$1b makeover for Appleton Rum Tour

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Neville Gra­ham Busi­ness Reporter neville.gra­ham@glean­erjm.com

RUM COM­PANY J. Wray and Nephew Lim­ited (JWN) is plunk­ing down nearly $1 bil­lion on a to­tal makeover of its world-fa­mous Appleton Rum Tour. A small ho­tel is also un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, but that is sev­eral years away. JWN chair­man Cle­ment ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence says when the com­pany breaks ground next Fri­day it will mean the tem­po­rary clo­sure of the es­tate tour which will be de­vel­oped into a brand new prod­uct. The rum tour is part of the op­er­a­tions of JWN’s sugar and rum pro­duc­ing sub­sidiary Appleton Es­tate.

“The ren­o­va­tion is so ex­ten­sive that it would not be prac­ti­cal to have the tour op­er­at­ing with the re­stric­tions that would be re­quired for the con­struc­tion and so we’ve taken the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to do that but in terms of safety and the qual­ity of a tour we’ve agreed that it should be the proper course of ac­tion,” Lawrence said in an in­ter­view with Gleaner Busi­ness.

He says the ren­o­va­tions will cover all as­pects of the tour and may in­clude brand­ing of trans­porta­tion to the venue and the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity in St El­iz­a­beth.

“We’re spend­ing US$7.2 mil­lion, plus there are other items of ex­pen­di­ture that we will not go into at this time. All told that should trans­late to $1 bil­lion and we think that will be a solid in­vest­ment in the com­pany, the com­mu­nity and Ja­maica at this time,” he said.

The Appleton Rum Tour takes vis­i­tors along a scenic, wind­ing route in Ja­maica’s Cock­pit Coun­try. The location is about 50 kilo­me­tres from the near­est tourist cen­tres. Lawrence ad­mits that de­spite the beauty of the drive, the mode of trans­porta­tion by bus and the length of time it takes to get to Appleton would have taken its toll on vis­i­tors.


With that in mind the com­pany is looking to the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the rail ser­vice to ac­com­mo­date the rum tour so that they can triple the num­ber of vis­i­tors.

“That is an in­te­gral part of the plans that we have. We’re looking

to grow the num­ber of vis­i­tors from 50,000 to 150,000 and the rail ex­pe­ri­ence and the lo­gis­ti­cal ben­e­fits that it of­fers would fit nicely with our plans,” Lawrence said.

For the medium term he says the com­pany will be looking at es­tab­lish­ing a small-scale ho­tel as part of the of­fer­ings at Appleton. This is in ad­di­tion to the im­prove­ments in sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties to in­clude shops and craft mar­kets for ar­ti­sans.

Cle­ment ‘Jimmy’ Lawrence, chair­man of J. Wray & Nephew Lim­ited.


Appleton Es­tate in St El­iz­a­beth

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