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Cruzan Rum launches disaster relief fund

In response to devastation caused by last year’s Hurricane Maria, Cruzan Rum has launched the Island Spirit Fund to support disaster relief efforts in the US Virgin Islands and across the US.

Cruzan Rum has launched the Island Spirit Fund

The Beam Suntory-owned brand has pledged to donate US$1 from every case of rum sold to the Island Spirit Fund, which will be used to help rebuild communities affected by storms.

The brand expects to raise almost US$1 million for the Island Spirit Fund through its donation scheme this year alone.

Furthermore, several distribution partners have agreed to match Cruzan Rum’s donations, bringing the expected total to US$2m by the end of 2018.

Gary Nelthropp, Cruzan Rum’s master distiller, said: “Last year, our home island of St Croix faced many challenges in the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria, but the resiliency of the Crucian people and our sense of community never wavered.

“That’s what we like to call our ‘island spirit’, and I’m honoured to help extend this spirit to others in a sustainable and ongoing way through the fund, ensuring that no community, near of far, weathers a storm alone.”

To establish the fund, Cruzan Rum has partnered with Global Giving, a non-profit organisation that works to connect donors with grassroots projects around the world.

The Island Spirit Fund will offer disaster relief through grants to local organisations working on the ground in affected areas.

It will prioritise short-term recovery and long-term stability projects, including environmental rebuilding, community planning and workforce development and job creation.

Rashidi Hodari, vice president, marketing, Cruzan Rum, said: “We’re incredibly humbled by the way our distributor partners have stepped up to further our efforts.

“Our roots in the Caribbean run deep and by joining together, we’re able to provide much needed physical and emotional support beyond the initial days, weeks and months following the disaster.”

Cruzan rum was forced to temporarily shut down in 2017 due to damage caused by Hurricane Maria, as was Don Q rum producer Destilería Serrallés, and the Casa Bacardi visitor centre in Puerto Rico.

Earlier this year, SB spoke to some of the biggest Caribbean rum producers to assess the extent of the damage caused by one of the most destructive hurricane seasons on record.

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