Wednesday, November 18, 2015
This is the second part of the story that I ran yesterday. This is the response from Diageo in relation to the allegations made by the Department of Justice and the investigation that was launched. You can read more about this VI Consortium story at http://viconsortium.com/business/diageo-says-its-testing-new-methods-of-distilling-aimed-at-improving-productivity-and-efficiency/
Diageo USVI issued a statement late Monday in hopes of bringing clarity to confusion over what it says is a new method of distilling that it's testing, following a VI Consortium exclusive story revealing that the territory's Department of Justice had launched an investigation to determine whether the liquid substance from 14 Diageo tankers that it sampled was molasses, which is subsidized by the Government of the Virgin Islands as part of a 30-year agreement between Diageo and the GVI.
A well-placed source within the Department of Justice revealed to The Consortium that if the substance was found not to be molasses, then "all hell could break lose," adding that the DOJ could extend its probe to include past shipments in an effort to determine the length of breach.
But in a statement issued to The Consortium, Diageo says it has been testing a sugar cane intermediate as it continues to innovate and try new distilling techniques.
"Now in our fifth year of rum distillation on St. Croix, Diageo USVI is proud to have achieved a number of milestones in our production. From record water recovery and conservation, to the creation of new rum products, we continue to innovate and test distilling processes and techniques. Some of these distilling techniques are used throughout the Caribbean, and may help improve plant efficiency, our environmental footprint, and productivity," wrote Erica J. Johnson, communications and corporate relations head at Diageo USVI.
"As part of this, we have been testing a new distilling process using sugar cane intermediate, in which a minority amount of this ingredient, which we would be bringing from outside the territory, would be added into our distilling process along with molasses. Some tankers of this ingredient are now being questioned by the VI Department of Justice officials. As with all our distilling methods, the use of sugar cane intermediate is not only legal and meets federal and local standards, it is also within the boundaries of our agreement with the Government of the Virgin Islands," she added.