|Chairman of Four Square Rum Distillery, Sir David Seale; Industry and Commerce Minister, Donville Inniss; and Managing Director, Richard Seale toast to the new agreement between Four Square??and Moet and Hennessey of France. (C. Pitt/BGIS)|
Foursquare Rum Distillery has just signed a lucrative agreement with Moet and Hennessy of France to distill, blend and bottle a brand of rum known as 10 Cane which is expected to rake in BDS $100 million in foreign exchange.
News of this venture, which will be executed over the next five years, came today when Chairman, Sir David Seale unveiled plans to Industry Minister, Donville Inniss, during a press conference at his ultra-modern St. Phillip plant.
Sir David revealed that this particular brand of rum was first distilled, blended and bottled in Trinidad and that this is now Barbados’ gain over its regional counterpart.??
He said: "…This is very exciting because this brand having been established world-wide, it has a track record so we are not starting from zero.?? We are starting from a point that it is a guarantee amount that we can produce… Our sums will say that it is quite possible that we will earn in excess of $100 million in foreign exchange over the next five years."
The Chairman told members of the media that from the first year, operations would start slowly because they (Moet and Hennessy) still had stocks from Trinidad, so they would not take up the full stock until probably after a year.?? However, he quickly pointed out that Foursquare Rum distillery, which was named distillery of the year in 2010, is now being recognised as a world class facility.
"When we decided to build a distillery, we often said that we wanted to get into the export market in a meaningful way but we had no marketing funds to spend, so we felt that we would put in and put down a facility that when tourists and visitors came they can remember it. That is what is happening. The word of mouth advertising has led to a massive increase in the exporting of our own brands both to Europe and the USA…I can only imagine that Moet and Hennessy came here because they are satisfied that they are going to get a quality product…Once rum gets the real recognition it should get from the government of Barbados it has the potential of earning about BDS $500 million a year…," he noted.
Industry Minister, Donville Inniss lauded the project and pointed out that his Ministry along with Government recognised the importance of taking Barbadian products on to the international market.
The Minister stated that not only do we have great skills in Barbados but we have a history of excellent products that we were quite willing to share with the world, and in some instances sharing for years or even centuries.
"Rum is a distinct Barbadian product and I believe that we are the home of rum, and that is something that I don’t think we have fully capitalised on as yet.?? There is still much more to be gained…I commend the Chairman and management of Foursquare Distilleries for their work in getting us to this point today where we can really boast and celebrate this new contract being worked out with Hennessy," he said.
He further added: "We believe firmly that Barbados is not a low-cost location for manufacturing and as a result we have to tap into the niche areas and rum is a product that is synonymous with Barbados and therefore, we have to exploit fully the rum industry.?? This means of course, as has been done here at Foursquare, making use of an ultra-modern plant distillery and creating niche products … but of course that can help earn revenue for the company and foreign exchange for Barbados."
Mr. Inniss pointed out that this was indeed ???good news’ at a time when one could speak about the depressed state of manufacturing and all the ???doom and gloom’.?? He gave his assurance that his Ministry stood ready to assist in getting products on to the international market at a quicker rate than was currently happening.
"This does not mean that you have to add tremendous costs to your plant but certainly our focus is going to be a lot more on the value added services and products here in Barbados," he contended.