The Rum Bus arrives at Worthy Park Estate and we get a look at the distillery behind Rum-Bar Overproof, Worthy Gold and Rum-Bar Rum Cream. Check it out.
We finally made it to Worthy Park where we were greeted by Gordon Clarke, Director & Distillery Manager. He welcomed us to his office and we all gathered around a conference table and listened as he told us about the Estate’s interesting history.
This property, which sits in the center of the island at 1200 feet above sea level, has been the site of cane and sugar production for nearly 300 years. Since its founding, the property has only had three owners and the Estate has always been family run and operated. Their first recorded rum production was in 1741 when they made 3000 gallons.
Rum was big business until the years following World War II when it was being over produced in Jamaica and large surpluses devalued the stock. To curb the situation, several distilleries ceased operation in the 1950s under agreement with the Spirits Pool Association of Jamaica. Worthy Park was one of them.
In 2004, rum surplus was a thing of the past and Worthy Park decided to get back into the business. They constructed a new state-of-the-art distillery and full scale rum production began in 2005. The launch of their popular overproof Rum-Bar Rum soon followed.
The new distillery was designed to create a flavorful, traditional Jamaican pot still rum and fully utilize the latest production technologies. Efficiency and consistency have been made a priority at every point of production and the results are impressive.
Worthy Park is using a beautiful 18,000 liter custom copper pot still made for them by Forsyths in Rothes, Scotland. It can produce 4000 liters of rum per day and utilizes the same high tech features as the rest of the distillery. This is one of very few automated pot stills in the world and the entire distilling process is controlled and monitored by a touch screen device.
At the moment, the distillery is producing a large amount of rum and packaging it with a small bottling line. This is about to change. A new high tech setup is being installed within the year to keep up with demand, which is currently doubling annually.
The Estate’s aging facility is also about to increase in size. Their current warehouse is completely full and is being readied for an expansion that will double its square footage. If Worthy Gold is an indicator, their aged rums will be just as impressive as everything else they’ve launched.
After our distillery tour, Gordon invited us to his home for a rum tasting, lunch and continued conversation about Worthy Park. Having the opportunity to relax with new and old friends at a beautiful Jamaican plantation, sipping rum and talking shop was an experience that I will not soon forget. It was the perfect ending to an amazing day.
If you ever find yourself in St. Catherine Parish, Jamaica, be sure to find your way to Worthy Park Estate. Their high tech approach to making traditional pot still rum is inspiring and absolutely worth the long drive up the mountain. Distribution outside of Jamaica is on the rise, so be sure to look for Rum-Bar Rum at a liquor shop near you.
Next up on our Jamaican rum excursion is a look at Hampden Estate, home of the brand new Rum Fire Overproof. Stay tuned.