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WIRSPA has just completed the implementation of the 2012 – 2017 CARIFORUM Rum Sector Support project.

This project had two main components:

  • A trade education communications campaign for the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) category and Marque which was implemented through an international service contract.
  • Promoting technical collaboration, quality and best practice among eligible producers, as well as supporting and developing the ACR Marque.

In 2010, WIRSPA completed the implementation of a major EU funded project to modernise and revitalise the rum industry in the ACP Caribbean. This was the first time that a private sector organisation had been given the responsibility for managing such a large EU funded Programme.

The Programme provided co-financing for upgrading projects, technical expertise and specialised services to the ACP Caribbean rum sector and stimulated investment of some €108 million by individual producers, of which around €40 million was co-financed by the EU, with producers putting up the remainder.

The objective of the Programme was to support:

  •  the upgrading and modernisation of rum production
  • the improvement of waste management and environmental protection
  • the technical and Management training
  • the marketing and distribution of value-added rums
  • the creation of a Caribbean Rum Marque
  • the strengthening and deepening of the industry association

Total funding provided by the EU was €58 million to include support for the investments outlined above, expansion of the industry association, development of an identifying ‘marque’ for products from the region and a marketing campaign to support it.


Project indicators were defined at two levels – overall impact (social and economic) and at the sector level, including producer and project impacts (efficiency improvements, environmental management). Overall economic impact and industry data was collected by WIRSPA. Project indicators related to project activities and outputs were collected throughout the life of the projects.

Both programmes were highly rated by independent evaluators and monitors in relation to relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact. Both achieved virtually all target indicators and are generally viewed as an international best practice example of private sector management of public funds.

However, a number of critical investment projects remained incomplete at the defined time limit for programme completion resulting in the industry not being able to make full use of the programme funding. The establishment of the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque and its communications campaign, initially destined for a 6-8 year time frame, was only operational for some 22 months.