the beautiful water and sand.

    To be in heaven requires just a little more – your own home and financial independence. Rev 56:32

  42. @ David

    WIRD opted for the bulk high volume, low value end of the business. More than half their volume is supplying alcohol (not even rum) for the brand Malibu. Goddard’s former brand Cockspur is only a tiny part of their output so this limits the brand’s impact on the distillery. It did not help that the brand is struggling too. If only Goddards knew their customer of “20 years” was about to deliver 1 Billion in demand ! Perhaps they are not as gullible as the fake professor.

    WIRD are the analog to the sugar industry who finds it cannot compete producing bulk raw sugar.

    For Gabriel buying WIRD was foot into Barbados and Jamaica for a very small price (12m for effective control of a distillery in Barbados and a distillery in Jamaica owned in part by WIRD).

    He is also doing the same thing there in Jamaica. The only difference in Barbados he “lobbied” to stop the registration. In Jamaica his lawyers have petitioned the Registrar to overturn the already registered Jamaica Rum GI. Gabriel is sparing no expense to continue to bottle his plantation line of ostensibly Barbados and Jamaica rums away from any local authority who would enforce protection.

  43. @Insider
    A few comments.
    1. Unsure GEL ‘opted for’ the low end bulk rum business. Rather, they couldn’t sell their branded products beyond a narrow market. Hence, they sold what they could get.
    2. Similarly unsure how WIRD personnel did not know about Maison Ferrand, it was fairly common knowledge?
    3. In fact WIRD or Hanschells, were so poor at selling upmarket products, for many years they supplied Mt.Gay with aged rum!!!
    4. Exactly why WIRD bought the 33% of National Rums remains a bit of a mystery. It was another bulk rum producer?
    What I saw was an inability to market products for the export market. As owner GEL never made WIRD a priority. The alcohol business had changed, and they wanted to beat the same old drum.

    • @NO

      Why do we have to sellout to foreign interest most times? One of the local distilleries an option?

  44. @David
    I “think” it was a public secret WIRD was “available”. The story I got, was there wasn’t much local interest, even tho @Insider called it a fire sale price. (Memory says it was the almost never traded price on the BSE) They would exclude the brands (owned by HI), but didn’t wish to separate WIRD and National in J’ca. BDD$25M is still a lot of money?
    I recall also some concern over the LT solidity of the Malibu contract. (Diageo)
    The alcoholic beverage market had grown into a host of firms which operated across several segments. They want BRANDS, not manufacturing. The money lies within “Bacardi” “Smirnoff” “Johnnie Walker” etc brand, they can be produced in many potential locations.
    And WIRD did not have brand power.
    What local outfit had $25M to sell bulk rum?
    They would now have to invest many more million to build brands.

    • Thanks NO, no opportunity for government bailout /consortium, whatever, given the importance of Barbados Rum brand and ongoing GI discussion?

  45. You should be thankful the NIS didn’t “invest” in that opportunity!!!
    Starting a manufacturing operation is the easy part. Maybe a GI will attract others?

  46. @ Northern Observer
    Why are we always assuming that the traditional corporate sector is broke and so damn impoverished that they can’t “ find” money?
    We continue to make excuses for these raiders because we don’t want to branded racists or we always believe that : “ we gine end up back in their hands anyhow”.
    Whenever the country is in a deep crisis, the private sector fools us that they have nothing to give and they don’t do anything more than pay workers basic starvation wages. Theses people in the best of times were paying people , in some cases, less than $300BDS per week. That’s about $150USD !
    They have no intention of saving any economy and the reason why foreigners will take over the rum industry is obvious-these local monied oligarchs have no desire to innovate or create anything other than what guarantees them perpetual wealth. They have no nationalistic interest in the country.
    “ Finding” $25 milllion is nothing for them.
    They just fool all yuh with that crap.

  47. @WS
    I hope I didn’t suggest the local private sector couldn’t find $25M.
    Rather $25M for a production outfit without any meaningful brands is a lot of money.

  48. How ignorant can I get?
    Saw a petition on FB about “saving Barbados rum”
    Didn’t feel like signing it
    Didn’t sign it

  49. “Attorney-at-law Lalu Hanuman will be asking the Supreme Court to rule in his favour in a case against a popular hotel chain and so set a precedent to allow Barbadians full access to all beaches on the island.”

    This is why I did not sign the petition. A people determined to sell/give away their birthright. However, the efforts of Lalu should be commended and appreciated.

  50. @Hants
    Interesting name, esp as Plantation Grande Reserve is a flagship brand of Maison Ferrand.
    The first panel of 3 on that website is over coconuts, the second over a modern day Rachel Pringle and the third over fishing boats. Seems odd for a specialty sugar website?

  51. Some months back, I “think” it was over vendor issues at the Crane beach, @plt had a very good post on high water marks and additional relevant factors.

  52. Barbados cane dry as dust Guyana cane sweet and juicy, that’s why Eldorado has won more prizes as the best rum in the world

    • Congratulations to the Colombian government. It validates much of the commentary on this topic – the role of government to protect things cultural instead of surrendering it to a few with interest anchored to making money at the expense of wider national interest.

  53. Looks like the PR job continues.,

    $80M SHOT
    Rum producer pumping big bucks into economy
    By Shawn Cumberbatch shawncumberbatch@nationnews.com
    One of Barbados’ leading rum producers will be pouring $80 million into the economy via a transformation of its 128-year-old distillery.
    Alexandre Gabriel, whose company Maison Ferrand acquired West Indies Rum Distillery (WIRD) in March 2017, says the major investment has already started and is part of a mission to manufacture and sell “super premium rum” on the world market.
    With the initiative also including a transition to the production and use of renewable energy, the Frenchman added it was also a signal WIRD was on board with Government’s “ambitious goal” to make Barbados a carbon neutral country by 2030.
    The company has already banked $1 million on a solar plant at its Brighton, St Michael base and undertaken other improvements, but Gabriel told the Sunday Sun that was just the start.
    Ongoing efforts included increasing the distillery’s rum barrel capacity from 20 000 to 35 000 barrels and modernising equipment, including the Vulcan still that is central to the distilling process.
    “This distillery owns some of the most storied and historical equipment to make rum, some which is the only one left in the world like the Vulcan still. So it’s to fix the equipment that’s like museum grade to make rum and we are doing this now,” he said.
    “Also, the other aspect was the every-day equipment, to change it one piece at a time. We are rebuilding a distiller really. We are changing everything, the boiler, the reboiler and the cooling towers. The main distilling column, it’s state-of-the-art equipment. That’s the mission of excellence.”
    Gabriel also explained that “our dream for the years to come is also for this distillery to be totally carbon neutral in line with what the Prime Minister of Barbados has voiced as being for Barbados by 2030.
    “It is an ambitious goal, I will admit to that, but we want to be part of this in our own right. So there is going to be tremendous investment for this distillery to be within five years be fully zero carbon footprint,” he said.
    “We already started with solar panels but a lot of people do that and we think that’s not enough. We want to be able to power all the pot stills and the common stills and so on renewable energy, and we are going to do that and this is something that we think conservatively within five years it will be done.”
    He added: “It’s an investment that is $80 million. It’s a major, major investment so that’s daunting for sure, but we want to do what’s right because in the end that will even produce energy and that’s going to make the distillery fully carbon free for the generations to come, because we don’t want to miss that appointment.”
    Gabriel said the business model being used at WIRD was one where Maison Ferrand and its principals “don’t take dividends, we don’t take management fees, everything is going back to Barbados”.
    “When you see a bottle of Plantation Rum or Stade’s Rum all over the world, know that this is going back to Barbados,” he stressed.
    The businessman, whose company Maison Ferrand is a cognac, gin and rum producer based in Cognac, France, said WIRD’s investment and expansion was also providing increased employment.
    “The distillery was not doing so well when we purchased it, it was losing money. We kept everybody on board and we said let’s pull together and it’s exciting,” he said.
    “We grew the employment by 50 per cent. We are reaching over 80 people fulltime here through direct employment. For indirect employment you have to double these numbers because we create a lot of activity, there are sub-contractors and so on.
    “That doesn’t even include the people who built the new warehouse. All of this money is creating jobs that I am not even counting when I say double that. That’s probably another 100 people who work on servicing the investments.”
    With WIRD also partnering with local coconut plantation Nicholls Farm to produce a new coconut-flavoured super premium rum for export, Gabriel said their dream was “for people to understand how upscale and special rum is”.
    “People here sometimes take rum for granted. It’s a one of a kind spirit and really part of the top, top spirits in the world along with malt whiskies and so on. Barbados has an incredible heritage and we can do great things together. I am really excited about the future,” he said.

    Source: Nation

  54. Some thing is happening?

    Rum makers unite to go after designation

    Article byMarlon Madden

    Published on
    July 19, 2022

    After years of being in limbo, three of Barbados’ largest rum producers have decided to take the bold step and move ahead with an application for the highly-touted geographical indication (GI) for Barbados rum.

    They said they could no longer sit back and watch others profit while Barbados, known as the birthplace of rum, continued to lose out on precious economic earnings.

    Managing Director of Mount Gay Rum Distilleries Raphaël Grisoni has announced that his company, along with Foursquare Distillery and St Nicholas Abbey, have collectively submitted a “properly-written” GI application to the registrar here, which was just the first step.

    The rum producers, who were addressing a ceremony last Friday, said they were prepared to bear the cost of obtaining the GI, which will require various applications in several countries.

    “It is about the cultural heritage of Barbados and we have to protect it and have to make sure it will survive the test of time,” said Grisoni.

    Noting that there have been talks about developing a GI for Barbados “for quite a few years now”, Grisoni said “This process was slow and [was] even dropped, and we decided it is a great opportunity to bring back value on the Barbados rum on the international scene.”

    He said this move stood to benefit the entire country. “The strategy is to bring the maximum value here on the island, but also for the future investors on the island – having in mind that the Barbados rum GI is secure, their investment is secure.”

    They were unable to say how soon the Barbados rum GI marquee would be implemented.

    The GI is a sign that specifies that a project originated from a particular place. The qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product depends on the place of origin of the product. As champagne is to the northeastern region of France where it originated, rum would be to Barbados under a GI.

    The proposed GI puts no restriction on the type of stills used during the distillation and both short and long-term fermentation but outlines several specifications.

    Approximately three years ago, the country seemed closer to obtaining a GI, following a proposal prepared by Export Barbados (BIDC) and presented to the registrar. However, it was believed that it was blocked because it did not get the blessings of one of the island’s main rum producers.

    Among the specifications outlined in that proposed GI were that rum distillers use Barbadian water to make their rum and that the rum must be aged here.

    Officials of the three rum distilleries pursuing the marquee did not disclose the stipulations, however, Grisoni stressed that with the extremely high costs associated with rum production in Barbados “the only viable strategy for us to survive and . . . if we want to be able to continue to produce rum in Barbados for the next 200 or 300 years we need to adapt this added value strategy. We don’t have other choices”.

    Master Distiller and owner of Foursquare Distillery Richard Seale expressed satisfaction that the process of obtaining a GI for Barbados rum had started, noting that it was made up of multiple facets.

    He described it as a “prestigious status” that would be similar to Champagne and Cognac, which indicate where they are from and serve as a form of protection for the products. Another benefit of having a GI, he pointed out, was to use it as a marketing tool.

    “I think what is not really so well understood is that without protection it’s very easy for your domain or providence to be abused or counterfeited. I think this is something really taken for granted,” he said.

    Seale, who has taken the lead in the exercise, explained that the GI was like a trademark, he said “you are going in and protecting not just your brand as a trademark, but you are protecting your origin”.

    “It is not just a collective mark, but it is something that is internationally-recognised and has reciprocal agreements,” he added.

    He said local rum producers were increasingly finding that there were bottles of spirits in other parts of the world claiming Barbados providence and there is no way to prove or guarantee this, and this was a major concern.

    Once established, each legitimate bottle of rum produced in Barbados will carry the mark, including a seal number that is traceable. The rum proprietors said this would allow for the status of Barbados’ rum to be raised even further.

    Seale explained that while the three main rum distilleries have formed the “producer group” in order to start the process around the world, it will benefit any locally-produced brand of rum.

    “So any brand can also use the mark as long as they meet the qualifying conditions,” he said, adding that the GI allows for consumers to distinguish between products produced in Barbados and those produced elsewhere.

    He said officials were hoping that from this exercise the country would attract more business.

    “What we are hoping and expecting is that more budding operations will come to Barbados. We know of two distilleries that have plans for Barbados, who will produce [rum] completely from cane in Barbados and they will use the mark,” he disclosed.

    Late last year, Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados Mark Hill indicated that Government was still in the process of developing a GI for Barbados rum, but said the process should not be rushed and that a scientific approach should be taken.

    Hill indicated that the GI required a lot more than just historical value and sentiments and called for a wide range of specific qualities that would allow even microbreweries to benefit for years to come.


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