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The U.S. Virgin Islands have a long history with rum, and it is the product that the islands are best known for. In 1934, on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Malcolm Skeoch and other investors founded the Diamond Rum Company, also known as the Cruzan Rum distillery. This move was prompted by the 1933 repeal of prohibition, which also prompted the U.S. government to temporarily run several St. Croix sugar plantations and produce a brand of rum called Government House (Legend has it that President Franklin Roosevelt designed the spirit’s label.). In 1961, when Schenley Distillers acquired a majority share of the Diamond Rum Company, it was renamed Virgin Island Rum Industries. In the 1960s, the entire island of St. Croix stopped producing sugar cane, which meant that the company had to import molasses . Despite the financial implications of this change, rum continued to play a major role in the islands’ economy. In 2009, the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands signed a deal cementing the relationship between the government and the Cruzan Rum distillery. The government agreed to offer incentives to the company to continue doing business on the island. These incentives allowed them to have the infrastructure needed to produce rum, such as a wastewater treatment plant, and to expand their facilities to meet future needs.
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Cruzan Rum Distillery. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2020, from http://www.ministryofrum.com/producerdetails.php?t=145
Skeoch, G. (n.d.). HISTORICAL ORIGINS OF CRUZAN RUM. Retrieved August 30, 2020, from https://historyofcruzanrum.com/history/