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Angostura rum prices go up

By Leiselle Maraj Saturday, November 21 2009

The fete may not be as grand for the Christmas season this year as the suggested retail prices for all rum products from local rum distillers, Angostura Limited, have increased by just over six percent.

In a media release yesterday, the company explained the increase was necessary because of changes in production costs which were not taken into consideration over the past year.

The new price adjustments come less than three months after Finance Minister Karen Nunez- Tesheira announced in the 2010 Budget, a 15 percent increase in the excise duty on locally manufactured beer, rum and alcoholic products which led to an increase in the prices of some of these products.

Angostura explained the six percent increase meant a suggested $5 hike, for example, in the price of a 750 ml bottle of the white rum brand, White Oak, which currently retails at $72.99. Other brands include 1824, 1919, Royal Oak, Fernandes Black Label, Fernandes Vat 19, Old Oak Gold, Single Barrel and Forres Park puncheon rum which are available in various sizes. According to the release, the price of molasses, one of the main components of the rum making process, was one of the greatest changes as it has increased by almost 20 percent.

“With the traditional supplies of molasses in the region drying up, the company has been forced to look internationally for good quality molasses at what are proving to be significantly higher prices,” the company stated.

Supermarkets Association president Balliram Maharaj yesterday attributed the region’s molasses shortage to Trinidad’s exit from the sugar industry which was completed last year.

“As a result of the void left when Trinidad ceased to produce sugarcane, there has been more pressure on the other producers in the region to supply sugar and its by-products. Producers may have had stocks on hand before but with less suppliers and more demand, these stocks may not have been replenished resulting in a shortage,” he said.

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