Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Wray & Nephew agro-processing permits renewed

Published:Friday | October 14, 2016 | 10:00 AMSteven Jackson
The Appleton Estate complex.

Planning approvals published by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) that appear to give the go-ahead to new capital projects, including a distillery and brewery, have been described by spirits company J. Wray & Nephew (JWN) as nothing more than a renewal of its current permits.

NEPA, in notices published on its website, disclosed that it approve "Construction and operation of agro-processing facilities (including for coffee, citrus, cocoa, coconut and sugar cane). Construction and operation of distillery, brewery and fermenting facilities at Appleton Estate, Siloah, St Elizabeth".

However, on Thursday, JWN said the notice is a reference to its application for renewal of its permits - citing application numbers 2016-11017-EP00198 (Agro-processing) and 2016-11017-EP00199 (Distillery).

"These applications were made in relation to the renewal of the multiyear operating permit for Appleton Estate distillery and factory, as the existing permits will expire shortly," said JWN public affairs manager Chloleen Daley-Muschett via email.

"The operations at J. Wray & Nephew Limited remain unchanged," she said.

Daley-Muschett further affirmed that the company "has no plans to construct a brewery".

JWN is a player in the Jamaican beer market, but only as local distributor of Stag beer made by Carib Brewery of Trinidad & Tobago - an arrangement that was announced in May 2015.

JWN at one time - long before its acquisition by Gruppo Campari - had developed and launched its own beer, Kingston 62, which went flat in four years and was eventually pulled from the market in 2010.

The Jamaican spirits company, then known as Lascelles deMercado, did not manufacture Kingston 62 itself, but outsourced it to Big City Brewing. The latter company and its own beer, called Real Rock, also folded later.

The domestic beer market grew by at least half since JWN pulled out in 2010. Locally made Red Stripe continues to dominate the market.

Jamaica represented 4.5 per cent or €33 million of Campari's net sales for six months ending June 2016. The Italian company reported €743 million in overall sales for the period. JWN makes a series of rums, led by its flagship Appleton brand.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com