The owner of Foursquare Distillery, RL Seale & Company, is funding research into Barbados’ rum history, with the intention of supporting the island’s application for geographical indication.
The company has decided to fund scholarships in the department of history and philosophy at the University of the West Indies. It’s through this department that young adults will research the history of rum in Barbados.
The findings will lend gravity to the island’s application for recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site for sugar and rum. Furthermore the research will further the application for Barbadian rum geographical indicationI, says Foursquare proprietor Richard Seale.
Speaking to the Spirits Business about backing the research Seale said:
“As the provenance of Barbados Rum becomes more recognised and more valuable, the time has come for professional, independent and scholarly work on the history of Barbados Rum and for that work to be done at home,”
As originally reported by Barbados Today, RL Seale’s BBD$320,000 (US$158,300) donation will be used to create three doctoral scholarships, as well as six-year postdoctoral fellowships. The distiller will also contribute funding towards the island’s UNESCO World Heritage site nomination project.
“We see this as an investment which will strengthen the category in [the] longer term,” Seale said.
To receive government approval for a rum GI, Barbados’ four rum producers – Foursquare, Mount Gay, Saint Nicholas Abbey and West Indies Rum Distillery – must first collectively agree on a proposal.
Last year, the first three distillers decided on GI terms to put forward, but the latter company did not agree.
If you’re interested in learning more about rum, we’ve been running a series of articles on its history and production:
Read Chapter 1 in the series: The Three Rum Revolutions And The Beginnings Of Rum
Read Chapter 2 in the series: Rum: The Sugarcane Journey
Read Chapter 3 in the series: Rum: Fermentation Craziness
Read Chapter 4 in the series: Rum: The Distillation Puzzle
Read Chapter 5 in the series: About Ageing Rum PART 1: “Why More Is Not Always Better”