Barbados rum is undoubtedly one of the premier players in world of rum, personified in all its glory through Mount Gay. With a rich history and innovative production methods, Mount Gay has been delighting rum fans across the globe and its thanks to the efforts of people like former Mount Gay managing director Dr Frank Ward.
Ward recently appeared in an episode of Rumcast to talk about his experiences at Mount Gay and his time as the chairman of the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association (WIRSPA). The conversation is insightful, informative, with Ward getting to the heart of what makes Barbados rum unique.
Carrying on the family tradition
At the start of the episode, Ward gave an introduction to the history of Mount Gay and his family. The Wards bought the Mount Gay Estate back in 1918, gradually turning it into a powerhouse of the rum world. Ward became a part of the company in 1998 and took the position of managing director in 2005.
During this time, Mount Gay had a number of challenges to contend with, such as transferring ownership of the brand over to Remy Quantro. Navigating an uncertain environment and determined to give his family’s business more autonomy, Ward set out to create his own rum expression, which became the Mount Gilboa brand that was released in 2007.
Today, Mount Gilboa is still highly prized, regularly fetching high prices at auctions. Ward instilled a magic touch into the rum, leading to Habitation Velier releasing their own expression in his name called The Last Ward.
Elevating the rum category
Ward also discussed his time as the WIRSPA chairman during the period of the Authentic Caribbean Rum (ACR) mark campaign. This initiative was designed to raise rum to the same level of prestige as Scotch, Cognac and other premium drinks. Since then, many rum producers have taken to using the ACR mark to highlight quality in their products.
Serving as the chairman from 2007 to 2017, Ward was instrumental in changing the perception of Caribbean rum and laying much of the groundwork that continues to be built on in the modern day.
There’s a lot of great content to unpack in the episode and the Rumcast did an awesome job in getting one of the most influential people in the rum industry to share his story. Listen to the full episode here.