The long-awaited first spirit has finally flowed from the US$25 million Renegade Rum Distillery, Mark Reynier’s pioneering terroir-driven rum project in Grenada.
Located on the north eastern coast of the Windward Island, Renegade Rum is a state-of-the-art distillery – the first of its scale to have been designed from the ground up for terroir-bred sugar cane.
As well as cutting-edge still design and digital logistics, Renegade Rum Distillery is built on sophisticated technology for air filtration and water purification of waste streams, thus ensuring distilling systems run in rhythm with natural systems.
Renegade Rum Distillery is the vision of Mark Reynier, CEO of the pioneering terroir-driven Waterford Distillery in Ireland, and who resurrected the Islay distillery of Bruichladdich in 2001.
Using the same methodology as France’s greatest vignerons, Reynier’s ambition is to create the world’s most profound rum by extracting flavours from Grenada’s isolated parcels of sugar cane grown on the diverse and fertile volcanic terroirs, with complete individuality from cane to cask.
In the face of severe COVID-19 restrictions and consequent ban of commissioning experts, the distillery’s vast components from 10 different countries, including mill, horizontal fermentors and pot and column stills, were commissioned by the home-grown Renegade Rum team under remote guidance.
On the afternoon of September 21st, 2020, after milling sugar cane grown on the La Sagesse farm, Head Distiller Devon Date made the cut to hearts – and the distillery was finally making Renegade Rum.
I started planning the project in June 2015 after an initial exploratory trip to the island. Immediately I felt this was the right home for Renegade after a fruitless 10 year search. It has been a veritable rollercoaster of a ride since then and several times I was on the point of giving up – frustrated by the lack of progress, dead ends and delays. Several times I wondered whether I had bitten off more than I could chew.
We had the chance to make something really special here, with the latest thinking, drawing on our distilling experience from Scotland and Ireland to support the unique underpinning Renegade philosophy: rum defined by Grenada’s geology, farm by farm, field by field.
Unusually this project has been both back to front and upside down: first we had to propagate cane where none existed to prove it was worthwhile building a distillery; then we had to design it backwards, from the end waste streams back to the incoming cane.
Now we have a landmark, state-of-the-art-distillery, the envy of the industry, built and run by Grenadians to use Grenadian cane – the veritable spirit of Grenada. After all the blood, tears, sweat of determination and technical ingenuity – not to mention a global pandemic – we are delighted that the Renegade Rum Distillery is alive.
– Mark Reynier: CEO