Groupe Bernard Hayot buys Saint Lucia DistillersBy Amy Hopkins
Martinique-based Groupe Bernard Hayot (GBH) has acquired Chairman’s Reserve rum producer Saint Lucia Distillers Group of Companies (SLD) for an undisclosed sum.
The acquisition will expand SLD’s rum portfolio with the addition of rhum agricole brands made from sugarcane juice to the company’s traditional range of rums made from molasses.
GBH plans to embark upon an “aggressive” investment programme to improves SLD’s production facilities, ageing cellars and the building of a “remarkable” visitors’ centre to cater for more than one million visitors who head to Saint Lucia each year.
“I am delighted to have a new owner who sees the potential in our portfolio, our people, and in Saint Lucia,” said Margaret Monplaisir, managing director of Saint Lucia Distillers. “There is genuine excitement to see a strong company from a neighbouring island initiate a plan to preserve and develop our company’s culture and brands, both locally as well as on the international rum stage.”
SLD will keep its current management and staff structures, and GBH intends to improve and develop the relationships between SLD and importers and distributors.
The GBH spirits division will work to develop new markets through current distributors for Bounty Rum, Chairman’s Reserve, Admiral Rodney and 1931.
“There has never been a more interesting period in the history of rum,” added Gregoire Gueden, managing director of the GBH Spirit Division. “The premium and super-premium rum categories are growing with increased momentum internationally and it is our ambition to become a key player in these market segments.
“This move is recognised as a natural progression of GBH’s business activities, which aims to be the world’s specialists in premium rum.
“Given the close proximity of Martinique and Saint Lucia, and the similarity of our heritage, philosophies and cultural roots, the SLD opportunity was one not to be passed up by GBH.
“We admire the variety of rums St Lucia Distillers has been making and we hold their methods and craft in high regard. We intend to be the global leader in premium rum, an exciting spirits category poised for immense growth.”