Jamaica’s household brewery, Red Stripe, is entering the attractions business with a multimillion-dollar joint venture arrangement with Negril’s famous Rick’s Café.
The joint venture between Red Stripe and Rick’s Café will deliver an exclusive Red Stripe ‘Experience Tour’ on the property of Rick’s Café, which is among the sought-after locations in Negril. Rick’s Café is known for having an unrivalled view of the sunset in Jamaica.
The property, located in the West End area of the resort town, sits atop a 35-foot-high cliff and is also known for a heart-throbbing exhilarating cliff jumping.
Red Stripe’s Finance Director Paul Schalekamp told Caribbean Business Report (CBR) that the total investment for the project is US$2 million (JM$289 million) with a 50-50 contribution from both partners.
The plan is to construct a tour facility of over 5,600 square feet with the aiming of having 60,000 visitors annually in smaller groups at the same time. According to Schalekamp, “The project seeks to attract more visitors to the property, which will, in turn, generate additional revenues and will be a great marketing tool both nationally and internationally.”
Work is far advanced on the project with actual construction slated to start next month. Already a contractor has been selected in GM and Associates. Ground preparations have already started.
The Red Stripe finance director declined to comment on the contractual obligations with the awarded construction company. The new attraction is slated to open by year’s end.
When asked what motivated Red Stripe to undertake this partnership project Schalekamp said: “We wanted to create a unique new experience combining the most captivating characteristics of three icons: Jamaica, Red Stripe and Ricks Café, which would capture the history of Red Stripe and the symbiotic relationship with the cultural, socio-economic and historical development of Jamaica. The intended goal of this pursuit is to increase visitor arrivals to Negril’s West End and expanded offerings to new and existing Red Stripe consumers.”
Regarding the outlay of the new attraction, CBR found out that the site is ocean facing with major wind, salt and ultraviolet exposure. The honeycomb rocks are both an aesthetic feature and part of the structural consideration. Ricks Café operations will be enhanced by the new structure and facility and both facilities will be symbiotic in their functional and aesthetic relationships.
“The project seeks to attract more visitors to the property, which will, in turn, generate additional revenues and will be a great marketing tool both nationally and internationally”— Paul Schalekamp, finance director, Red Stripe
The site is relatively small so the exhibit will exist on two levels. Access between levels will be via both ramp and staircase both of which are incorporated into the visual journey. Material selection and spatial considerations shall preserve the exhibits/artifacts while also providing an authentic Jamaican texture.
Commenting on the timing of the project especially during the COVID-19 period, the Red Stripe finance director explaining that the project started to take root before the pandemic.
“It is a fantastic project that started to take shape before the pandemic in 2018 and we considered all options in the context of the pandemic. We came to the conclusion that this is actually the perfect moment to construct in preparation for when the world will eventually return to some normalcy and tourists will return to Jamaica in even bigger numbers,” Schalekamp said.
He committed that Red Stripe will be ensuring that the project will remain in full compliance with required COVID-19 protocols during the construction phase pointing out that “the Rick’s Cafe team are great partners, very dedicated and excellent business men with a heart for Jamaica, same as Red Stripe.”