St Nicholas Abbey’s tourism niche
AT A TIME WHEN Barbados’ tourism industry has been struggling to rebound and some manufacturers have been under pressure, historic St Nicholas Abbey is quietly building a niche involving these key sectors.
Larry Warren, owner of the 350 year-old St Peter property, told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that not only is his company exporting its “authentic” Barbados rum to several countries in Europe and North America, but a growing number of tourists are currently visiting St Nicholas daily and spending money on its products.
Speaking in an interview last week, Warren also advised Barbadian rum producers, who are being hurt by American Government subsidies provided to Puerto Rico and United States Virgin Islands, to forget about bulk rum and “focus on it as a premium product for export.
“We have set up a complete manufacturing operation, with jams and jellies and preserves and chutneys and sugar, too, but of course the main emphasis is on rum because that’s where the biggest profit margin is.
“Because we are such a small producer, 90 per cent of our rum is sold here at St Nicholas. But we do have export markets in the UK, in Canada, a little bit in the United States, but very much in Europe, like in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and France. There are very select clients who search you out; you don’t have to go to them, they come to you, which is good.”
St Nicholas Abbey’s Simon Warren (right) giving visitors Noah Stanton (left) and Simon Warren details on this bottle of rum.
In terms of St Nicholas as a tourist attraction, Warren said so far during the current winter season the facility had sustained the 17 per cent increase in visitors it recorded last year.
“Our slogan is integrating tourism with manufacturing, which I think is great for Barbados. If we could get more of that it means we would be firing on all cylinders because you are producing at both ends. You are producing the tourism aspect of it and you are producing the manufacturing and at the same time the visitor is getting the experience of both,” he said.
He said Barbados’ future in rum was producing “a premium product for export”.
“There are so many other rums in this world that are not as good that can take up that other part of the market. We should really try always to focus on our rums as being premium rums because that’s where we will beat the competition in the United States too.”
Kathy-Ann Hinds getting rum ready for sale.