- The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association Inc. (WIRSPA) recently organised an educational event about Authentic Caribbean Rum for spirits influencers and journalists from the United States and Canada.
- Guests had the opportunity to see the production of rum from sugar cane through to finished product.
- Twelve brands from the region took advantage of the opportunity to present and taste their finest rum selection with journalists.
June 2015 – Over five days in June, visiting spirits professionals from the US and Canada were introduced to regional rum producers through brand presentations and tastings that showcased the quality, diversity and versatility of rums under the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque. Brand representatives were on hand to talk to journalists about the company and undertake a tutored tasting of their most premium rums.
The event which took place in the Dominican Republic was part of the educational campaign for the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque and brands. 13 opinion leaders from the spirits industry in North America were present to learn about Authentic Caribbean Rum brands and the Marque of quality and provenance and the importance of the rum industry in the socio-economic development of the region.
In addition attendees visited four different rum facilities in the Dominican Republic and Haiti to see sugar cane growing, milling, fermentation, distillation, ageing & blending through to finished product. Perhaps more important though was the opportunity to experience at first hand the culture, history, heritage and artisan passion that goes into producing Authentic Caribbean Rum.
Speaking to local journalists and international press, Chairman of WIRSPA, Dr. Frank Ward spoke of the socio-economic importance of rum to the region. With indirect employment in excess of 100,000 people, around US$550 million in foreign exchange and US$300 million in taxes linked to the industry it is the key agro-industrial sector for governments and provides a critical lifeline for local communities, as many production facilities are located in economically challenged rural areas of our region.
WIRSPA members agreed on the importance of the Authentic Caribbean Rum educational campaign in providing a platform for regional products to access world markets of Europe and North America. According to Dr. Ward, “Our education campaign is at last giving consumers in International markets the opportunity to really understand what we have to offer and recognise that ‘True Rum’ stands comparison with the finest in the better known categories of Cognac and Whisky”. He extended his thanks to CARIFORUM governments for continuing to support this important export sector and to the EU for their financial assistance.
About the ACR Marque
The Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) Marque was developed as a symbol of authenticity, provenance and quality for rums within the WIRSPA family. As usage of the Marque grows it will act as a visual symbol to help trade customers and consumers identify ACR brands, but in the short-term it will be used to promote the development of Authentic Caribbean Rum as a distinct sector within the drinks industry.
For more information visit www.wirspa.com; www.acr-rum.com
About WIRSPA – The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA) is an ‘association of associations’ in that it represents distillers associations from across the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM)*. The current Chairman is Dr. Frank Ward from Barbados.
WIRSPA implements, on behalf of the CARIFORUM group of countries, projects co-funded by the EU  to improve the international competitiveness of the rum industry in the region. One of the outcomes of these initiatives was the creation of the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque.
 European Commission is the EU’s executive body.
“The European Union is made up of 28 Member States who have decided to gradually link together their know-how, resources and destinies. Together, during a period of enlargement of 50 years, they have built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development whilst maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedoms. The European Union is committed to sharing its achievements and its values with countries and peoples beyond its borders”.