Joy Spence, Master BlenderJoy Spence, Master Blender for J. Wray and Nephew in Jamaica (producers of Appleton Rums).
Q: In addition to being the Master Blender of J. Wray and Nephew limited, are you still also the General Manager of Technical and Quality services?
Yes I am the General Manager of Technical and Quality Services and in addition I am also responsible for safety and environment – as a company we are committed to green manufacturing and we are working towards ensuring that our operations are environmentally friendly.
Q: Has your role changed much in the past ten years?
My role has expanded significantly over the past ten years as I am now an Appleton Ambassador touring the world to educate consumers on the uniqueness of Appleton Jamaica rum. In addition I am also very involved in the environmental management of the Distilleries.
Q: Have the responsibilities for the three divisions of J. Wray and Nephew Limited (Agri, Kingston and Export) changed much?
There have not been any significant changes in the three Divisions.
Q: Has the production capacity increased much over the past 10 years?
We have increased our capacity by introducing a second Production shift which also has improved our efficiencies .We have also installed a new state of the art bottling line.
Q: Reflecting back to our first interview, one of your great challenges was forecasting for your 21 year old blend. How did everything work out for you? Did you face any unforeseen issues?
We have now overcome that hurdle as we have put down stocks over the years to meet the consumer demand.
Q: Has your distillation technology changed at all in the past decade? (are you, for example, capturing C02, or methane, or doing anything different?)
Our Distillation Technology has not changed however we have introduced several environmental initiatives such as using the distillery waste as fertilizer for the sugarcane and introducing real time monitoring of our water ways.
Q: One thing you addressed in our past interview was the need to change the misconception that Jamaican (as well as Guyana) rums are “heavy”. Has this been dealt with or are you still dealing with this misconception today?
As part of our education campaign we promote our Rum as being premium and sophisticated. The “heavy” concept is changing slowly.
Q: Are there any challenges Jamaica is facing in the industry? And if so, what is being done?
The biggest challenge facing the industry in Jamaica is Environmental compliance. The Industry is working through the Spirits Pool Association to achieve compliance in the shortest possible time.
Q: What is J. Wray and Nephew doing to “go green”?
J.Wray and Nephew Kingston is ISO 14000 certified (Environmental management system ) and the Appleton Distillery has set a target date of December 2012 for certification.
Q: In the past ten years, what new products have you launched? Of these products which one would you say you are the most proud of and why?
In the past ten years I have launched Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica rum, Appleton Estate Master Blenders’ Legacy, Appleton Estate Exclusive Jamaica Rum which is only available at the Appleton Estate and duty free in Jamaica and the Limited Edition Appleton Estate 30 Year Old Jamaica Rum. I am very proud of all of them, but the Appleton Estate 30 Year Old Jamaica Rum was a historical release as it was the oldest commercially available rum.
Q: If we come to your house for drinks, will you still serve us Piña Coladas?
If you come to my house for drinks I would serve an original daiquiri made with Appleton Estate Reserve Jamaica Rum.
Q: Is there a particular message you would like to share with our readers?
The Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum brand has an over 260 year heritage and all of our products are produced to the highest quality standards. Within the range we have a brand to suit every drinking occasion and every price point from Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum, which is the perfect rum for cocktails to our luxury sipping rum, Appleton Estate 21 Year Old Jamaica Rum.
We are also commit ted to developing the premium aged rum category, which is a category we were at the forefront of defining and creating well over twenty years ago with the launch of Appleton Estate V/X Jamaica Rum. We are very excited about the future of this category and with so many other rums entering this category we are confident that it will achieve the consumer recognition that it deserves.