October saw the holding of the second Caribbean Distilling Seminar, this time in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The event, which was held for its second consecutive year, from 7th to 11th October 2019, was a joint effort between the West Indies Rum & Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA), Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits (LBDS) and the Dominican Rum Producers Association (ADOPRON).
The Distilling Seminar, modelled on the Ethanol Technology Institute’s (educational arm of LBDS) successful Alcohol School of 38 years, saw over 120 persons from regional and international rum distilleries benefiting from the expertise and experience of specialists in spirits distillation from the Caribbean, North America and Europe. They presented on a wide range of topics relating to the production of spirits, with a particular focus on rum. Aside from management and staff of some 14 WIRSPA member-producers, participants also hailed from the French Caribbean, Central and South America, North America and Europe.
The school was preceded by WIRSPA Supplier Showcase, which also provided producers with the ability to network with suppliers of good and services relevant to the industry. As part of the seminar agenda, participants visited Ron Barceló’s ageing and blending facility, and Alcoholes Finos Dominicanos, a new greenfield distillery which makes its rum directly from sugarcane grown on 4,500 hectares surrounding the distillery.
“We are proud to host this international event for the first time in the Dominican Republic this year,” said Augusto Ramírez, president of ADOPRON and Casa Brugal. “We have a great story to tell about rum and we also welcome all visitors to our first-class facilities,” he said.
Speaking at the formal opening of the school, Angus Ballard, President of Lallemand Biofuels, said it was a pleasure to be in the Dominican Republic, a country whose brands were perhaps some of the best known from the Caribbean. He thanked WIRSPA for their support and the local industry association ADOPRON for their welcome and hospitality.
Vaughn Renwick, CEO of WIRSPA said, “the Distilling Seminar is not only a very valuable learning experience, the exposure to international experts and the networking with peers is of inestimable value. We have a lot to learn from each other.”
According to WIRSPA Chairman, Komal Samaroo, who also heads Demerara Distillers Ltd., the grouping’s educational initiatives support the growth of internationally competitive products and benefit large and small producers alike, “the gathering of regional and international distillers and other spirits specialists in one place, as is done for this event, is perhaps unparalleled internationally.”