St. Lucia Distillers

St Lucia Distillers

The small Caribbean island of St. Lucia was once home to 75 rum-producing estates but following the crash of the sugarcane industry in the late 1800s, only two remained. St. Lucia Distillers was founded in 1972 after the merging of those last two estates and continues to produce stellar rums in the island’s historical style in the agriculturally rich valley of Roseau.

Utilizing a variety of production methods found throughout the Caribbean, St. Lucia Distillers crafts distinctly St. Lucian rums from a seemingly endless number of variables. Though the distillery primarily works with molasses sourced from Bonsucro-certified suppliers, a small amount of sugarcane (15 acres of blue and green cane) is still grown on the island and used in cane juice rum production.

Depending on the marque, molasses fermentation lasts 24–36 hours in open concrete tanks and employs one of two proprietary yeast strains; cane juice ferments use a combination of wild and proprietary yeasts. Four different stills—including two John Dore copper pot stills, a Vendome copper hybrid still, and a Coffey twin column still—allow St. Lucia Distillers to produce eight unique marques. The distillery uses water from the nearby Roseau River as well as harvested rainwater and, if need be, a reserve pond owned by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Chairman’s Reserve was first blended in 1999, overseen by then-chairman Laurie Barnard. A blend of column and pot distilled rums, the line features some of St Lucia’s most beloved spirits. It’s been said that Barnard didn’t distill for money but simply to make good rum, and that passion echoes through each expression of Chairman’s Reserve.