Back in the 17th century there were in excess of 200 distilleries in Guyana with most sugar cane plantations producing their own rum. A unique mark was used to identify the rum from each of these distilleries and the ‘ICBU’ was the mark for the Dutch owned Uitvlught distillery.
Sharp fluctuations in the price of sugar resulted in the closure of some sugar estates and the consolidation of others. By 1849, only 180 of the once 380 sugar estates remained in production and by the turn of the century this was reduced to 64. The spread of Coffey’s continuous still (patented in 1831) and competition to pursue the lucrative European export markets accelerated the decline. Those sugar estates producing rums that stood out due to the quality of their product took over their less successful competitors. The consolidation continued into the 20th century and by 1970 there were just eleven sugar factories and four distilleries left in Guyana.
The process culminated in 1974-75 with the Government privatising the sugar plantations and the distilleries and amalgamating them into one large distillery owned by what was termed Guyana Liquor Corporation. The process was completed when the Enmore Distillery closed in 1993 and the formally Dutch owned Uitvlugt Distillery in 2000. The stills and other equipment from these distilleries were moved to the Diamond Distillery, leaving this as the sole surviving distillery in Guyana.