Above: USVI Governor John de Jongh (right) and David Gosnell, Diageo’s president of Global Supply
By the Caribbean Journal staff
US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh accepted the first case of locally-produced Captain Morgan Rum, following Diageo’s decision to build a distillery in St Croix which opened in 2010.
Captain Morgan had for some time been produced at a third-party distillery in Puerto Rico. The decision to move to St Croix did not escape controversy in Puerto Rico.
“More than three years ago, we overcame an unprecedented amount of opposition from elements within our territory, and those outside our shores, to succeed in creating this public partnership,” de Jongh said. “I am proud my administration and the leadership of Diageo stayed the course through the process, and now the landmark deal is beginning to bear fruit, or, more specifically, spiced rum.”
The Captain Morgan brand is the second-highest-selling rum in the world. It signed a 30-year commitment to St Croix in a deal negotiated by de Jongh.
“In this difficult economic time for the people of the Virgin Islands and St Croix, in particular, this first case of locally-produced Captain Morgan Rum represents some sorely-needed good news for this territory’s economy, and is a reassurance to all Virgin Islanders that even as we face the impact of the global economic downturn, we have laid the groundwork for our future prosperity,” de Jongh said.
David Gosnell, parent company Diageo’s president of Global Supply, told de Jongh that production was now in full swing at the distillery, and a million cases of Captain Morgan would be ready for distribution by the end of the month.
The distillery has a production capacity of 20 million proof gallons of rum each year — all the bulk rum used to make Captain Morgan-branded products in the US.