Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How Did the Rum Industry Survive the Deveistation August and September Storms?

Hurricane Irma
     When you think about the Caribbean you think about rum and all those famous rum cocktails.  Irma and Marie have put quite a hurtin” on the rum industry on many of the Caribbean Islands.   Places like the Soggy Dollar, Foxy’s, Ivan’s, Pusser’s Restaurants and ever=n the Willie were destroyed in August and September of last year. 
     Pusser’s Rum, which is now being distilled in Trinidad and Guyana escaped the devastation and they still have a strong supply of rum.  The bad part is they lost all three restaurants and thanks to the fact that their rum is being distilled in Trinidad and Guyana, escaped the devastation.   The BVI­-based Pusser’s Rum, where it was founded by Charles Tobias in 1980, suffered catastrophic damage, including its corporate office building and warehouse” members.”
     In St Croix, the US Virgin Islands, Cruzan Rum Distillery suffered some warehouse damage, but was back in production after three weeks, while Captain Morgan “experienced only minimal impact.
     Roberto Serrall├ęs, sixth-generation distiller of Puerto Rico’s Don Q Rum, was desperate to get home from the US find out how his company and employees did during the storms.   “We’re a family distillery on the southern, Caribbean side of Puerto Rico.”   “We’ve been distilling for 152 years and have seen lots of strong storms. This was different. It took us four days just to get a message through and it took eight days to make sure all our employees were fine. Once everyone was accounted for, there was then the process of getting back to business.”   Destileria Serrall├ęs was well prepared after the wake­up call of Hurricane Georges in 1998.  “We couldn’t let that happen again, as storms are getting stronger and more frequent,” we have ensured that over the past decade the distillery has not relied on city water, and can generate its own power.
     Puerto Rico is also home to Bacardi, the giant distillery on the north coast. Just outside of San Juan.  It produces 80% of all its rum. “The fact that they were up and running a week after the hurricanes passed through the island, because they were we were ready for them,” there was no damage to stocks, “Incredibly, we didn’t lose a single barrel,” he said.
     Cuba is a big market for Havana Club, whose modern distillery, built in 2007, was left undamaged. Irma, the first Category 5 hurricane to hit the island since 1937.   One senior official reportedly described the destruction of the island’s sugarcane crop as “incalculable”. I we look at the overall supply of sugarcane and molasses used in Caribbean rum, this year’s hurricane season won’t have much impact. “It’s a global commodity,” and is more affected by sugar prices rather than the storm.

     All in all the industry came back very quickly and rum production was back on line with very little disruption in the supply chain.  Glad to hear that so many are back up to full production and their employees are back on the job.