Mount Gay Rum Distilleries
Mount Gay Rum is named for Sir John Gay Alleyne, 1st Baronet of Four Hills. He was a trusted friend of John Sober, who purchased the Mount Gilboa Plantation/Distilleries from William Sandiford in 1747. Sir John Gay Alleyne agreed to become the manager of the company at John Sober's request. Sir John Gay Alleyne was so effective at leading the company, and earned such a widely-respected reputation internationally as a business manager and community leader, that the company was renamed in his honour after his death in 1801 at the proposal of his longtime friend John Sober, whose estate benefited greatly over the years under Sir John Gay Alleyne's effective management. As there was already a Mount Alleyne in existence on the island of Barbados, the company was renamed Mount Gay Distilleries, incorporating the beloved Sir John Gay Alleyne's middle name. In 1757, Sir John Gay Alleyne was elected to the Parliament of Barbados, for the Parish of St. Andrew, a seat he held for the next forty years, with only a break in 1771. He became Speaker of the Barbados House of Assembly in 1767, serving until 1770 and after another two years was reappointed until 1779. Alleyne was named a Baronet of Four Hills on 6 April 1769. According to Hilary Beckles, historian and principal of the University of the West Indies - Cave Hill Campus, Sir John Gay Alleyne was a popular leader among the planter elite and a great philanthropist. He was also one of the most influential voices of his time to speak out against the institution of slavery. On 29 April 2010, while speaking at the Founder's Day service at Alleyne School, which was founded by Sir John Gay, alumnus and guest speaker Monsignor Vincent Blackett stated that Sir John Gay Alleyne should certainly be named one of Barbados’ National Heroes.
Mount Gay Rum is made from molasses and water that has been filtered through natural coral. This mix is fermented using an exclusively selected yeast and then distilled in both copper pot stills and column stills, before being aged in oak barrels.
Mount Gay Rum has been closely associated with sailing and a popular rum preference among sailors over the many years of its existence. Barbados, the most deeply British of the West Indian cultures, is often the first landfall for ships following the prevailing trade winds from Europe to the Caribbean. Despite Mount Gay being favoured by sailors worldwide, the island of Barbados is not considered to be an ideal cruising area for sailing yachts due to its open exposure to the frequent swells of both the northern and equatorial Atlantic, and the lack of generally calmer seas or the true natural harbors one finds throughout the rest of the Antilles to the west (i.e. Antigua's English Harbour, or St. Georges in Grenada).
The distributors of Mount Gay rum are sponsors of the nonprofit United States Sailing Association. They also sponsor over 110 regatta events worldwide, with approximately 50 of those based in the United States. Of these the Newport Beach to Ensenada, Mexico race is one of the largest private yacht races in the world. Mount Gay gives away distinctive red hats to top competitors at its sponsored regattas.