Photo: As Captain Morgan Leaves, Puerto Rico is Hoping to Keep the Rum Business Going With New Distillery
Near San Juan, Puerto Rico, a former pharmaceutical plant is being transformed into a rum distillery in hopes of helping the economy recover from the loss of Captain Morgan rum.
The new distillery is being developed by Club Caribe Distillers LLC, a local bottler of Coca-Cola, and agreements to produce rum in bulk for third parties has already been made. However, the company is also looking to break into the U.S. market with new products: a white rum called Club Caribe, a spiced rum called Black Roberts, and Ron Carlos, a dark rum.
“We see a great opportunity to increase the demand for local rum in the United States,” said Alberto Rivera, senior vice president and principal finance officer for Club Caribe.
When at full capacity, the plant should be able to produce 10 millions gallons of rum per year, though as part of the 20-year deal, only 2 million gallons of rum will be produced in the plant’s first year. It is scheduled to be opened in early 2012.
Club Caribe is expected to employ 25 people and invest $10 million in machinery and equipment in the former GlaxoSmithKline building. In the first year, it is believed the plant’s production will eventually generate $20 million in revenue for the island.
As Captain Morgan leaves the island, the U.S. commonwealth is expected to lose $140 million in. The rum producer is moving “next door”, to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The rum industry has created 4,500 direct and indirect jobs. It also provides the government with around $400 million annually in rum rebate revenue.
The new distillery is located in the mountain town of Cidra, Puerto Rico.