HISTORY – St. Lucia Rum | Chairman's Reserve



Saint Lucia's Finest Rum, Chairman's Reserve, is as iconic as the Piton Mountains which adorn its bottle. Pour a glass and you'll be instantly transported to the gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, miles of lush rainforest, and lively nightlife full of tradition and culture which embody Saint Lucia.

You won't find an age statement on a bottle of Chairman's Reserve. This is because we believe in the philosophy set forth by the late "Chairman" Laurie Barnard, which this quote of his can best summarize: ​ “We do not put age statements on our rums because we believe passionately that complexity and balance can only be maximized by blending old, complex, but often ‘woody’ rums with fresher but characterful rums.” ​ Though Laurie passed in 2012, his quality control and blending team continues to embrace the techniques and standards passed down to them through his tutelage. Our head blender, Deny Duplessis, tastes each batch of Chairman's reserve to ensure that the quality and consistency live up to the internationally recognized name of Chairman's Reserve - Saint Lucia's finest rum.

St. Lucia Distillers is the last remaining distillery in Saint Lucia and was a result of a merger between the two then remaining distilleries in 1972. Following the collapse of the sugar industry and the last sugar estate closing in Saint Lucia in the 1960s, previous on-island sources of molasses were extinguished. St. Lucia Distillers adapted to the times and began importing molasses from neighboring islands by tanker boat, using the convenient depth of the nearby bay, Roseau Bay, to anchor. ​ St. Lucia Distillers is globally known for its vast variety of rums due to the many tools at our disposal. Three pot stills, one Coffey column still, different raw materials, a wide variety of barrel types, two different yeast types, unique local herbs and fruits for infusions, and the hot Caribbean sun all make for an array of products of the highest quality - all of which embody the DNA of Saint Lucian rum.
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Denis Barnard builds Distillery at Dennery, on the eastern coast of the island.


St. Lucia Distillers is formed in Roseau valley as a result of a merger of the only two remaining distilleries – The Dennery Distillery and the Geest Distillery.


Rum revolutionary and “Chairman” of St. Lucia Distillers, Laurie Barnard,  son of Denis, launches Chairman’s Reserve – an innovative blend of column & pot still rums.


Groupe Bernard Hayot purchases St. Lucia Distillers and begins extensive renovations of the distillery and expansion of global distribution

Laurie Barnard

A Passion for Rum is Born

Laurie Barnard, the late “Chairman” of St. Lucia Distillers, inspired and created the iconic brand Chairman’s Reserve in 1999. His vision to define and reinvent the Saint Lucian rum category was unlike anything rum had seen before or has seen since. While other distilleries were purchasing column stills to increase production, Laurie was investing in eclectic barrel types, small pot stills, a proprietary yeast strain, and sugarcane. He believed that the best rum was not achieved from one barrel but by blending different components together of different ages, finishes, styles, and base materials.

Laurie was born in Saint Lucia in 1945 and didn’t waste any time following in his father’s footsteps in the agriculture industry. At the age of 18, he began working alongside his father Denis on the estate managing the sugarcane and banana business. Soon after, in 1969, he became GM of the vast agricultural farm which had become the largest banana farm in the Winard islands and employed over 500 people. At the same time, he also assumed responsibility for the distillery and began his love affair with rum and the endless possibilities it provided.