ST GEORGE’S, Grenada — Grenada Distillers Limited (GDL), the country’s only producer of hard liquor, has had a breakthrough on the Canadian market.
GDL has made a first shipment of more than 1,100 bottles of Clarke’s Court Special Dark Rum to Canada for sale in Ontario. Alcohol in the Canadian providence is sold at stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
“Getting the product to Toronto and other parts of Ontario will certainly help in the long-term to ensure the sustainability of GDL, especially as we continue to deal with challenges on the local market, particularly the high cost of production and the illicit trade,” said GDL general manager, Ruel Edwards.
The Special Dark is available in areas of Toronto popular with Grenadians, including the North York Plaza at Keele Street and Lawrence Avenue West and in Scarborough, as well as in Ottawa, Stoney Creek, Brampton and Burlington.
“The initial push, which is what we are still engaged in, is to sensitize the Grenadian community so that they can create the pull for the product,” Edwards told a local newspaper. “Once we get our Diaspora to support the product, then it is going to grow. The local economy will benefit from foreign exchange and taxation.”
Caribupdate Weekly quotes Edwards as saying that it took almost two years – starting with a presentation to the LCBO and including product testing – to finalize arrangements to get Special Dark into the Ontario market.
“The LCBO gives producers a limited amount of time in which all the products must be sold,” Edwards said. “So, we are working with the people who already know about the product. Once this has been accomplished, then – as part of our strategy – the wider West Indian community will be targeted to participate in exploiting the availability of Clarke’s Court Special Dark in Ontario.”
Ontario is the third international market selling GDL’s alcohol products.
The Grenada company also has markets in the United Kingdom and Miami, but none in any neighbouring Caribbean country.
“The Caribbean market still remains a work in progress,” said Edwards.