|Malibu, the only distillery on the beach.
|The Rumelier waiting for his guided tour of the distillery.
|Molasses Arriving from the Dock at Malibu.
|Once in the tank the molasses is pumped across the road to be fermented.
The West Indies Rum Distillery was established in 1893 by the Stades brothers who were Germans by birth.
The main purpose for the building of the distillery was to export the rum they produced to their homeland. Even though the
brothers did not keep the distillery for a lenghty period of time, they were pioneers in the scientific production of rum.
They introduced the first continuous still to the Caribbean, vastly increasing the ammounts of rum they were able to
produce. This method proved much more productive than the time tested method of copper pot still, single batch distillation.
These days the distillery is mostly owned by a local Bajan company called Goddard Enterprises Ltd. This company continues
to use the original continuous still along with a very modern four column continuous still, as well as two old fashioned pot
stills. This allows the company to produce a large variety of different rum marks, either for aging or for bottling directly.
Today the company has sixty two employees working in its Distillery, aging and distribution warehouses
and bottling plant. The distillery can produce up to nine million litres of pure alcohol a year and has warehousing space
for one and a half million litres of bulk rum in stainless steel tanks, which is exported to different locations around the
world. They also have over twenty thousand, two hundred litre, American White Oak barrels of rum aging in their
warehouses. Of all this rum they bottle about one hundred and fifty thousand cases a year. The company not only bottles rum,
but also gin, vodka and water.
|The Entrance to the Malibu Visitor Center.
One of the most famous rums to be produced in Barbados is Cockspur. This rum is distilled at the
West Indies Rum Distillery and then purchased by Hanschell Inniss Ltd. which was founded in 1884 by Valdemar Hanschell. The
rum is then transported to Fontabelle, north of Bridgetown, where it is blended and bottled before it is shipped all over
the world, either in bulk containers or in bottles. It is also bottled in several other countries around the world, after
it has arrived in bulk containers.
Even though many rums from the West Indies Rum Distillery
are sold to different bottlers, there is much variety in what is being bottled, due manily to the large range of rums they
produce from their different distillation stills and also the difference in the aging barrels used.
|West Indies Distillery on the Beach, Barbados.
Mount Gay Visitor Centre
The Mount Gay Rum distillery
operates a visitor center 5 minutes north of Bridgetown, the island's capital, and just a short walk from the cruise ship
terminal. The center is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and offers hourly tours beginning at 9:30
am. A basic tour lasts about 45 minutes and costs $7 U.S. Two expanded tours are also offered, one that includes lunch on
the veranda after the basic tour, for $40 U.S., and a cocktail tour that is offered in the afternoon for $30. The centre attracts
about 25,000 visitors every year.
The Rumeliers decided to opt for the lunch tour, which included
a superb buffet of local specialties, including the famous Barbados flying fish, and of course several glasses of Mount Gay
Extra Old, one of The Rumelier's all time favourite rums.
The tour starts off on the veranda
with a complimentary rum punch, which is followed by a guided walk through a replica of an old Barbados rum shop and
into a museum of interesting artifacts of the company's history and rum production. A video presentation delves deeper into
the history of the company. There is also an opportunity to touch and smell the essential elements (sugar cane, molasses,
and distilled unaged rum) used in the rum making process. This was then followed by a tour of the aging and bottling warehouses.
Unfortunately the coopers were not working during this visit, usually a highlight of any distillery tour.
|The Mount Gay Visitor Center.
After the informative guided tour it was off to the retail shop to buy some t-shirts and bottles of rum.
Here the Rumelier was welcomed by Peter Marshall, Sales and Marketing Director for Mount Gay Distilleries Limited, who presented
The Rumelier with one of the company's prestigious red sailing caps, amongst other goodies. Then it was off to have lunch
with Peter and a few well chosen drinks.
The lunch was excellent, made even better by the
location, close to the waterfront. This was a true island experience, not to be missed on any visit to Barbados.
|The Old Aging Warehouses, Mt. Gay Visitor Center.
|Welcome to the Mount Gay Distillery, St.Lucy.
Brief History of Mount Gay
Mount Gay Rum is thought to
be the oldest rum company in the world and can trace its history through legal documents as far back as 1703. This document
lists various pieces of equipment necessary for the production of rum, which obviously conveys that rum was already in production
before 1703, probably as early as the 1640's. Barbados was first settled by the British in 1627, which made it one of the
last Caribbean islands to be settled by Europeans.
A famous saying says, that wherever the
British settled they built pubs or taverns first, the Spanish built their churches and the Dutch built forts. This may explain
why there are well over a thousand rum shops on this small Caribbean island and why there is a deep rooted rum culture instilled
in the local population. The Bajans make a point of consuming their fare share of the national beverage, from the cradle to
the grave. The birth of a baby is toasted in rum, as are birthdays and marriages, aswell as funerals where sorrows are often
drowned at a favourite watering hole or rum shop.
The Mount Gay Distillery lies on a ridge
situated in the north of Barbados, in St.Lucy Parish, far from the visitor centre. An ancient law in Barbados from 1904 prohibits
the aging and bottling of rum at the same location as the distillation. This means that the rum gets to travel all over the
island before being exported or sold locally. About 80 to 85% of Mount Gay's total rum production is exported, with about
40% of all exports going to the U.S.A.
Mount Gay are the only one of the three main rum distillers
in Barbados that do not bottle or sell bulk rum for private labels. They however, do ship rum in bulk containers to Kentucky,
U.S.A. where it is in turn bottled by the Jim Beam Company as Mount Gay Rum. It is cheaper to ship liquids in bulk, rather
than the finished product in bottles. In turn, Jim Beam send their used Bourbon barrels to Barbados, where they are reassembled
by a cooper, who uses cane lily plants to seal the spaces between the staves. Mount Gay Rum acquires much of its flavour
from the Jim Beam that was previously aged in the barrels.
|Welcome to Mt. Gay Visitor Center Mrs. Rumelier.
|The small museum is designed to replicate an old rum shop.
|Fermentation vats at the Mount Gay Distillery.
The location of todays distillery was once known as Mount Gilboa, which coincidently is the name of a
recently launched premium rum in Barbados, and was divided into several small plantations. In the early 18th century William
Sandiford bought most of this land and turned it into the 280 acre Mount Gilboa Plantation. After his death Sandiford passed
the plantation onto his son, who in turn sold it to an English gentleman, ironically called, John Sober. Sober and his
son Cumberpatch rarely visited their estate and entrusted the day to day running of their affairs to their good friend Sir
John Gay Alleyne. Sir John Alleyne died in 1801 and Cumberbatch decided to honor his friend for all his dedicated work, by
renaming the estate Mount Gay. A mount called Alleyne already existed in Barbados at the time. The Sober family continued
to control the plantation until 1860, mainly as absentee landlords.
One of the
most influential people involved in the development of Mount Gay Rum was Aubrey Ward, who bought the plantation outright in
the early 1900's. He is responsible for introducing new methods to the production of rum, while maintaining the rums outstanding
character and tradition. Ward along with his business partner John Hutson also introduced Mount Gay to the international market.
To this day you will still Aubrey Ward's signature on every bottle of Mount Gay Rum, so maintaining his lasting legacy.
In more recent times the Ward family continues to be involved with the company, although the majority interest of
90% of the comapny was sold to the French company Remy Cointreau. This has allowed Mount Gay Rum to be distributed extensively
all over the world through Remy Cointreau's international distribution network.
Click here to watch a brief video of the Mount Gay distillery.
|Rum Aging Slowly at Mount Gay.
|Sugar Cane Fields are Endless in Barbados.
|The Rumelier at the Foursquare Distillery.
R.L. Seale's Foursquare Distillery
The Hopefield estate
in St.Philip Parish, was originally founded in the 17th century, but was forced to cease operations in 1984 when the
sugar industry was rationalised in Barbados. In 1996 Sir David Seale, a well known local businessman completely
renovated the 8 acre old sugar plantation. The old buildings were restored and the distillery was fitted with the most modern
distilling equipment available, rivalling only Bacardi in Puerto Rico. The distillery is highly computerized and can be run
by a team of just two men.
The distillery is known as the Foursquare Distillery and Heritage
Park, named after Square Pond in the area. Today the distillery is the third largest in Barbados and the first new distillery
to be opened since the 19th century.
The distillery is open for self-guided tours, but is
well off the beaten tourist track. The distillery is situated inside a Heritage Park, where there are numerous craft shops,
an art gallery, an amphitheatre and of course a gift shop, where you can sample the various rum products produced by the distillery
and purchase many rum themed items.
Some of the rums produced at the Foursquare Distillery
include, Foursquare Spiced Rum, Doorly's, Old Brigand, Tommy Bahama, ESA Field, and Alleyne Arthur.
|MounT Gilboa Rum from Barbados.
Mount Gilboa Triple Distilled Pot Still Rum from Barbados
of the latest rums to be produced in Barbados is Mount Gilboa Triple Distilled Pot Still Rum. The Rumelier discovered
this rum while attending the Rumfest in London, England. This is not commercially available in the UK, but the Rumelier
did manage to acquire a bottle of this fine tasting rum from the person directly responsible for it's distillation.
Mount Gilboa is situated in the northern point of Barbados, in St.Lucy Parish, where they have been making fine rums
for over 300 years. This tradition continues today with this pot still rum, being made by direct family descendants of the
distillery founder Aubrey Ward (you will see his signature on every bottle of Mount Gay rum).
rum was Aubrey Ward's relentless passion. This passion has continued into his fourth generation descendant, Frank Ward Jr.
creator of this unique rum.
The rum is triple distilled using only pot still rum. No continuous
still rum is involved in the blend and no caramel or colourings are used in the final blend, so colour may vary from batch
The rum will only be available at duty free stores in Barbados and will not compete
against Mount Gay rum in the local market. It will retail for approximately $50 when available. The rum is being produced
by The Rum Refinery of Mount Gay Limited which is a separate entity from Mount Gay Rum, the most famous rum to be produced
in Barbados. They make the rum for Mount Gay and later sell it to them. There is a law in Barbados that goes back centuries
stating that rum distillers were not allowed to produce, age and bottle their rums in the same location. Mount Gay rum actually
puts in many miles up and down the island before it is actually bottled.
This rum continues
the long tradition of producing fine rums from the birthplace of rum Barbados.
Watch a video of Frank Ward Jr. talk about Mount Gilboa Rum and rum in Barbados.
|A Model of a Barbados Copper Pot Still.
St. Nicholas Abbey Rum
Another newcomer on the Bajan
rum scene is St. Nicholas Abbey Rum. This rum is currently being produced by RL Seale at the Foursquare Distillery and then
bottled at the Abbey. It is planned for the Abbey to eventually distill and age its own rum from fresh sugar cane juice grown
on the 400 acre estate.
The St. Nicholas Abbey is one of only three remaining Jacobean great
houses left in the Western Hemisphere, and was built in 1658, just thirty years after the first British settlers arrived
on the island. The Abbey is situated in St. Peter, Cherry Tree Hill amongst 400 acres of lush mahogany forests and sugar cane
fields and is thought to be the oldest building in Barbados.
Today the Warren family who purchased
the estate in 2006 are attempting to restore the Abbey and its estate to its original condition.
|St. Nicholas Abbey, recently restored.
The Warren family are trying to recreate an sugar old estate feeling by producing sugar related products,
such as sugar, molasses and rum. They are rebuilding an old steam mill that will be used to crush the fresh sugar cane and
are building a still house to hold the custom made copper pot stills and distilling apparatus. The rum will be aged in
the old stables, where the cool trade-winds will mature the rum.
Currently the rum that is
produced by RL Seale is initially aged at 65% alc/vol in used Bourbon oak barrels for eight years. The rum is then watered
down to bottle strength and re-barrelled for another two years at the Abbey. Once readyfor bottling the rum is hand-bottled
straight from the cask, unblended, into a glass decanter style bottle. The bottle has been etched with a picture of the Jacobean
Abbey and is sealed with a mahogany cork. Each bottle is engraved with its individual number and the date of bottling.
In the years to come more of the rum made at the Abbey will be blended into the rum purchased from RL Seale. This
means that the blend will ultimately change and eventually only rum distilled at the Abbey will be used. This will be first
sugar cane juice rum to be made in Barbados..
|The Old Windmill at St.Nicolas Abbey.
|A Restored Windmill in Barbados.
|Wind was the main source of power for decades.
|An old rum magazine ad. for Alleyne Arthur's Rum.
|Mrs. Rumelier at the Foursquare Distillery.