Mark Reynier has kicked off production at his US$25 million distillery in Grenada, which will make “terroir-driven rum”.
Reynier, the former managing director of Islay’s Bruichladdich distillery, first announced his move into rum in July 2018. The new Renegade Rum Distillery is located near Pearl, on the north eastern side of the Windward Island. On 21 September 2020 the site began making Renegade Rum.
“I started planning the project in June 2015 after an initial exploratory trip to the island,” said Reynier, CEO of Renegade Spirits. “Immediately I felt this was the right home for Renegade after a fruitless 10-year search.
“It has been a veritable rollercoaster of a ride since then and several times I was on the point of giving up – frustrated by the lack of progress, dead ends and delays. Several times I wondered whether I had bitten off more than I could chew.
“We had the chance to make something really special here, with the latest thinking, drawing on our distilling experience from Scotland and Ireland to support the unique underpinning Renegade philosophy: rum defined by Grenada’s geology, farm by farm, field by field.”
The site is said to be the “first of its scale to have been designed from the ground up for terroir-bred sugar cane”. The distillery will use “cutting-edge” still design and digital logistics, as well as technology that provides air filtration and water purification of waste streams.
Reynier seeks to make the “world’s most profound rum” by extracting flavours from Grenada’s sugar cane grown on different soils across the island.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the distillery’s team had to commission its equipment under remote guidance. Components such as the mill, horizontal fermenters and pot and column stills came from 10 different countries.
Reynier added: “Unusually this project has been both back to front and upside down: first we had to propagate cane where none existed to prove it was worthwhile building a distillery; then we had to design it backwards, from the end waste streams back to the incoming cane.
“Now we have a landmark, state-of-the-art-distillery, the envy of the industry, built and run by Grenadians to use Grenadian cane – the veritable spirit of Grenada. After all the blood, tears, sweat of determination and technical ingenuity – not to mention a global pandemic – we are delighted that the Renegade Rum Distillery is alive.”
Reynier also runs the Waterford Distillery in Ireland, which revealed its first commercial Irish whiskey series in May this year.
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Author: Nicola Carruthers