Prime Minister, Dr the Rt Hon. Keith Mitchell has welcomed the start of construction of Renegade Rum Distillery, a project expected to create jobs for more than 150 persons.
Turning the sod during a ceremony in Conference, St Andrew on Friday, 20 July Dr Mitchell described the project as historic. “It sends an important signal about the development of the rural economy. When a project like this comes to a rural community, it sends a message that there is good potential and the spinoff activities will be enormous. This project is good for the agricultural sector and for growth in the area.”
The Renegade Rum Distillery is a unique project which developers describe as a game-changer. The distillery will utilise only locally grown cane to create premium rums featuring distinct flavours based on the 8 varieties of cane produced. The distillery will also be environmentally friendly, using the bagasse to generate 80% of its electricity needs.
Project developer and CEO of Renegade Rum, Mark Reynier revealed that the overall cost of the project, inclusive of cultivation and plant operations is US$40 million, with US$20 million of that being invested specifically in the distillery.
With 200 acres of cane already planted to facilitate production when the distillery becomes operational in 2019, Dr Mitchell said the project is not just about agriculture, but about linkages to the tourism industry and the diversification of the local economy.
Friday’s ceremony was also attended by Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Hon. Yolande Bain-Horsford and Minister for Youth Development, Sports, Culture and the Arts, Hon. Kate Lewis, who is also the Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew North East.