Spirited time for industry players

by Marlon Madden

Rum producers in Barbados have been ramping up their efforts to build awareness about rum, which is said to have its origins in Barbados more than 315 years ago.  And as part of that effort, the world’s oldest commercial rum producer – Mount Gay Rum Distilleries Ltd. – treated some specially invited guests to a three-course dining experience recently.

This formal dinner at the Sweetfield Manor, which included the sampling of a variety of rum-based cocktails, formed part of the newly introduced The Barbados Rum (TBR) Experience week of activities.

The dinner was attended by local, regional and international rum lovers, rum makers, writers and other specially invited guests. In a brief welcome, Managing Director of Mount Gay Distilleries Ltd. Raphael Grisoni said he was hoping it would be the first of many dinners as part of TBR Experience.

“Welcome to Barbados. You came to the birthplace of rum, not just a random rum fest somewhere, but really where everything started about rum. What is great about it is that this is the first one, and I hope it is the beginning of a long series,” he said. He thanked the team at TBR Experience, stating that the week of activities provided an added avenue for the world to learn about and experience the loved spirit.

As the guests enjoyed their rum-based cocktails, paired with their main course of chicken or fish dish, they were serenaded by live music by 2 Mile Hill the band, featuring Keomal Nurse and Rhesa Garnes.

During the night’s proceedings, they were also treated to a fashion show, featuring pieces by J. Riviera, who is devoted to creating hand-made luxury products for the chic island girl; and Blac Flamingo Apparel, an Afro-Caribbean brand that specialises in creating wearable art including decorative knots accompanied by beading or shells. Guests also had the opportunity to witness a live painting by young Barbadian self-taught visual artist Shain ‘Rudy’ Clarke.

One of his live paintings of a bottle of Mount Gay 1703 was presented to Mount Gay Master Blender Trudiann Branker on the night.

The week of TBR Experience, which also consisted of discussions, bar tours and visits to some of the island’s rum distilleries, came months after the island had gone without any major tourism related calendar of events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say they hope it will be a staple on the calendar of events for years to come.


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