The manufacture and launching of Black Gold, Blackwell’s Fine Jamaican Rum is the latest in a long list of entrepreneurial endeavors embarked on by hotel and music business tycoon, Chris Blackwell.
The 70 year old is breathing new life into an age old family run trade of producing, bottling and distributing alcohol in Jamaica, as his own ancestors once owned and managed Jamaica’s leading rum producing firm, J Wray & Nephew.
Black Gold has been concocted using the Blackwell family recipes from the past and while it will surely be well established in the Jamaican marketplace, Blackwell has his sites set on exporting what is indeed a brand of Jamaica’s finest rum, overseas - particularly to the US and UK. In these regions, Blackwell’s reputation for impeccable business abilities are already highly recognized and respected.
Teaming up with partner Richard Kirshenbaum of New York’s Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners advertising agency, Blackwell has positioned Black Gold to become a much sought after and even coveted brand. With a track record that includes assisting in the reinvigoration of brands like: Target, Jergens and Moet & Chandon, Kirshenbaum is bound to put an extra magical touch to the business of establishing Black Gold on the global market scene.
Blackwell founded Island Records; and the world’s penchant for reggae music has been attributed to this excellent foresight of his. Born in London, he was raised in Jamaica and in 1959 turned an initial US$1,000 investment into a major recording industry conglomerate called Island Records.
Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” was his first major hit and in 1971 he signed Bob Marley to Island giving him that initial and foremost boost towards superstardom. Other rock greats like U2, Roxy Music and Sly & Robbie were also signed to the Island label that was eventually sold to PolyGram.
As a hotelier, Blackwell has established resorts that he says are, “for people who want to come and get close to the real organic feel of Jamaica.” His tourism enclaves in Jamaica include: Goldeneye in Oracabessa, The Caves in Negril and Strawberry in rural St Andrew.
Kevin Burke, Black Gold Rum spokesman told reporters recently that, “Black Gold is certainly Jamaican treasure, we are very proud to launch and firmly plant our roots in Jamaica. The unique and authentic packaging and most importantly the high quality of the rum, give us something very special to share with consumers.”