caribbean grenada gin

The Caribbean’s Newest Gin Comes Right From the Beach in Grenada

By: Tim Cotroneo - September 4, 2020

In 2010, Jim Jardine decided it was time to slow the pace of his hectic life as software development professional in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Of all the options laying before him, owning a gin distillery on the Caribbean island of Grenada was far off his radar.

After traveling 4,000 miles to plant roots in Grenada, Jardine found that the spice rich island was teaming with the botanicals necessary to make a new kind of gin. Around the same time Jardine nailed down the ingredients for his first batch, he met Aaron Salyer, a former Australian Coastal Engineer turned sailing aficionado and digital marketing whiz.

In 2018, Jardine and Salyer’s Blue Light Caribbean Gin launched on the grounds of Grenada’s Le Phare Bleu eco-resort. The resort’s oceanfront setting is the picturesque home to Blue Light’s world headquarters, a 500-square-foot-distillery. The site is also where you’ll find a floating bar in the form of 120-year-old blue lightship. The lightship serves as the fitting inspiration for “Blue Light Caribbean” brand.

Gin – The Fruits of Your Labor

When Jardine and his wife Stephanie arrived in Grenada in 2010, he was astounded by the abundance of fruit and botanicals growing on the island. Coconut, guava, ginger, mango, oranges, papaya, passionfruit, plantains, starfruit, and tamarind were everywhere.

Jardine got the okay from the Grenada government to move forward on building a juice factory, as well as cultivating a network of fruit farmers. Summer Juice Ltd. began servicing the island’s bars, restaurants, and hotels with an array of homegrown juices.

Ever the business dreamer, about seven years into his juice enterprise, Jardine started playing with the idea of converting one of his juice holding tanks into a still after inadvertently creating a batch of fermented juice from local oranges. This time, Jardine decided that when life gives you fruit, you make gin.

The feedback Jardine received on the scent and taste of his original orange flavored gin consistently included comments like, “this is something I’ve never tasted before.”

Jardine felt his gin recipe had potential. That’s when he joined forces with Salyer, and the duo began marketing Blue Light Caribbean Gin while hoping their new spirt could also bolster one of Grenada’s most precious resources.

caribbean grenada gin
Le Phare Bleu.

A Passion for the Blue

One of the main reasons Jardine and Salyer were drawn to Grenada was the island’s amazing coral reef. The business partners believed that Blue Light Caribbean Gin would not only provide islanders, sailors and vacationers with classic Caribbean cocktails, their business could also help protect Grenada’s reef and beaches.

A portion of Blue Light Caribbean profits go toward beach cleanups, the preservation of mangroves, and projects dedicated to marine and coral reef protection. One of their headliners that funds these projects is a blue gin that turns purple.

The Blue Ocean Edition Gin includes a secret ingredient. By adding a locally grown flower called the Butterfly Pea to their recipe, their gin turns blue in color. If you add tonic, lime, or grapefruit to your cocktail, the color turns purple or violet. The unique Blue Ocean Edition has become a huge hit at distillery tours, boat parties, and happy hours.

Sniff the Scent of Success

Happily, The Blue Light Gin distillery is now woven into the fabric of Grenada island life. Vacationers are drawn to the scents emanating from the Blue Light still throughout the day.

“With all the different botanicals we use, what’s interesting is that the morning aroma from our still is different from that in the afternoon. We’ve even set up sniffing stations to experience the different botanicals and sample our various gins. The distillery is a fun, quirky and casual vibe, like island life itself” Jardine said.

During the 2020 year of COVID, Jardine and Salyer have needed to ratchet their already creative business plan up a notch. Along with two other Grenada distilleries, Blue Light Caribbean has created a hand sanitizer to address the shortage for island residents.

Dancing in the Blue Light

Since relocating to Grenada, adapting to island life means not taking oneself too seriously. On his LinkedIn profile, Jardine describes his position as Blue Light’s Chief Bottle Washer. Salyer is shirtless on the About Us page of the company website. On the wall of their distillery visitors will find a sign that reads, “Trust me, you can dance.” This message is signed: Gin.

For Grenada’s resident computer geek and a relocated coastal engineer, you never know how or where their next version of the Caribbean Dream may appear. For now, it’s all-hands-on-deck promoting their line of gin and encouraging the preservation of Grenada’s pristine coral reef.

If you’ve never tried a gin cocktail that turns blue, purple, or pink, you’ll need to make Grenada your next Caribbean vacation.

Jim Jardine and Aaron Salyer look forward to sharing the fruits of their labor and pouring a special gin cocktail that’s like “something you’ve never tasted before.”

Popular Posts all-inclusive montego bay resort by marriott

Marriott Just Opened Its New All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay 

Marriott has continued its rapid expansion into the Caribbean all-inclusive space with the debut of its newest adults-only resort in Montego Bay: the new Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort.  The 352-room resort is part of […]

Yes, You Can Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort in St Thomas, USVI

the beach at the bolongo bay resort

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas may be the most popular all-inclusive resort you’ve never heard of. It’s not that the resort itself isn’t well-known: this family-run and managed, beach resort has been in business since 1974. But […]

The 15 Best Spa Resorts in the Caribbean

como parrot cay

Resort spas have become almost as common as fitness centers on amenity lists, but while it’s simple enough to carve out some space for a few treatment rooms, there are some spas that offer a true “experience” to go along […]

Related Posts belize american airlines daily

JetBlue Is Launching Its First-Ever Belize Flights Next Month

JetBlue is now flying to a new destination: the rainforest-filled, reef-lined, beach-covered hotspot of Belize.  The increasingly popular getaway on the Caribbean coast of Mexico will soon be served by nonstop service from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.  […]

American Airlines Is Adding More Flights to Barbados, Anguilla 

a beach at the sea breeze in barbados

American Airlines is planning another major expansion of service to the wider Caribbean next summer, with plans for a wave of new daily flights to destinations like Anguilla and Barbados.  It’s another reminder that the Caribbean has become a true […]

Frontier Airlines Just Restarted This Nonstop Flight to Cancun 

riu cancun

Another day, another Frontier Airlines flight to Cancun. The fast-growing carrier has restarted another nonstop route to the Mexican Caribbean hotspot, this time with daily nonstop service from Detroit.  Detroit-Cancun flights are now operating once every day, with intro fares […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You