J. Wray & Nephew Ltd.
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Appleton Estate rum, Jamaica
J. Wray & Nephew Ltd., United Kingdom
Daniel Finzi & Co. (Suc.) Ltd.|
Edwin Charley (Jamaica) Ltd.
Rum Company (Jamaica) Ltd.
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Appleton Estate is distillery owned by J. Wray & Nephew Limited.
Wray & Nephew Group Limited have subsidiaries:
- J. Wray & Nephew Limited
- J. Wray & Nephew (International) Limited [Cayman Islands]
- Wray & Nephew (Canada ) Limited
- J. Wray & Nephew (U.K.) Limited
- J. Wray y Sobrino de Costa Rica, S. A.
- The Rum Company (Jamaica) Limited
- The Rum Company (International) Limited [Cayman Islands]
- Rum Company (New Zealand) Limited
- Daniel Finzi & Co. (Suc) Limited
- Edwin Charley (Jamaica) Limited
It all began in the year 1825 when John Wray, a wheelwright living in the parish of St. Ann on the northern side of the island, opened a tavern in Kingston. Although it did not become Jamaica's capital until 1872, Kingston was then, as it is now, a bustling seaport and the island's commercial centre. It was also the site of one of the most fashionable theatres in the New World, the Theatre Royal. A theatre which had stood here since 1775 and English touring companies would make their first call there before going north to Boston in America and the then fledging town of New York.
It was beside the Theatre Royal that John Wray set up shop, and he called it appropriately, “The Shakespeare Tavern”. The Tavern stood on the northern side of the main square, known as Parade, which was a popular meeting place for locals. Across the square from the tavern was the Parish Church and to the west a large market. John Wray had chosen his location well and there, “backed by more foresight and genius than by the slender earnings which he had accumulated over a very long period”, he realised his lifelong dream of becoming a successful rum merchant.
Wray & Nephew still operates a bar on the site of the Shakespeare Tavern, and there is still a theatre, the parish church, and the market across the square, still called Parade.
In 1860 Wray took his 22 year old nephew, Charles James Ward, into the business, and in 1862 he made him his partner. The business was known from then on as J. Wray and Nephew.
Charles James Ward was a dynamic and gifted entrepreneur, and under his leadership J. Wray and Nephew began a period of growth and prosperity. Wray retired in 1862 and died in 1870 leaving Ward as the sole proprietor of the business.
Ward developed his heritage - a tavern and liquor-dealing concern, into one of Jamaica's largest commercial enterprises, and a company that enjoyed international success . At the International Exhibition held in London in 1862, J. Wray and Nephew won three gold medals for its 10, 15 and 25 year old rums. The Company's rums also won several awards and prizes at international exhibitions in Paris - 1878, Amsterdam - 1883, New Orleans - 1885 and Jamaica 1891.
In 1863 the headquarters of the business was moved from the Shakespeare tavern, which was located in a mainly residential area, to larger premises on Port Royal Street. The Port Royal Street premises was conveniently located near the wharves where the wind-driven droghers, and later the coastal steamers, unloaded the barrels of rum from the sugar estates. J. Wray and Nephew's new location also had the advantage of being located in the heart of Jamaica's commercial area, near the country's major bank and across the road from the general post office.
The Years in Between
By the time of Colonel Ward's death in 1913, the Company had acquired three sugar estates - Carlisle, Greenwich and Monymusk, and had secured the local distribution rights for a number of well-known brands, some of which it still represents today.
After his death Colonel Ward left his estate to be administered by trustees, and in 1916 the trustees sold the estate to Lindo Brothers & Co. Ltd. Shortly after acquiring Wray and Nephew, Lindo Brothers & Co. Ltd. purchased the Appleton Estate in St. Elizabeth, and in 1917 they expanded the factory and distillery operations at the Estate. Wray and Nephew, under the management of Lindo Brothers & Company Ltd., also built two additional warehouses to store and age rums, and added an electric bottling line and bottle washing machine to its Kingston operations. Just before the Second World War, in 1939, Lindo Brothers & Company sold Wray and Nephew to Mr. Percy Lindo and his family.
During the Second World War, whiskey was in short supply, and experiments were carried out at the Appleton Estate to produce a rum that would serve as a substitute. The results of these experiments was "Appleton Estate Special," a smooth, light and fragrant rum that proved to be extremely popular with Jamaicans. "Appleton Estate Special," which was renamed "Appleton Special" in the mid 1990's, is still very popular with Jamaicans and, through the Company's export efforts, is a favourite throughout the world.
Throughout the 1940's and 1950's Wray and Nephew continued to modernise and expand its operations, both at the Estates and the Kingston operations, to handle the Company's growing production requirement.
In 1957 Percy Lindo's two sons, who had since taken over the management of the company, sold out to a syndicate that included some of the principal shareholders of the Lascelles deMercado Group. The new owners moved the Company's headquarters from Port Royal Street in the centre of downtown Kingston to a new complex on Spanish Town Road on the outskirts of the city in 1971. Wray and Nephew's offices are still located at this complex.
The economic conditions that prevailed in Jamaica during the late 1970's and early 1980's adversely affected the Company's plans for growth and expansion, however this changed when a new Government that emphasised the development of local industry, and in particular the export sector, came into power.
Wray and Nephew's recent history has been a history of dynamic growth and development. The Company was acquired as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Lascelles, deMercado Group in 1989, and following on this acquisition, Wray and Nephew has moved to position itself to meet the challenges of the twenty first century.
Recognizing the potential for Appleton Jamaica Rum internationally, the Company focused its efforts on growing this brand on the world market through the development of international marketing and distribution channels and the introduction of new Appleton brands.
Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum, the flagship brand of the Appleton family, was introduced in 1987, and Appleton 12 year old Rare Old Jamaican Rum, which was immensely popular, particularly with liquor connoiseurs, was repackaged and relaunched a few years later. Both have enjoyed success both in Jamaica and throughout the world. In late 1996 the luxury brand Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum, a smooth sipping rum, was also introduced.
Since its founding, Wray and Nephew has enjoyed a tradition of excellence and has consistently produced spirits of the highest quality. With the emerging global economy and the need to meet the competitive demands that such an economy would bring, Wray and Nephew accepted the challenge to become certified by the International Standards Organization. The International Standards Organization is a special non-governmental organization that develops international technical agreements that are published as international standards.
In June 1995, Wray and Nephew embarked on an intensive programme to meet the requirements of the International Standards Organization, and in January 1996 the Company received ISO 9002 certification. The Company is now undergoing a major upgrading and expansion programme to meet the world's demand for Appleton Jamaica Rum, the finest rum in the world.
The first record of rum production at Appleton Estate was in 1749. It has been part of the Wray & Nephew portfolio of rum since 1916. Recently upgraded, it makes pot- and collumn-still rums.
Appleton Estate is the oldest and most famous of all of Jamaica's sugar estates. It is nestled in the fertile Nassau Valley on either side of the Black River in the Southwest of Jamaica.
The origins of Appleton Estate date back to 1655 when the English captured Jamaica from the Spaniards. Frances Dickinson, whose grandsons Caleb and Ezekiel were the earliest known owners of the Appleton Estate, took part in that conquest of Jamaica, and it is believed that Appleton Estate was part of the land grant that Dickinson received as reward for his services.
Appleton Estate was an established rum-producing sugar plantation by the year 1749, and it has been in continuous operation for two and a half centuries.
Today, Appleton Estate comprises a total of nearly 4,614 hectares (I 1,402 acres) with 1,500 hectares (3707 acres) in sugarcane cultivation. It also has its own sugar factory and rum distillery which are among the most modern and well equipped in Jamaica. The factory can produce up to 160 tons of sugar per day, and the distillery has a production capacity of ten million litters of rum on an annual basis from both pot stills and column stills.
Appleton Estate Rums are a unique style of rum produced only in Jamaica. Estate rums date back to the days of the old plantations, when special rums were developed exclusively for the tables of the estate's absentee owners. Wray and Nephew still makes this style of rum at Appleton Estate and controls every aspect of production.
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