Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rum from the Virgin Islands

     The Virgin Islands have long been a source of rum for the rest of the world.     Today there are just 3 distilleries left in the Virgin Islands.     The British Virgin Islands only have Callwood Distillery in Cane Garden Bay on Tortolla.   The U.S. Virgin Islands boast two very large distilleries, Cruzan and Diageo, both on the island of St. Croix near Frederiksted.

     The Callwood distillery is the world's longest continuously running distillery.     This historic distillery nestled in the woods at the edge of Cane Garden Bay on the island of Tortolla is one of the fun "old school" distilleries that still run things pretty much like it did originally.   This distillery still produces rum that is bottled for you to take home with you and is a lot of fun to visit especially if you are interested in the historical rum distilleries and the taste of "old school" rums.

     Cruzan on the other hand is one of the large modern distilleries that produces very high volume rum that is distributed throughout the world.     The Cruzan Distillery has a visitor's center where you can learn the modern methods of rum making and spend some time sampling the fine rums made by Cruzan.    The Cruzan Distillery boasts a long history of rum making that has it's origins with the Dutch and the wind driven cane crusher, parts of which are still at the distillery.    There have been several ownership changes over the past years, but the place is still operating and a great place to visit when in the Virgin Islands.    

     The newest and the largest is the new Diageo Distillery that is producing Captain Morgan Rums.     This mega distillery when fully operational will be able to produce some 20 million proof gallons of rum per year.     This distillery not only has extremely high output potential, but is an environmentally sound operation.    This is a joint venture with the St. Croix government and Diageo that will get 80% or it's employees from the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

   All of these locations are great places to visit and learn more about how and why many of the processes that make your rum happen the way that they do.     Make sure to visit these neat places when you re in the Virgin Islands, and be sure to sample some of the products at the same time.     ;o)