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Diageo opens new rum distillery in St Croix

DBR Staff Writer Published 24 November 2010

Diageo USVI, the Virgin Islands' rum distiller of Diageo, an international wine and spirits producer, has opened its rum distillery in St Croix that will produce rum for the Captain Morgan brand in the US.

The rum maker also said that it will invest $5m to build a visitor center at the distillery which is located at the Renaissance Park development on St Croix.

Diageo CEO Paul Walsh said that the company will construct the first ever Captain Morgan visitor center onsite, adjacent to the distillery. The center is slated for completion just in time for the distillery's first rum shipment in early 2012.

Walsh said that it is difficult to overstate the strategic importance of the partnership they have made with the USVI, and what it will mean for the future success of Captain Morgan.

"The imagination and positive intent demonstrated by Governor deJongh and his colleagues to make this happen have been exemplary, and I want to recognize that. Diageo is committed to being a long-term member of the USVI community," Walsh added.

Three time capsules were also buried on the distillery site, and will be opened ten, twenty, and thirty years from today.

Diageo global supply and global procurement president David Gosnell said that this is an important milestone for Diageo USVI, for the US Virgin Islands, and for the people of St Croix.

Construction of the 20 million proof gallon rum distillery began in August 2009. Diageo USVI has committed that at least 80% of the full-time employees at the distillery will be from the USVI, and the company has created more than 60 full-time jobs to support the operation and management of the distillery.

The distillery was constructed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification principles. Some of the ecological and environmental controls incorporated in the design include a closed-loop water system that will eliminate the need for any washwater disposal into the nearby Caribbean Sea.