6 stages of rum production

Pressing and extraction

Sugar cane is mostly cut by machine, then chopped into small pieces and pressed four times. With each pressing, water is added to ensure all the juice is collected. By the time it reaches the fourth press, all that is left of the cane is a dry residue, known as “bagasse”. This is used as fuel to heat the distillation columns.

Fermentation

The juice is sent to the vats. Yeast and ammonium sulphate are added to speed up the fermentation process. Inside the vats, cooling coils are used to keep the juice at a maximum temperature of 32 to 33 degrees celsius. After one day, the juice has an alcohol content of 5 to 6 proof.

Distillation

The juice then proceeds to the distillation column. Each part of the column is heated to a different temperature. When the juice is heated, the alcohol vapor rises and enters the condensers, which contain water to cool down the vapor. This converts the vapor into a liquid – rum! The remaining juice is known as “vinasse”. It goes into evaporators to be heated up. Since it contains no alcohol, it evaporates into water, which is used to cool down the condensers and the coils in the vats. The remaining concentrated vinasse is mixed with the cane remnants and used to make fertilizer.

Storage

The rum leaves the distillation column at 80 proof. It is left to rest for two to three months, during which time the alcohol evaporates. Distilled water is then added to bring it down to 50-55 proof.

Maturing

Part of the rum is matured in oak barrels. The brown color of aged rum comes from the wood tannins. “amber rum” has to spend six to twelve months in barrels. As for “aged rum”, this must mature for a minimum of three years. As rum ages, the alcohol content diminishes and it becomes increasingly pleasant on the palate.

Bottling

On the bottling line, the bottles are rinsed with rum. They are then filled, labeled, boxed and packed onto pallets which are covered in plastic film to be sent to around forty countries.

Faustine François

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *