There seem to be a disagreement brewing among rum producers in Barbados as to what a proposed geographical indicator (GI) should look like for Barbados-produced rum.
Reports are that Mount Gay, Foursquare and St Nicholas Abbey, have backed a proposal by Government, which was prepared by the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC).
However, the West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd, makers of the popular Plantation rum brand, believes the GI should include locally-produced rum that was also aged overseas.
A GI is a sign that specifies that a product originated from a particular place. The qualities, characteristics or reputation of the product depends on the place of origin of the product.
The GI puts no restriction on the type of stills used during the distillation. Both short-term and long-term fermentation techniques are permitted. Molasses, syrup or fresh cane juice can be used in the production.
The proposed GI, which recognizes the properties of Barbados’ water, stipulates that rum distillers must use Barbados water to make their rum.
Additionally, the rum must be aged in refilled casks or new oak, sourced from a list of recognized wine and spirit denominations.
Mount Gay, Foursquare, St Nicholas Abbey and West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd. are the four major rum distilleries on the island, and Barbados TODAY understands that the GI proposal will require the approval from all of them.
It is understood that Mount Gay, Foursquare and St Nicholas Abbey have fully backed the move, but West Indies Rum Distillery, while it supports the implementation of a GI, believes there should be some inclusivity.
Asked about the GI push by Barbados, Managing Director of West Indies Rum Distillery Ltd Andrew Hassell said: “Traditionally, rums and spirits were aged in the Caribbean and in Europe.
“We at West Indies Rum Distillery, are totally for inclusive GI where it respects where all of the rum producers have traditionally done, and we are optimistic that when a Barbados rum GI is done it will be inclusive and to the benefit of not only all of the distilleries, but all Barbadians,” said Hassell.
While the West Indies Distillery Ltd ages most of its rum on island, some of its rums undergo multi-aging, where it is first done in Barbados and then finished in France.