Monthly Archives: June 2014

Small Rum Producers Benefit from World Class Quality Initiative

– Initiative is part of a CARIFORUM project funded by the European Union within the context of their support for the Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement and implemented by the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA).

Training workshop is aimed at introducing best practice in sensory assessment to smaller rum companies working in partnership with larger producers.

Initiative underscores call from PM Anthony of St. Lucia for regional brands to remain uniquely authentic and strive for absolute quality.

June 2014 – Rums produced by the small distilleries in CARIFORUM show tremendous diversity and stack up well against global brands says Mike Booth, spirits consultant and master blender for several international brands.  Booth was speaking during a sensory training workshop in Barbados at which rum brands under the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque were sampled side by side with brands from the giants of the drinks world.  These smaller regional rums represent great value and demonstrate high quality authentic product, adds Booth.

The workshop was part of a CARIFORUM initiative funded by the European Union under their support for the Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement.  It is part of a series of collaborative activities aimed at introducing best practice to smaller producers achieved through partnerships with larger producers under the umbrella of the regional rum grouping, WIRSPA. According to Frank Ward, chairman of WIRSPA, “we have a very diverse membership in terms of size, these activities provide the opportunity for our larger better established brands to give a helping hand to the smaller producers to ensure that we all continue to deliver top quality products in a very competitive market.

The session was not just about testing of current rums but also aims to establish a best practice process for assessment and on-going measurement of sensory quality. This echoes the thoughts of St. Lucia Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony, who recently spoke of rums from the region as being “uniquely authentic – of absolute quality and absolute excellence”. He encouraged the industry to maintain its investment in quality programmes and support for exports under the banner of Authentic Caribbean Rum.

The training session was held at the sensory evaluation lab of the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados with participation from 12 Caribbean distilleries, from the largest producer in Dominican Republic, Brugal, to one of the smallest, Shillingford Estates in Dominica.  For these smaller distilleries, the training workshop provided invaluable feedback on their brands and included a session where un-aged spirit from producers’ stills was also sampled.

Producers from the following brands were present:

Antigua & Barbuda – Antigua Distillery Ltd

Belize – Traveller’s Liquors Ltd

Dominica – Shillingford Estates Ltd

Dominican Republic – Brugal & Co SA

Guyana – Demerara Distillers Ltd

Haiti – Societe Rhum du Barbancourt

Grenada – Grenada Distillers Ltd and Westerhall Estates Ltd

St. Lucia – St. Lucia Distillers Ltd

St. Vincent & the Grenadines – St. Vincent Distillers Ltd

Suriname – Suriname Alcoholic Beverages NV

Trinidad & Tobago – Angostura Ltd


Download the press release here.

St. Lucia PM Urges Sustained Export Drive for Rum

Friday 23 May – Caribbean governments stand firmly behind the rum industry in their quest to make their mark on the international market says Prime minister of St. Lucia, Dr. Kenny Anthony.  The Prime Minister was speaking at a presentation of CARIFORUM brands to European spirits journalists and drinks professional in St Lucia on Tuesday 20th May.  Seventeen brands from 11 CARIFORUM countries were represented in St Lucia which saw spirits journalists from top trade titles in 6 European countries learning about the uniqueness of Authentic Caribbean Rums under the WIRSPA umbrella.

Dr. Anthony commended the regional grouping on their foresight in establishing the ACR Marque of quality and authenticity and for continuing to strive for excellence in the export market with premium products.  He challenged the producers to maintain and strengthen these efforts while still paying attention to their responsibilities in their home markets as responsible corporate citizens.

Dr Frank Ward, Chairman of the producers association, WIRSPA noted that while producers continued to move into the branded market, there continued to be much unfair competition from subsidised products. Nevertheless, he charged, rum continued to be the largest agricultural based export for the region and earner of foreign exchange, a major employer and contributor to public finances through tax payments.

He thanked the CARIFORUM governments for their support to the export effort of the industry and to the European Union for financing the development and promotion of the quality ACR Marque.  The quality ACR Marque was still a very young initiative and continued support by governments and the European Union was critical to the survival of the industry, and even more so for the smaller producers.

The initiative is part of the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque campaign run by WIRSPA and aimed to introduce journalists from the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands to Caribbean producers and their brands as part of the campaign.

Producers from the following brands were present:

– EnglishHarbour from Antigua & Barbuda

– Cockspur, Doorly’s, MountGay and St. Nicholas Abbey from Barbados

– Traveller’s from Belize

– Macoucherie from Dominica

– Barceló and Brugal from the Dominican Republic

– Clarkes Court and Westerhall Estate from Grenada

– Monymusk and Hampden Estate from Jamaica

– Chairman’s Reserve from St Lucia

– Captain Bligh from St Vincent & the Grenadines

– Borgoe from Suriname

– Angostura from Trinidad & Tobago

Press release available here in English and Spanish