Here is list of companies whose rum bottle labels I have in my collection:
In 1893, the total area of Jamaica under sugar cane production was 31,555 acres. About 88% of this belonged to sugar estates which operated their own mills and distilleries. In total, there were 148 distilleries throughout the island. Since then there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of estates and distilleries although the quantity of rum produced has grown.
|Some Early Production Figures from Distilleries in Jamaican Parishes|
|St Mary||4||35280||-||-||-||-||-||-||1||31240||1||EtOH only|
The Jamaican Excise Duty Law, No 73 of 1941 defined rum as "spirits distilled solely from sugar cane juice, sugar cane molasses, or the refuse of the sugar cane, at a strength not exceeding 150% proof spirit".
"Think of high-ester rum as a concentrate," Main Rum Company’s Ben Cross told me. He went on to explain that it was created at the Vale Royal Distillery in the early twentieth century by Jamaica's government chemist, Dr. H. Cousins, as a way of maintaining Jamaica's rum trade with Germany. The German government had slapped an ad valorem tax on rum in order to protect its domestic spirits industry. Dr. Cousins' solution was to produce an ultraconcentrated rum which, when added in small quantities to German-made neutral spirit, resulted in a rum-flavored drink known as Rumverschnitt.
The process starts with an ultra-long ferment, which can be anything between five days and two weeks long. Stretching a ferment in this way will result in an acidic wash containing around 500 esters.
The industry developed under British influence along with Barbados. An author, AC Barnes, writing in Sugar Cane in 1964 about 19 century distillation methods said "The whole process was in the charge of a distiller upon whose experience and skill, entirely unaided by any scientific knowledge or chemical control, the success of the distillery depended. He tolerated no interference, was highly suspicious of any attempted innovation, and jealously guarded the secrets of his mysterious procedures, only imparting any of his knowledge to an apprentice selected by him who paid a substantial fee to be allowed to learn something of the intricacies of distillery operation. When fermentation was sluggish, a dead animal, a large piece of meat or some other fancied corrective would be pitched into the offending vat."
The best Jamaica distillers had, by the end of the 19th century, taken over from the Barbadians as the top rum producers. In fact, by then, sugar making in Jamaica had become a by-product of rum production rather than the other way around, as was typical. In 1945, Seagram's of Canada founded Captain Morgan Rum Distillers. They began as blenders, but eventually bought the Long Pond sugar estate and rum distillery.
The Spirits Pool Association Ltd. was established in 1932 to promote the interests of Jamaican Rums. The association is owned by all the distilleries. These include Appleton, nestled in the Nassau valley in St. Elizabeth and New Yarmouth in the plains of Clarendon. Both these distilleries are owned and operated by Wray & Nephew.
Long Pond in Trelawny and Clarendon Distillers on the Vere Plains are owned and operated by the Government of Jamaica through National Rums. Hampden, the most traditional of all the distilleries is also located in Trelawny and can produce rums of over 2500 esters.
Jamaica has produced traditional rums in Pot Stills since the 17th century. We also use the new Light Column Stills, the most modern type of rum still.
Jamaica produces the widest varieties of rum in the world, from the very light low ester rums, to the heavy, traditional continental-flavoured rums. Jamaica has the capacity to produce up to 50 million litres of rum annually.