Diageo has announced plans to build a 20 million proof gallon rum distillery in St Croix.
The company’s local operating company in the US Virgin Islands Diageo USVI, has selected a parcel of land, approximately 26 acres, in St. Croix to build a modern, environmentally sound distillery. The new facility will begin to produce rum in 2011. Beginning in 2012, the distillery will supply all rum used to make Captain Morgan branded products for the United States.
Diageo has signed a long-term lease agreement for an 11-year term with five 10-year renewal options with the St. Croix Renaissance Group LLLP (SCRG). The land parcel is an undeveloped section of property located east of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on a portion of the industrially zoned 1,244 acres of Renaissance Park.
“Pending litigation in the case of Florida based Bennington Foods (BG, d/b/a Bennington Group) vs. St. Croix Renaissance Group (SCRG) will have no impact whatsoever on Diageo USVI’s plans to build and operate a rum distillery on the currently undeveloped property owned by SCRG in St. Croix,” said Kellye Walker, President of Diageo USVI Inc.
Virgin Islands Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. said: “Diageo has submitted to the Coastal Zone Management Commission plans that reflect the highest environmental standards. The litigation issue has no bearing on this project, or our collective commitment to the project.”
The distillery will be constructed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification principles and features include a closed-loop water system, organic solids reclamation and storm water best management practices.
The lease agreement follows Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. and Diageo USVI’s joint announcement last June and subsequent legislative ratification of a public-private initiative for the construction and operation of a high capacity distillery on St. Croix.