The Rum is the traditional alcoholic beverage in Guadeloupe Archipelago . The establishment of the rum’s industry in the archipelago dates from few centuries ago. First of all, let’s find out more about the beginning.
The sugar cane is the main agricultural activity in Guadeloupe Archipelago and was introduced there in 1638. The sugar and the rum are extracted from this sugar cane.
Father Labat considerably enhanced the manufacturing process in the French West Indies in 1694. As a result, this year is also the starting point of the rum industry growth, reaching its best in 1939. At this time there were 55 distilleries throughout the archipelago.
Today, the sugar cane production is a significant industry in Guadeloupe Archipelago. Therefore, the manufacture includes two types of rums:
- Rhum Agricole out of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice
- Rhum Industriel out of molasses (a byproduct of sugar refining)
Even though the number have tremendously dropped over the years, at the moment there are 9 distilleries nationwide offering tours and tastings.
But most importantly, the rum production has multiple stages: they pick, wash, crush and filter the sugar cane.
Once you have the sugar cane juice, there is the fermentation, the distillation and also the alcohol content adjustment.
Finally, the last step is the bottling or ageing in oak barrels which can radically alters the character of the liquor.
Rum: Part of the Cultural Heritage
In Guadeloupe Archipelago, the rum is part of the cultural heritage. Consequently, aged, white, and boxes of rums are available in most groceries shops. Whether to warm up discussions between friends or to celebrate any kind of celebration, drinking this alcoholic beverage is a traditional custom.
The local aperitif Ti-punch (lime, rum and sugar cane) is a popular drink. Similarly, it can be mixed with tropical fruits in cocktails, liqueurs or punch as well.
Associated with other plants, the spirit also has medicinal properties.
The Rum in Guadeloupe archipelago is so flavourful that, it is often listed as one of the best destinations to enjoy it.
Lastly, the 9 distilleries are currently using centuries-old traditions in the distillation technique, offering multi-awarded labels.
In Basse-Terre Island you will find:
- Bologne distillery in Basse-Terre Township for Rhum Bologne
- Longueteau distillery in Capesterre Belle Eau Township for Rhum Longueteau and Rhum Karukera
- Carrere distillery in Petit-Bourg Township for Rhum Montebello
- Domaine de Severin distillery in Sainte-Rose Township for Rhum Séverin
- Reimonenq distillery (where the rum museum is located) in Sainte-Rose Township for Rhum Coeur de Chauffe
In Grande-Terre Island you will find:
- Damoiseau distillery in Le Moule Township for Rhum Damoiseau
With 3 distilleries, Marie-Galante Island is the biggest producer of traditional rum with:
- Bellevue distillery in Capesterre for Rhum Domaine de Bellevue
- Bielle distillery in Grand-Bourg for Rhum Bielle
- Poisson distillery for Rhum du Père LaBat