The first stage of rum production begins with the fermentation process which can last up to 26 hours. This entails the addition to the molasses of yeasts, specially cultured under controlled conditions of temperature and brix (sugar content). As a result, uncrystallised sugars are converted into alcohols to produce a ‘fermenting wash’ which is constantly monitored and maintained within specified parameters that allow unique flavours to develop. The resulting fermented wash which contains around 7% alc.vol. is ready for distillation.

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The operation at Demerara Distillers Limited boasts a large number of two types of stills - comprising six continuous stills, one of which is the last remaining Wooden Coffey Still, two original Wooden Pot Stills, the last of their kind still in operation and one Tri-Canada Re-distribution Still.

Continuous column stills use a method in which fermented molasses (wash) is added to the top of the column, while steam is injected at the bottom. This process of adding the steam and the wash simultaneously allows the alcohol vapours to rise to the top of the column into the condensers where they are condensed to form liquid rum.

Each continuous still has the versatility to produce both medium and light bodied rums depending on the addition of varying degrees of congeners. Using their Savalle Stills, Demerara Distillers Limited is capable of producing more than nine distinctly different styles (marques) of rum – a feat which no other distillery can boast. Differing in nose, character and volume, some of these rums recreate those originally produced on the major sugar estates of the 18th century. These marques can then be blended or produced unblended to yield an unrivalled range of rums.

The Single and Double Wooden Pot or VAT Stills are used to produce the very aromatic, flavourful medium-bodied rums – with additional flavours contributed through contact with the wood of the still. The production of these rums, unlike that of the continuous still rums, is done in batches. A quantity of fermented wash is put into the pot and boiled. The vapours released are trapped in the condensers to produce high gravity rum. After all of the wash has been distilled, the pot is emptied and the process is repeated.

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