The Hampden Blogger

Welcome to the Hampden Blogger, we hope that this feature will allow you to learn more about us and what we do. Your comments are important and allows us to better serve both our visitors, as well as our industry partners. Thank you.

Andrew & Outram Hussey

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hampden 'Fires' up rum market: Red Stripe to be sole distributors of new local spirit

Sabrina Gordon, Business Reporter

Red Stripe, sole brewers and bottlers of beer in Jamaica, has inked a deal with the Hussey family-owned Everglades Farms to be the exclusive distributor for Hampden Estate's first-ever bottled rum for the local market.

Hampden Estate, located on a 5,600-acre property in Trelawny, normally produces bulk rum for the European market, but has now ventured into bottling a white overproof rum brand, Rum Fire, to be marketed locally. The product is expected to be available on shelves islandwide by the end of March.
It is the first time that Hampden has produced rum for sale in the local market.

"Hampden has never come out with a local brand, and to get to this market is the premium part of the business," Andrew Hussey, director at Everglades Farms, told Wednesday Business. In terms of the partnership with Red Stripe, Ruth Hussey, board chair at Everglades Farms, said, "Rum Fire white overproof rum is an exceptionally smooth rum from Hampden Estate, and we wanted to partner with a world-class quality company with the requisite marketing skills, sales penetration and impressive infrastructure to make Rum Fire the consumers' first choice for white overproof."

The agreement calls for Red Stripe to market, sell and distribute the product.
Spokespersons for both Everglades and Red Stripe declined to provide information about the pricing strategy and other details about the deal. However, Brian Pengelley, sales director at Red Stripe, believes the product will find favour with local consumers. "The attractive price point, as well as the exceptional drinkability of Rum Fire, will find favour with Jamaican consumers," Pengelley said in a press release.

By entering the rum market, the deal also represents a milestone for Red Stripe, the island's sole beer-producing company. However, it will not be its first venture into the spirit market since it already distributes a range of spirits on the local market for its parent company, Diageo. "Rum Fire rum marks a new chapter in Red Stripe's drive to round out its spirits portfolio," said Pengelley. "White overproof rum has long been a preferred drink by many Jamaicans, but there have always been too few options," said Pengelley.

Rum Fire will compete with other brands on the market, the most popular being Wray and Nephew white overproof rum.

Along with the Long Pond Sugar Factory in Trelawny, Hampden Estate is operated and managed by Everglades Farms.

Hampden Estate, which has existed in Jamaica for close to 300 years, is the only distillery in Jamaica that specialises exclusively in the making of heavy-pot still rums. The estate exports between 400,000 and 500,000 litres of absolute alcohol annually to Europe and, to a smaller extent, South Africa.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Timeline - Rum Vs. Whisky - 1600-1880

The Rum/Whisky timeline represent a rich and extensive history, however, a quick summary is as follows.

You will agree that the making and consumption of spirits in one form or another is as old as mankind, however the art of distillation was definately known to the Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs as well as the Chinese long before Europe acquired the art,  probably about the 11th or 12th Century.  The first surviving record of Scotish whisky was in 1494 in the Exchequer Rolls. It is believed, however that distillation was already taking place in Scotland with large scale  commercial distilling commencing in the eighteenth century. It is to be noted that Ireland had some 2000 stills by the late eighteenth century.  

With the landing of the Mayflower in 1620, Scottish and Irish imigrants soon brought whisky distilling to Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia of which Maryland and Pennsylvania were the heartland or epicenter of Rye Whiskey. It was this Rye Whiskey that was the quintessential american whiskey until the onset of Prohibition which also dealt a death blow to the importation of some 400 brands of Irish Whisky into America . It was not until after the whisky rebellion of 1794 which took some 12,000 soldiers to quell that whisky distilling began moving into Kentucky and Tennessee and Westward.

So what about Bourbon. Some credit Elijah Craig in Scott County Virginia in 1789 with the first drinkable whiskey distilled from corn, while others say John Ritchie in 1777, Still others say it was Evan Williams that was the originator of Bourbon circa 1783. Kentucky became a state in 1792 and Bourbon County (named to acknowledge French aid in the revolution) gave its name to the famous american Bourbon Whiskey. 

Within the Caribbean It is believed that the Spanish started planting sugar cane within a few years of settling the New World (1492) followed by the English settlement of Barbados in 1627.  

Rum distillation have been recorded as early as 1663  (Mount Gay) when Rumbullion (early rum) was traded between Barbados and New England, Virginia and Connecticut.  Rumbullion was also known as Kill-devil in New England in 1651. 

Jamaica, captured by the British in 1655 saw distillation of rum sometime after 1749 by Appleton Estate, Long Pond Estate in Trelawny recorded  165 Hogshead of sugar and 85 puncheons of rum in 1780 and J.Wray and Nephew in 1825. Hampden Estate was surveyed in 1684 to confirm it's boundaries in a land dispute. Estate operations was already in force when  formalized in 1753  by Archibald Stirling of Scotland. Hampden then went on to become the quintessential heavy pot rum of Jamaica During the 18 century, Jamaica was the worlds largest producer of sugar and by extension, molasses . Rum shipments were fiercely guarded by the British Navy at Falmouth where Hampden  built its rum and sugar Wharf.

In the United States rum distillation started as early as 1657 in Boston, however, the British blockade of sugar and molasses as well as the molasses act of 1733  were instrumental in the shifting from rum to whiskey distilling within the USA as grain became cheaper and more readily available, especially corn which began to fuel Bourbon production around 1783.  Jack Daniels (1866) is America's oldest registered distillery but Maryland had distilleries prior Americas War of Independence. Many of these distilleries moved West after the Whiskey Wars with George Washington's Tax Men.

When compared with whisky from Scotland (large scale commercial distilling), the oldest distillery is reported to be Glenturret 1775, Bowmore 1779 and Scottish Highland whisky (Strathisla) founded in 1786, Glenlivet in 1824 and Glenfiddich circa 1830-1880. I have found conflicting dates for distilleries surrounding start of operations vs. registration etc. It should also be noted the difference in spelling between Scottish WHISKY and American WHISKEY

 It is clear that Jamaican Rum or Distilled Spirit  manufacturing predate many of  those in Scotland as well as  colonial America except for the Boston 1657 date. What is yet to be determined is which distilleries are the oldest in the British Caribbean.  Mount Gay probably would be first. The earliest record of Hampden was a land survey document by Mr. Thomas Goddard dated 1684 to reconfirm Hampden's property boundary.  Stay tuned for additional research findings.

Written by Outram J. Hussey

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What's behind the different types of rums?

People can get overwhelmed with all the various types of rum on the market and that is because rums are designed or blended to achieve specific characteristics for targeted market segments. They may be described as premium, super-premium, luxury, over-proof, aged 10,20,30, 35 years etc. In addition, there are various colour ranges such as:

These rums are clear in colour and may be blended with other whites fto achieve distinctive blends. They may be distilled via a column or a pot still.

Light: These rums are generally light or clear in colour, not usually strong and used in the making of cocktails containing stronger rums.

Gold: These rums are usually golden in colour and aged for varying periods in oak Burbon barrels although other barrels may be used. They are usually blended with other rums, not necessarily from the same distillery to produce specially prepared blends.

Dark or Black: These rums derive colours from the barrel aging process and other times from certain wood chips added to achieve the desired result. They can also be brought into contact with charcoal to create a truly strong colour. These rums are usually stronger, that is, having a higher alcohol to volume ratio.

These rums are usually gold with added spices.

These rums are blended with fruity flavours such as pineapple, banana, coconut, mango among others.

Another question that people ask is"what exactly is the proof, what does it mean". The word proof originated from sailors wanting to ensure that their rum was not watered-down. They thus developed a way to prove it by dousing gunpowder in it and tested it for ignition. If it ignited it was proved, hence the word "Proof Spirit" and "Proof". To be more precise, gunpowder will not burn in rum with less than 57.1 % alcohol by volume. Thus rum at 57.1 is set at 100 degrees proof. There are certain rums that are listed as "over proof", this means that they have an alcohol to volume greater than 57.1. They are usually about 63 %.

At Hampden Distillery all our Bulk Rums are sold in Liters Absolute Alcohol ( LAA.) and is at a minimum 86%+ Alcohol to volume. Hampden's Rum Fire white rum is sold at 63% alcohol to volume. It should be noted that other countries such as Australia use a unit of measure called a "Standard Drink" which equates to 12.6 ml. of alcohol. This was adopted because it took an adult one hour to metabolise 12.6 ml. of alcohol.  Within the United States, 100 US proof is set at 50 % Alcohol to Volume. We should also recognize therefore that in the USA alcohol proof is twice the alcohol by volume (abv) while in the United Kingdom it is 1.75 times the expressed %. Thus 40% abv is 80 proof in the USA and 70 proof in the United Kingdom.  

We will write more on this topic in the near future, until then drink responsibly and make it Hampden again and again.

So what exactly is it about Hampden's High Esters?

Hampden is renowned throughout the world for its signature High Ester Rums such as the Hampden DOK.  Most people understand esters to be the distinctive smell of bananas, pineapples, apples, oranges etc., but what exactly you may ask is an ester? To begin, esters have nothing to do with the strength of the rum but rather have everything to do with the strength of it's smell or bouquet and hence the reason for Hampden's full bodied flavourful rums. Technically speaking, Esters are organic acids (R-COOH) in concert with a catalyst yielding water as a by-product. At Hampden they are built distinctively complex and sweet with an unforgetable bouquet. You will always be able to identify the authentic Hampden Rum.

Hampden manufacture rums under strict controls of the Jamaican Government monitored by its Excise Officers. Hampden is licensed by the National Environmental Planning Agency and conform to strict manufacturing processes and procedures.  Hampden received the Business Innovation Award (an International award) for its manufacturing and business innovations. Walmart and other Fortune 500 companies have also received this award.

Hampden is the undisputed leader in the authentic manufacturing of High Ester Rums. If you are a manufacturer of scented products, food products or other specialty manufacturer requiring high esters, you may want to consult with us for ester solutions.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hampden's push toward Sustainability & Carbon Neutrality

Hampden has been on an aggressive program to achieve a Carbon Neutral Footprint and to impliment sustainable guidelines in its planning and corporate governance. This is due in part to a commitment to be neutral, organic and sustainable. The operations have a symbiotic relationship with the environment as it utilizes water, raw materials and natural yeast in the making of its high ester rums. In the reacent rebuilding of the distillery, in excess of 80% of all steel structures, stainless steel tanks and pipes were of recycled metal and all fabricated were on site.
As Hampden move forward with its programme, we hope the following will give some insight into the various concentrations of its green program.

Scope 1: Direct Greenhouse Gas Emissions Direct Greenhouse Gas emissions, or Scope 1 emissions, occur from items controlled by and owned by the company.Emissions generally occur from one of the following types of activities.
Generation of heat, steam or electricity via the combustion of fuels in stationary equipment such as boilers, water heaters and diesel generators.

Emissions that arise from chemical or physical processing. Within the Distillery, the fermentation of sugar which produces carbon dioxide
Emission produced from burning fuel in mobile operating equipment such as cars forklifts and tractors. Additionally unintentional emissions of Greenhouse Gases from within a company through leaks and spills. These emissions are known as fugitive emissions. Within the rum industry fugitive emissions are most likely to be limited to leaks from HFC based systems. It should be noted that Hampden excludes fermentation Co2 from its calculations.

Scope 2: Indirect Purchased Power Utility Emissions. Hampden utilizes electrical power via the local utility company (JPS). The emissions that occur from the production of electricity in facilities not owned by the company are categorised as Scope 2 emissions. They are regarded as indirect emissions because they occur in equipment owned by another company, generally a power station.

Scope 3: Indirect Greenhouse Gas Emissions. For the Distillery, emissions categorised as Scope 3, are emissions that occur as a consequence of producing a finished saleable rum product (such as our Rum Fire Brand), emitted from equipment or plant owned by another company or via Hampden's Bottling Plant.

Hampden Sustainability Practices (Construction & Facility Projects)
Sustainable Sites: Erosion control, Brownfield Redevelopment, Reduced Site Disturbance, Storm Water Management, Landscapes, Light Pollution.
Water Efficiency: Water Efficient Landscaping, Waste Water Treatment, Water Use Reduction:.
Energy Efficiency: Renewable Energy, Energy Optimisation, Building Systems and Measurement.
Material & Resources: Recycling, Adaptive Reuse, Waste Management, Local Materials, Renewables.
Indoor Environmental Quality: CO2 Monitoring, Low VOC;s,Chemical & Pollutant Controls and Thermals.

Innovations in Facility Design.

Hampden has also committed to growing all fruits and sugar cane for the distillery without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and has moved away from the practice of cane burning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Corporate & Social Responsibility Insights

Everglades Farms entry into Trelawny brings both an economic and social responsibility agenda to the region. Trelawny is noted for sugar production and subsequently many townships depend on the sugar estates for economic viability.   It is the resolve of Everglades Farms to build a more sustainable infrastructure that allows for diversification in employment type and fosters an atmosphere for the development of local businesses.
Chart showing Everglades Farms Ltd. Social, 
Economic & Environmental Integration Matrix

Environment: Everglades Farms written environmental policy covers issues such as energy efficient plant, equipment and operations, electrical co-generation from renewable fuels, water conservation, storm water management, mitigation of airborne pollutants, waste reduction, recycling, and has also set up a safety/health/environmental team that implements such policies.   

Employee Initiatives: The company has a programme to educate cane farmers in the proper planting and care of sugar cane and has encouraged employees to become independent business operators providing valuable services to the estate and employment to others. The estate also encourages local banks to provide loans to responsible contractors and has provided assistance both financially and in agricultural products to responsible farmers in the region.

·Customer Initiatives: Everglades Farms is actively pursuing green initiative programs with its customer base. A program currently under review is the “Green Label” program in Europe where cane farmers can get an additional 20% in crop income by planting, growing and harvesting cane to certain prescribed “Green Standards”. Other initiatives discourages cane farmers from the practice of cane burning to the cutting of green cane which significantly reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. 

Community:  Everglades  charity work includes providing gifts to schools and allowing staff to help schools and charities. The business itself partners with the “Christelle Harris Charity Fund” that have benefited schools such as St. Michaels Basic School and the Benjamin Titus High School in Clarks Town and the Dumfries Basic School in Dumfries District, Trelawny. Everglades is also committed to the establishment of sports in the region and is organizing cricket tournaments to enthuse the region with a competitive spirit most important within the social fabric of the region.

New Rum Hits Jamaican Market,


For more than a century Hampden produced and supplied the world with its exclusive heavy pot high ester bulk rums. During this time many companies developed successful signature rum brands blended with a variety of Hampden’s rums.  What is not widely known is that a market was also being developed locally as the rum found its way into various Rum Bars of western Jamaica and especially in Trelawny. The secret was out as many having a taste for a truly vibrant yet smooth rum, would ask specifically for Hampden JB.  The rum was usually hid behind the counter as the rum represented quantities taken by the angels without the knowledge of management.            

Having a significant following in western Jamaica it became evident that the rum should be released officially and the search was on for the right name. After extensive deliberations the name Rum Fire was born.  In the old days true rum connoisseurs  in Trelawny would test the proof of the rum by pouring it on the table and lighting it. If it burned blue and left no residue, it was Hampden, hence the fire label.

Already, the region is ecstatic about its release to the local market and companies have expressed great interest in partnering with Hampden for the distribution of Rum Fire. It is therefore with great pleasure that Hampden release this truly authentic, historic, smooth, vibrant renegade rum.  It is a rum that you must have.

RUM FIRE coming soon to your region, ask for it, experience it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Support for Local Schools

Curtis Campbell,  Writer Published: Saturday June 5, 2010

"The efforts of former Miss JamaicaWorld runner-up, Christelle Harris, to help the parish of Trelawny are continuing.  Harris, though abroad, recently helped several schools in Trelawny.

The contribution from her foundation, The Christelle Harris Fund, has been boosted by the aid of two entities, Long Pond and Hampden Estates. The combination has been beneficial to the Dumfries Basic School and the St Michael Early Childhood Institution. During a Gleaner article on June 5, 2010, Harris had said "I believe it's unfair for people to endure such poor living conditions", and today, the three schools in question are on their way to achieving their objectives. The 2006 Miss Jamaica World contestant's fund has ensured that students at the Dumfries Basic School now have a safer environment in which to play after the area was fenced.

The fund began in June 2008 with the aim of providing support for patients at the Bustamante Hospital for Children, and had earlier this year launched a series of projects geared at facilitating improvements in schools in Trelawny. The project, which includes Cedric Titus High School, and the two mentioned before is well under way. St Michaels, for instance, was also the beneficiary of a refrigerator and furniture. According to Harris, the basic schools are plagued by unsanitary conditions, and are below standards she is willing to call acceptable. The Cedric Titus High School, which had a dysfunctional drainage system was given a cheque for $1,099, 800 earlier this year.

Harris handed over the cheque herself at a ceremony held at Cedric Titus High School on May 28. At the time, Harris' fund was helped by Everglades Farms and her family and the former beauty contestant had asked that Corporate Jamaica help in the effort. That question is still being asked today, as the Long Pond and Hampden Estates, which are run by Everglades, are still funding the bulk of Harris' philanthropic efforts."

Service and Stewardship
We would like to recognize Ruth and Laurie Hussey for mentoring and supporting a new generation to give back to their communities and to be of service to others.

History of Hampden Estate

Hampden estate is one of the oldest sugar estates in Jamaica. Renowned throughout Jamaica’s rum history for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums, it continues today to be the quintessential heavy pot rum of choice throughout Europe and other parts of the world. Surveyed by Thomas Goddard in 1684, Hampden was formalized in 1753 and operated as a large sugar plantation under the ownership of Mr. Archibald Sterling of Scotland. In 1779 Mr. Sterling built the Hampden Great House of which the ground floor served as a rum store. The upper level (residential structure) was added circa 1799. Hampden Estate is firmly set in Jamaican history as it established the Hampden Presbyterian Church on estate property, circa 1824, the first of that denomination to be established in the Caribbean.

University Chapel “ In 1955, the old boiler house was donated by the owners of Hampden Estate to Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, who was then Chancellor of the UWI. She arranged for it to be dismantled, block by block. Each building stone was meticulously numbered, then transported to the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies and reassembled. It took three years to complete the task. When it was done, this beautiful Georgian building, made with finely dressed limestone from Hampden Estate, was reborn as the University Chapel, which is today considered an architectural gem”.

Everglades Farms Ltd.   In 2009, Everglades Farms Ltd., owned by the Hussey family, acquired the estate via public bid through divestment procedures of the Jamaica Sugar Company assets, owned by the Government of Jamaica. A commitment by Everglades Farm to pump some US$6.2 million (J$549.8 million) into the Long Pond and Hampden sugar estates has brought renewed hope to the people of the region and to the economy of Trelawny. The Hussey family is committed to preserving the great traditions of Hampden and to the preservation of old family business values, a necessary prerequisite given that several of Hampden’s current customers can trace their orders back in excess of 50 years.