by Emmanuel Joseph
A leading local rum producer has secured a contract with a world-renown spirits brand, that is expected to bring in more than $100 million in foreign exchange to the Barbadian economy and create substantial indirect jobs over the next five years.
Describing this as good news for Barbados, Executive Chairman of R.L. Seale and Company, Sir David Seale, announced this morning during a media conference at his Foursquare Rum Distillery in St. Philip, that just last week the company concluded an agreement with Moet Hennessy of France to distill, blend and bottle a brand of rum known as 10 Cane.
Speaking during a tour of the Foursquare plant by Minister of Industry, International Busines, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, Sir David said this brand of rum, had previously been distilled, blended and bottled in Trinidad.
“So you may say, this is Barbados’ gain over Trinidad,” the prominent business beamed. “It is very exciting because this brand, having been established world-wide, it has a track record, so we are not starting from zero. We are starting from a point that is a guaranteed amount that you can produce.
“Our sums say that it is quite possible that we will earn in excess of $100 million in foreign exchange over the next five years. And obviously from the first year, things will start slower, because they still have stocks from Trinidad, so it won’t take up the full stock things until probably a year is gone,” explained Sir David.
He said he saw this major deal as a recognition of the Foursquare Rum Distillery, which had been named distillery of the year in 2010, and was now being acknowledged internationally as a world class facility. The executive chairman noted that his company’s decision to build a facility which was also designed as a tourist attraction had worked effectively, in that the word-of-mouth advertising by the visitors had lead to a massive increase in export sales of the local rum brands to Europe and the United States.
“In fact, we’ve gone down in Australia … last year November, and also recognition was very much. I can only imagine that Moet Hennessy came here, because they are satisfied that they are going to get a quality product,” asserted the business mogul.
Managing Director Richard Seale suggested that the future development of Barbados partly rested on the rum industry.
“Our concern in the industry is for Government to … understand the importance of the rum industry. Barbados has very few indigenous industries…; tourism is one, rum is another. But rum is untapped potential. It’s our opinion that the future development of Barbados …, if Barbados is going to be successful, rum is going to be a major player in its success,” observed Seale.
The managing director said he believed rum would be a major source of foreign exchange that’s required to sustain growth in the local economy. He argued that in the same way Government supported tourism years ago, particularly through the establishment of the Barbados Tourism Authority and the education of the public on the sector’s importance, similar treatment now needed to be extended to rum.
Seale noted too that the new contract with Moet Hennessy could result in many indirect jobs, increased economic activity and between 10 per cent and 30 per cent more exports.
“This brand has the short potential to sell in the region of two to three hundred thousand cases and to become a major global brand when you want it to sell a million cases,” revealed the Foursquare Rum Distillery boss. [email protected]