MONTEGO BAY — There is a new addition to the list of rum products being manufactured locally, with the official introduction of “Rum Fire” to the white rum market on Thursday March 31.
Rum Fire, is being produced at the Hampden Estate, Trelawny, well known for the quality of its rum, and will be distributed exclusively by Red Stripe. It will be available islandwide by the end of April.
Hampden Estates, which sits on 5,600 acres, was founded in 1753. It was acquired by Everglades Farms in 2009, through a public bid as part of the divestment process within the Sugar industry, undertaken by the government.
Addressing the official launch of the product, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon Dr. Christopher Tufton, made mention of the divestment process, adding that in the years to come he sees only good things for the industry.
He argued that the industry should benefit from increase in production in the base product cane, with resulting increases in value added and by-products, as well.
“Last year we did 1.3 million tons of cane, we believe that over the next two to three years we will do closer to 3 .5 million tons of cane. We believe that cane that is going to be produced on all the estates, will position this industry to generate a range of income from various forms of economic activity, with cane, of course, being the base”, he stated.
Dr. Tufton noted that there are plans to encourage, with government facilitation, private investment in the establishment of a sugar refinery in Jamaica with a 200,000 tonnes capacity, to supply both the local and regional markets. He said the intention is to stop the importation of cane products and utilize more local production.
He highlighted the fact that with the divestment of the government owned estates the country has moved from a position of a $5 billion subsidy, to ensuring that the operations are in no need for subsidy.
“The future of the industry is going to depend on us recognizing that there needs to be a mind change; an attitude change towards the industry, and all of us have to recognize that for the industry to be viable we have to bring the creativity, the entrepreneurship that is necessary to create value through brands, and to distribute those brands in markets, whether here or abroad,” he stated.
He described the launch of the Rum Fire brand as the start of many things to come within the sugar cane industry.
By Bryan Miller