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Diageo Construction

Diageo completes the construction of their new barrel warehouse and rum aging facility making it the first LEED certified project in the US Virgin Islands.

ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Diageo USVI, the Virgin Islands’ newest rum distiller, today announced the completion of its rum barrel warehouses, where it will age the rum that will be used to produce Captain Morgan products for the United States beginning in 2012. Consisting of two 100,000 square foot warehouses and located in the Estate Diamond area of St. Croix, approximately four miles from the new Captain Morgan distillery, the facility is capable of storing up to 200,000 barrels of rum, or the equivalent of 100 million 750ml bottles.

Consistent with Diageo’s commitment to the environment and the construction of the most environmentally friendly rum distillery in the world, the buildings feature natural lighting and ventilation and were constructed with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification principles. Diageo’s USVI Captain Morgan Distillery is the first such project to be constructed in the Virgin Islands consistent with those principles. In addition, the facility was designed to be able to withstand category four hurricanes and seismic zone four earthquakes.

“The completion of this modern, environmentally-sound rum barrel warehouse facility brings us one step closer to becoming fully operational by January, 2011 at which time we will be producing and aging rum in St. Croix,” said Dan Kirby, Vice President, Operations, Diageo USVI.  ”Just as we have done throughout the construction of the distillery, we built the barrel warehouse with its environmental impact top of mind.”

Construction on the warehouse project was performed by locally-owned J. Benton Construction, LLC, whose owner and president James Benton was reared on St. Croix. J. Benton Construction, LLC utilized 33 local subcontractors and vendors on the project, with more than 230 Virgin Islanders having worked to plan, design and build the barrel warehouse facility.  The construction company is also building multiple structures at the Diageo USVI rum distillery site.

Reflecting on the project, James Benton said: “Over the past eleven months, more than 230 Virgin Islanders have worked hard to plan, design and build this important piece of the Government of the Virgin Islands/Diageo Public-Private Initiative.  The construction community of the Virgin Islands is glad that these types of major projects can be brought to our islands.  The fast paced and safe construction of the Barrel Warehouse project proves that with talented Virgin Islands workers, professional and competent management teams, and Government cooperation, it can be done on St. Croix.”

In addition to the barrel warehouse, Diageo USVI is constructing a distillery on St. Croix capable of producing approximately 13 million 9 Liter cases of Captain Morgan rum. Construction of the distillery began in August 2009 and is nearing an on-schedule completion date and will become operational by January 2011. The distillery is expected to generate an estimated $130 million in new annual tax revenue for the US Virgin Islands government and at least 80 percent of full-time distillery employees will come from the US Virgin Islands.

Images of the rum barrel warehouse and distillery site are available upon request.

ABOUT DIAGEO USVI

In June 2008, Governor John P. deJongh, Jr. and Diageo USVI jointly announced a public-private initiative for the construction and operation of a high capacity rum distillery on St. Croix, USVI. This 30-year commitment will provide a major economic stimulus for the entire Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once in operation the distillery will have the capacity to distill up to 20 million proof gallons of Captain Morgan rum per year and is expected to generate an estimated $130 million in new tax revenue for the Virgin Islands Government. Construction of the facility, located on Melvin Evans Highway, began in August 2009.

Beginning in 2012, the distillery will supply all rum used to make Captain Morgan branded products for the United States. Captain Morgan is a global leader among premium spirits and is the second leading rum in the world.

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SOURCE Diageo