Ever thought of where the name Cane Garden Bay on Tortola comes from? I’m sure you guessed it, it’s from the history of their sugarcane plantations and rum distillery, a fundamental part of the British Virgin Islands’ cultural heritage.
Cane Garden Bay is home of the Callwood Rum Distillery, where they make Arundel Cane Rum. This rum has been distilled and blended by the Callwood Family for more than 200 years in Caribbean’s oldest continuously operating pot distillery.
You can visit the distillery Monday till Friday on your visit to Cane Garden Bay, in this beautiful old historical building steps across the road from the beach. After the storms the distillery was severely damaged and needed a new roof, but they are all up and running again!
When you enter the building, you will notice the barrels and the walls filled with hand-bottled Arundel rum. The Callwood Distillery only produces about 25 gallons of rum a day, using the pure cane juice from the sugarcane growing right behind the distillery.
Behind the building you can find the sugar cane plantation with the charcoal powered “boiler”. Here you will smell the sweet molasses being cooked.
This place has survived for four centuries, with a brief interruption last year thanks to the installation of a new roof, until, four months after Irma, it was back in operation. There’s a reason, after all, why they call it Cane Garden Bay.
Here, in an old stone building in Tortola, is one of the most precious corners of the history of rum in the Caribbean, a fundament of the British Virgin Islands’ cultural heritage.
The boiler is smoldering, the smell of sugarcane alchemy pungent in the air, steps across the road from the beach.
This is the Callwood Rum Distillery, a sugarcane plantation and distillery whose history of rummaking dates back some 400 years.
It just might be the oldest working rum distillery in the Caribbean.
The coal-fired boiler still smolders, with worn casks of rum aging up the rocky staircase, walls filled with hand-bottled Arundel rum.