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Public Statement on Defining Rum Regulation and GIs in WIRSPA Member Countries

Public Statement On Defining Rum Regulation And GIs In WIRSPA Member Countries

WIRSPA’s member organization and producers are aware of online debates in the enthusiast community regarding rum regulations. In particular the development of Geographical Indications in two WIRSPA member countries – Jamaica and Barbados.

Our WIRSPA grouping, comprising distillers and brands from all rum producing countries in CARIFORUM, endorses the sovereign right of individual countries (and producers in those countries) to create national regulation beyond the basic rum standards which currently exist[1]. We recognise that it is national governments working through their intellectual property offices and in concert with local producers, who must define the national position.

We also believe these national debates are characterised by democratic principles, full inclusion and respect for all parties involved, and we abhor efforts to present them as otherwise on social media.  We are confident that these discussions will continue to promote the core values of our brands as authentic, diverse and true to origin. WIRSPA has worked closely with our governments to promote these elements over many decades.

Some of these debates have sought to focus on the nationality of the parties involved. The WIRSPA representatives of all member countries unanimously state that we are an open region, with substantial international investment in the industry. This investment has been very positive for rum, deepened the provenance of our brands and strengthened our brand building efforts. Moreover, our rums continue to be made by Caribbean master distillers and blenders and their support teams.

Despite differences of opinion and views by individual producers, we steadfastly assert our core objective which is to build strong globally competitive brands underpinned by authenticity and origin. We will do so as a group and condemn any characterisation seeking to divide our shared goals.

WIRSPA, December 2019

As represented by:
Antigua & Barbuda: Anthony Bento, Managing Director Antigua Distillery Ltd.
Barbados: Raphael Grisoni, Rep. of the Barbados Rum Distillers Committee and Managing Director of Mount Gay Distilleries
Belize: Amanda Perdomo, Traveller Liquors
Dominica: Clifton Shillingford, Shillingford Estates
Dominican Republic: Mario Pujols, Executive Director of the Association of Dominican Rum Producers (ADOPRON)
Grenada: Fred Antoine, representing the Rum & Spirits Producers of Grenada and General Manager of Grenada Distillers ltd.
Guyana: Komal Samaroo, Executive Chairman of Demerara Distillers
Haiti: Jean Marc Gardere, General Manager of Barbancourt SRL
Jamaica: Clement Lawrence, Rep. of the Jamaica rum & Spirits Trade Association and Chairman of J. Wray & Nephew Ltd.
St. Lucia: Margaret Monplaisir, Managing Director of St. Lucia Distilleries Ltd.
St. Vincent & the Grenadines: Kenrick Greaves, Managing Director of St. Vincent Distillers
Trinidad: Ian Forbes, CEO (Ag), Angostura ltd.


[1] For the CARICOM countries the standard is the CARICOM Rum Standard, CRS 25/2008; for the Dominican Republic the standard is Nordom 477/2016.