west indies rum distillery barbados rum geographical indication

Bailey Pryor and West Indies Rum Distillery

Why Barbados rum cannot accept WIRD proposals

03 March, 2020

“I recently took a tour of WIRD with Gabriel and other members of his staff. During that tour, they allowed me to look at the door to their “archive” which supposedly contains numerous historical documents reinforcing their claims that added sugar, sea water and other ‘innovations’ have always been a part of the WIRD practices. When I asked if I could go inside I was told that only Hassell has a key and not even the employees are allowed inside. The fact is, in more than a year of constant debate, they have never actually shown me a single document that substantiates any of their historical precedent claims about additives and non-standard practices in Barbados.”

Pryor fears that if WIRD is able to continue to brand itself as Barbados rum it could be damaging to the category. 

Pryor adds: “WIRD would be able to increase the price of its bulk rum if the buyers know they can do anything they want to it and still get to call it Barbados rum. They will be able to produce their Plantation Rum with even more added sugar, flavors and misleading age statements, which are far less expensive than just doing it the traditional Barbados way, with no additives and actual long-term aging.

“It seems that Hassell and Gabriel would like to put forth a GI that essentially has no rules and therefore is unenforceable, at the expense of the nation. The other producers have asked them to pause and truly consider their actions because the GI will set the precedent for generations to come. The purpose of the GI is to protect Barbados rum for another 400 years, not provide a few shekels of silver to some very short-sighted people.”

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