Grenada recently welcomed its newest maker of the Caribbean’s premier alcoholic beverage — rum.
On September 21, Renegade Rum Distillery began operations, producing rum from terroir-bred sugar cane, near Pear on the north-eastern side of Grenada.
The company’s owner, Mark Reynier, a former managing director of Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland, recently chronicled his 15-year journey to complete the US$25-million rum distillery.
“I started planning the project in June 2015 after an initial exploratory trip to the island,” Reynier, CEO of Renegade Spirits, said.
“Immediately I felt this was the right home for Renegade after a fruitless 10-year search,” he continued.
Yet, despite identifying the perfect spot to see his dreams come through, the entrepreneur described the last five years as a “veritable rollercoaster of a ride”, citing frustrations with lack of progress, dead ends and delays. In fact, Reynier said that he had considered giving on several occasions.
While noting that the rum distillery would be the first of its scale with a design to produce from terroir-bred sugar cane, the CEO said he had to borrow from his experience in his prior job. As part of the “cutting-edge” design, the distillery will use technology that provides air filtration and water purification of waste streams, as well as digital logistics management.
“We had the chance to make something really special here, with the latest thinking, drawing on our distilling experience from Scotland and Ireland to support the unique underpinning Renegade philosophy: rum defined by Grenada’s geology, farm by farm, field by field,” Reyneir shared.
With a dream to produce the “world’s most profound rum” from different soils across Grenada, the owner went to the full extent of purchasing components for the mill, horizonal fermenters, and pot and column still from 10 different countries.
Furthermore, he had to face with the coronavirus pandemic, which caused the team at the distillery to commission some of its equipment under uner remote guidance.
“Unusually this project has been both back to front and upside down: first we had to propagate cane where none existed to prove it was worthwhile building a distillery; then we had to design it backwards, from the end waste streams back to the incoming cane,” Reyneir stated.
He added: “Now we have a landmark, state-of-the-art-distillery, the envy of the industry, built and run by Grenadians to use Grenadian cane – the veritable spirit of Grenada. After all the blood, tears, sweat of determination and technical ingenuity – not to mention a global pandemic – we are delighted that the Renegade Rum Distillery is alive.”