Good year for Four Square

It is only right I know about it, if I drink it, said PM Freundel Stuart as he toured Four Square Rum Distillery with Sir David Seale today.

by Latoya Burnham

In a year when it has won best rum, best distillery and best distiller in London, Four Square Rum Distillery is not only reporting good sales but increased exports.

Managing Director, Sir David Seale, reported the company’s good fortune this morning, shortly after leading Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on a tour of the facility.

The Prime Minister had earlier noted that the visit was a follow-up to a similar one for the Foromic 2012 Conference, and given what was seen then he suggested a future tour of the facility.

Today he was led by Sir David, Executive Director Richard Seale, Distillery Manager Brian Fernandes and Deputy Manager Antoinette Kinch, on the main tour.

Stuart was taken through the various steps of making rum, barrelling and bottling the main brands, and even issues to do with electricity, storage capacity and most importantly exportation.

On the exports, Sir David told the media: “The rum industry is very important. At this point in time, our rum sales/exports are skyrocketing and we are earning more foreign exchange every day.”

He added that the rum industry provided the island with a lot of revenue via tax.

“We only had excise tax levels on us back in 1996 and then in 1997 VAT came about. So the industry pays two types of tax — excise tax as well as VAT — and when you really total them up, it is in the vicinity of $24 million a year. So it is a very substantial amount of money that goes to the Government from the industry,” said the managing director and executive chairman.

“Barbados rum is akin to French wine or beer from Holland. Those are the countries where the best of everything is known… The industry really doesn’t need any hand-out from Government but it needs a great deal of recognition…,” he said.

Sir David added that in October the company employed eight additional persons in the bottling plant to help with the increase in orders they were receiving.

“We are trending very much in the right direction. 2012 from rum sales has been excellent, no doubt about that from both the distillery and the bottling plant…

“It might sound vain, but our distillery was named Distillery of the Year in London at a very prestigious exhibition, my son was named Master Distiller, and one of our products Doorly’s was the best rum there. I say that is akin to winning a Grammy or … worldwide recognition, the name is there.

“Maybe from then I have seen the rise in sales, certainly from Europe,” he said, adding that the recognition this had brought would also help with marketing, since as a small company they could not necessarily afford to push the product into new markets at this stage.

“Word of mouth is great. The tourists help us considerably because they either go and take away a bottle of rum and then ask for it in the United States or wherever they come from. That helps us,” said Sir David.

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