The economic conditions have not dulled the taste for rum in Barbados.
Local rum producer R.L. Seale & Company is reporting a boom in business. Manager for Spirits and On-Premise Steve Singh is even predicting an equally strong performance next year.
“We have been doing very well although the economy for the past eight years has not been the best. As a company, R.L Seale and Four Square Rum Distillery, have been performing well throughout last year and this year given the circumstances of the economy,” Singh told Barbados TODAY in a recent interview.
While not revealing figures for the year, Singh highlighted the company’s historic Supreme Champion Award at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) in London earlier this year, saying this helped to boost the sales for the latter part of this year and he could only look forward to more great achievements next year.
“The outlook is that we can only grow more,” he said.
“The winning rum for us this year has been the Four Square 2005. It was entered in a category where for the first time in 23 years a rum actually beat gin, whiskies and others. Since we have achieved that award this year the sales on it have been doing very well. It is a limited edition but it is outselling the other two limited editions we have,” he reported.
The company also won the rum producer of the year award three times in a row and recently captured the rum distillery of the year award.
Singh said R.L Seale would be partnering with the Hospitality Institute in an effort to give students an opportunity to learn more about rum and how to better incorporate it into their mixtures.
He explained that this was another way to encourage more visitors to the island to consume the product.
“It helps with our exports in the future and that is foreign exchange for Barbados. That is why we want to educate people on really, what rum is all about and let them know also it is something that is growing worldwide,” he added.
Singh wants Barbadians to have a greater appreciation of rum, pointing out that while many residents still considered rum to be a “poor man’s drink”, the appreciation for, and consumption of the alcoholic beverage continues to grow on the international scene.
Just last Friday Prime Minister Mia Mottley called for the story of rum to be told to the rest of the world and be used as a way of earning the country more foreign exchange.
“There are people in Europe whose appreciation for rum has grown so much in the last three to five years. We want to let, not just people living overseas but Barbadians, know that you can drink good rum here, properly aged rum that will cause you not to pay for some high-end drink,” Singh said.
“We should really cherish it because it is part of Barbados. This is coming from a distillery, which is one of two Barbadian-owned distilleries in the island,” he added.
Singh was reluctant to say what new products or expansion plans were on the cards for R.L. Seale, but told Barbados TODAY “you never know what could happen”, when asked about the company’s future.
While rum remains a popular choice of spirit in Barbados year round, sales usually peak during the Crop Over season and at Christmas.