The (Haitian) Rum Must Go On!


Guest post by Darragh Worland, originally published on Tonic.

Haiti's best-known export, the century-and-a-half-old rum company Rhum Barbancourt, is back in business after grinding to a halt following the devastating earthquake that hit the island nation on Jan. 12. The company, which produces one of the world's top rums, suffered a $4 million loss when bottles and oak vats -- some 15 years old -- were knocked to the floor and shattered during the quake. But there's good news on the horizon for rum loversThe owner says he expects bottling and shipping to resume by late April or early May, reports The Miami Herald.

"We are ready to recover," general director Thierry Gardère told the Herald. Gardère is the fourth generation to run the family business.

The rum is appreciated among connoisseurs because it is made from hand-cut, locally grown sugar cane juice and not molasses. Just a month before the quake, a newspaper panel voted Barbancourt's 15-year-old Estate Réserve the best of 20 rums, even ahead of Bacardi.

The company sells about $12 million of rum a year, mostly in the US. Barbancourt has some devoted fans, some of whom called for supporters to purchase the rum as a gesture of post-quake solidarity. The brand even has its own Facebook page with over 6,700 fans.

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