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WHAT IS RUM?
Rum is the Spirit of St Lucia. It is the connection of a people to its history - a link between hands in the soil from which sugar is grown, to hands in the air as we express ourselves at carnival. St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies captures and bottles that spirit. The process starts using molasses, the by-product of sugar manufacturing, puts it through a heavily controlled and monitored fermentation process, distils and then blends to achieve the right balance and flavours. The rum is then aged, each to the product’s specifications, blended, bottled and distributed. St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies has maintained a reputation for fine rums and liqueurs that are enjoyed in St Lucia and exported all over the world.
WHAT IS RUM IN SAINT LUCIA?
When sugar was introduced to the island in the late 1700’s it revolutionised the society, the reverberations of which are still felt today. The labour-intensive crop generated a demand that was satisfied by the trade of African slave labour, and later by Indian indentured labour, introducing what is now the primary demographic of the island’s population and rum’s first consumers.
The island of St Lucia featured many small plantation distilleries, remnants of which can still be found around the countryside. By the 1950s there were only two operational distilleries left on island - one of which was the Barnard Family Estate in Dennery, which was for the most part producing strong white rums. In 1972 the Barnards entered into a joint venture with Geest and moved their operations to the current location in the Roseau Valley. As sugar production had ended by then, the raw material, molasses is shipped from Guyana into the bay at Roseau where the viscous, aromatic syrup is pumped to storage tanks at the distillery.
The expansion of the distillery and its product range has meant the introduction of a portfolio of rum and rum-related products which offer a wider choice to a larger cross section of society. Rum has evolved both in quality and perception, to appeal to St Lucia and the world’s most discerning palates.
WHAT IS THE RHYTHM OF RUM TOUR?
In the Roseau valley in St Lucia, host to the agricultural community of Jacmel is St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies, producing world class rums and liqueurs in a process that has, like its environment, changed little in a hundred years. Here, guests to the historic, world class distillery can embark on a Rhythm of Rum tour that takes visitors on a journey that illuminates the connection between the production of rum and the historical and cultural heritage of the island.
The tour begins with a short video in the reconstructed ship’s hold and explains rum production, its connection to the island and the distillery’s family beginnings. Guests then proceed to the main distillery factory where it becomes clear that the making of rum has its own distinct rhythm and flavour. From the molasses vats holding the dark viscous and aromatic raw material to the open vats where final fermentation takes place, visitors are encouraged to engage all the senses to understand the unique phenomenon that is rum making.
Beautiful copper stills dominate the main floor where guests can observe the progressive distilling process with an opportunity to see and smell the spirit at its various stages. But perhaps most intriguing of this process is the casking of the spirit into oak barrels that began their lives in places far flung, in bourbon and port producing districts lending the aging rum both the colour and character of their previous contents.
St Lucia rums and liqueurs very much accompany the celebration of spirit and passion that has so characterised the island’s history. The rhythm of rum tour concludes with a Carnival extravaganza. Colourful costumes and the melodic sounds of steel pan envelope visitors in the Carnival interpretation centre.
The tour ends at a veritable rum buffet where visitors can sample the impressive range and find the rum or rums which best fit the individual palate. Whether it is a premium sipping rum, a crème liqueur or an invigorating spice rum, the Rhythm of Rum boutique stocks and sells your favourite St Lucia Distillers Group of Companies product.