Still Life: Saint Lucia Distillers

Every few months, a tanker ship pulls into Saint Lucia’s Roseau Bay, and anchors. A diver drops into the water and attaches an 8-inch flexible hose to the ship. The hose is connected to a 12-inch pipeline that runs for 194 meters underwater before hitting land and popping up in the middle of a beach and continuing overland for just over a kilometer. Eventually the pipe connects to one of several gigantic tanks.

For the next several hours, thick black liquid flows from the ship to the tank—liquid that is vital to the site’s operation. Not oil, but rather molasses: Since Saint Lucia no longer grows enough sugar to make any appreciable amount of molasses on the island, this undersea dance is how the island’s one distillery– St. Lucia Distillers – receives its vital feedstock.

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Jamaica’s Long Pond Rum Distillery Damaged by Fire

According to the Jamaica Observer, Jamaica’s Long Pond rum distillery has been severely hobbled by a fire. The historic distillery, known for its classic pot stilled Jamaican rums adjoins a sugar cane factory and cane fields. Reports are that a fire in the cane field spread to bagasse (dried cane plant mass) and eventually to buildings holding tanks of rum and the fermentation area. Luckily, no one was hurt.

UPDATE: 7/25/2018 – See end of story for updated information from Ferrand. What immediately follows here is the original story.

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Inside Cognac’s Tonnellerie Taransaud

Visitors to Maison Ferrand in France’s Cognac region are usually astonished to come face-to-face with a polished wooden egg, easily big enough to hold a full-sized adult. Now, if you’re old enough to recall the 1970s sitcom staple Mork & Mindy, you know that Mork (Robin Williams) arrived on earth nestled within a giant white egg. However, Ferrand’s wooden egg holds something very different, and it’s not alone. A few kilometers up the road, another egg greets visitor in the lobby of Tonnellerie Taransaud, one of the many cooperages – tonnelleries –operating in the region.

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Lost Spirits Jamaica Rum: First Look

Longtime readers of this site know well that mad scientist Bryan Davis and his Lost Spirits distillery supply a steady stream of newsworthy stories to this little corner of the blogosphere. From a radical hyper-speed aging reactor (dubbed “THEA”), to an ambitious plan to license reactors to other distilleries, abandoning that, and moving operations to Los Angeles to create an ever-evolving “distillery as theme park,” Bryan has kept everyone guessing as to what’s coming next. It’s never predictable, frequently controversial, and always entertaining.

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The Cocktail Wonk Top Ten Stories of 2017

As 2017 draws nigh, it’s time for the traditional year end wrap-up, summarizing the highlights of what appeared here over the last 12 months. Some of what follows could be called self-indulgent navel-gazing; reflections on how my writing has evolved. But I contend there’s also value to you, the reader – it provides a broader context for what the site has become. And who knows, you might have missed a relevant post as the world speeds by.

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Long Pond Returns! Jamaica’s Historic Rum Distillery Resumes Operation

As a confirmed Jamaican rum “dunderhead,” I obsessively track every snippet of news regarding the island’s rum industry. So it was with great joy that I learned about a year ago that the Long Pond Distillery was gearing up to resume operations after a several year hiatus.

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