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Mount Gay Rum now a household name

1/13/2013

Mount Gay rum is now a household name thanks to the efforts of Aubrey Fitzosbert Ward and John Huston.

This is according to Linda Bowen, who delivered a lecture on “The History of Mount Gay Rum and the Ward Family” at the Barbados Museum and Historical Society (BMHS) recently.

“The two partners A.F. and John F. went on to male Mount Gay Rum a household, national and international product. Just as cricket, Rihanna and tourism have put Barbados on the map today; Mount Gay Rum brought recognition to Barbados in the first half of the 20th century.”

This Rum also became popular across the globe. “By 1950, Mount Gay Rum was sold in over 20 countries apart from Barbados. Today it is sold in approximately 110 countries including Australia and Japan. Locally, it is sold in all of the approximately 1100 rum shops existing on the island.”

The sugar plantations owned by the Ward family and their descendants – of which Bowen is a member of - produced the molasses required for the production of this Rum. This means that there was no need to import this vital ingredient or purchase it from any other local producer, she stated.

In addition, the family continues to incorporate the same methods of yesteryear. “The production of Mount Gay Rum in the early 20th century is much the same as it is today with the exception of the fact that a ‘new’ continuous still is used in addition to the old pot still which dates back to pre 1918 and is still in use.”

However, the Wards did more than just own and operate sugar plantations. They were involved in other business endeavours as well, said Bowen.

“Mount Gay Rum and the Rum Refinery of Mount Gay remain as significant monuments on the Barbadian landscape. The Wards were not only involved in agriculture and the production of Mount Gay Rum. Aubrey, A.F. was one of the founder members of Plantations Limited, a company which in the early years of its existence gave credit to planters and sold lumber and hardware items to the general public. Plantations Limited went on to acquire other businesses such as supermarkets and sugar estates before its demise in the late 1980’s and 1990’s.” (PJT)

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