SAINT Lucia Distillers Company in Roseau Valley was a hive of activities on Tuesday 24th July 2018 as close to fifty Shop Stewards from a number of business houses around the island who are members of the National Workers Union paid a courtesy educational familiazation visit to the company.
Margaret Monplaisir – Managing Director welcomed the group and also extended SLD warmth. She reminded the group of the SDL “Mission Statement”: St. Lucia Distillers is committed to the highest standards of rum making and continually innovates to stay at the cutting edge of the spirits industry. We treat our customers and employees with integrity and care and respect the environment.
The shop stewards had a firsthand look and experience of both the interior and exterior of the plant as to the day to day runnings of the multi award winning company, as they were taken on a tour/site visit by Andre Winter – Distillery Manager and Ian John – Assistant Distillery Manager.
The company has won a total of 163 medals and commendations which include 3 Trophies – Spirit of the Year, 3 Trophies – Best Rum, 9 – Double Gold Medals, 79 – Gold Medals, 68 – Silver Medals, 37 – Bronze Medals, 3 – Commendations.
Quality Assurance Coordinator / Laboratory Supervisor Roger Miller spoke highly about the 1931 rum (2nd Edition) during a video presentation when he said, “The casks selected for the second edition of 1931 was put down in 2004, 2005 and 2006. These include casks containing 100% Coffey Still distillates matured in a combination of American white oak casks and port casks”.
According to Miller, they selected casks with 100% Pot Still and 50/50 blends of Pot/Coffey Still aged in American white oak. The blend was assembled and then placed back into American white oak casks for a period of three months for a final marriage before being bottled.
“We have preserved the integrity of 1931 by using light filtration methods. As a result, 1931 may throw harmless sediment that is perfectly natural”. He noted.
Apart from a practical, sensory demonstration of the nature of rum distillers and aged casks rums manufactured by Saint Lucia Distillers Limited, the pictorial presentation highlighted the history of Saint Lucian Rum making. The interactive style offering achieved its goals by demonstrating the artistry and rich heritage of Saint Lucian Rum from raw materials through to the finish products.
Ian John – Assistant Distillery Manager who is responsible for fermentation and distillation explained that two raw materials are used, sugar cane juice and molasses ,to produce alcohol which are stored in barrels and then used to make rum such as Chairman’s Reserve, Bounty and 1931.
He said, “We are in the business of making premier rum which is one of the best in the world, we strive in every aspect of what we do to inculcate quality and passion, this is reflected in some of the blends we produce”.
Norma Maynard, Coordinator – Education and Secretarial Activities, National Workers Union, who spoke to the VOICE about the one day educational experience at the SLDL said, “With this kind of activity what we are trying to do is develop relationships between the different branches; we need our members to know what the other branches do; we need to develop inter branch solidarity, and we need them to establish relations with other members”
“Apart from the orientation and grievance seminar we had recently, we decided to bring that last group together in another kind of session so they can understand what the process is that are involved in a company like Saint Lucia Distillers”.
Maynard was pretty satisfied with the outcome as the Shop Stewards were taken all around from the point of the growing of the sugar cane, and how the sugar cane is processed. They were taken through the different areas of the company to see where different operations take place.
What’s next for this group? Maynard is hoping this group of shop stewards will develop more skills as to what is it they have learnt and also in terms of grievance handling.
She said, “We are hoping they will meet and support each other and develop a linkage between their different branches”.
“Our Congress is coming up soon (October) and we are looking forward to developing a new level of participation within the overall structure of the organization. We want to develop skills in them and empower them, so when it comes to leadership roles within the Union they will not feel that they are left out and they will feel they are participating to push themselves forward to be able to represent the Union at a higher level”. She noted.