The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association Inc. (WIRSPA) recently organized an educational event about Authentic Caribbean Rum for spirits influencers and journalists from the United States and Canada. Guests had the opportunity to see the production of rum from sugar cane through to the finished product. Twelve brands from the region, including St. Lucia Distillers also took advantage of the opportunity to present their finest rum selection.Visiting professionals were introduced to regional rum producers through brand presentations and tastings that showcased the quality, diversity and versatility of rums under the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque. Michael Speakman, Marketing Director of St. Lucia Distillers was on hand to talk to journalists about the company and undertake a tutored tasting of their most premium rums.
The event, which took place in the Dominican Republic was part of the educational campaign for the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque and brands. Attendees visited four different rum facilities in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to see sugar cane growing, milling, fermentation, distillation, ageing and blending through to the finished product.
Speaking to local journalists and international press, Chairman of WIRSPA, Dr. Frank Ward spoke of the socio-economic importance of rum to the region. With indirect employment in excess of 100,000 people, around US$550 million in foreign exchange and US$300 million in taxes linked to the industry, it is the key agro-industrial sector for governments and provides a critical lifeline for local communities, as many production facilities are located in economically challenged rural areas of our region.
Michael Speakman of St. Lucia Distillers said, “We strive to differentiate ourselves with unique products, and this event was an excellent opportunity to showcase some of these. We featured our well known Chairman’s Reserve and our Forgotten Casks, which has a great story behind it, and this really strikes a chord with writers. We also had Admiral Rodney there, and as affordable super premium rum, we are now in the position of having to limit orders because our aged stock can’t keep up with demand.”