Lonely Planet Writer

Rum lovers set for a treat with million dollar expansion of the Appleton Rum estate in Jamaica

If your passions are gourmet food washed down with a rum cocktail then an €8 million upgrade to one of the most famous rum distilleries in the world will be music to your ears.

Appleton Estate Rum, St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica, Caribbean
Appleton Estate Rum, St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica, Caribbean Image by Getty Images

The Appleton Rum Estate in Jamaica is hoping to attract 50,000 new visitors every year with its plans to become a centre for gastro-tourism in the country and the proposed reopening of an historic railroad serving their vast estate. Appleton has been making rum since 1749 from sugarcane harvested in the picturesque Nassau Valley. Their factory is already open to the public offering tours of the distillery, their unique copper pot stills, and ‘aging houses’ where the rum is stored and perfected in forty gallon oak barrels. Now, the Jamaican Ministry of Tourism is hoping to make the estate the centrepiece of a national plan for gastro-tourism in the region.

Appleton Estate Rum, St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica, Caribbean
Appleton Estate Rum, St. Elizabeth Parish, Jamaica, Caribbean

Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, at the launch of the plan, explained: “This is a very lucrative market where tourists spend billions of dollars worldwide annually. “We feel the south coast is a prime area for this kind of tourism and we are going to do everything to make it work.”

Barrels of ageing rum.
Barrels of ageing rum. Image by Getty Images

A tourist railway route from Montego Bay to Appleton will also be reopened over the next two years bringing people directly to the rum estate. Road links to the area will be improved with local farmers being encouraged to take advantage of the influx of visitors by selling their produce directly. The investment is being funded by J. Wray & Nephew, a subsidiary of the Campari group, who said they hope for it to be completed by October 2017. A new theatre is also planned, along with a luxury bar, and the five-star restaurant, which will be the centrepiece of the J$1 billion plan.