British Virgin Islands
The Callwood Distillery, located off a back road in Cane Garden Bay, has been in operation for over four centuries, on the Arundel Estate, Tortola. The tradition has been handed down from father to son, and the owner / operator of the rum mill today is Michael Callwood, who is keeping the distillery running as part of preserving the history and culture of the British Virgin Islands. The locally grown sugar cane is grown in the hills of Cane Garden Bay, harvested, and the rum's distilling process starts every year during the month of March.
The present Callwood Estate was formally part of the Arundel Estate, which according to Michael, was purchased by his great grandfather, Richard Callwood Sr. Mr. Callwood Sr. Also owned Thatch Island just off the West End of Tortola in the 1800's. The existing building that the distillery operates from is over two-hundred years old, and still has much of its stone work. The roof has been replaced several times from hurricane damage in the past, but the rest of the building is still mostly original.
Cane Boiling Pots
The process of distilling the rum starts with cut cane put through the pressing mill, the juice then extracted, flows through receivers into the "coppers," which are large iron cauldrons, then boiled on a fire made with dry cane husks. The fermented mixture is boiled once again until it hits a temperature where the alcohol is produced, running through a coiled cooling system. The Callwood rum is now ready to be stored in barrels to be aged for the desired effect. Four years for dark rum in oak barrels, and in demijohns, which is a narrow necked bottle holding three to ten gallons liquid for white rum.
Three types of rum are
made at the distillery.
Time is well worth spent to visit the Callwood Distillery and take in the long-lasting family history of one of the British Virgin Islands icons, keeping the culture of the islands alive, not to mention tasting the fine different types of rums!
Check out our Photo Gallery for more photos
of the Callwood Rum Distillery.