There were over 300 distilleries in British Guiana producing their own unique rums, each identified by a specific marque* identifying its origin (e.g. Uitvlugt - ICBU, Port Mourant - PM, Enmore - EHP).
Only nine consolidated distilleries remained active producing rums. These estates and their marques were: (Albion – AN, Blairmont – B, La Bonne Intention – LBI, Skeldon – SWR, Uitvlugt – ICBU, Versailles – VSG, Enmore – EHP, Diamond – SVW, and Port Mourant (PM)). Consolidation occurred throughout the years until the final merger.
Rum distilling companies were totally owned by the British companies Booker-McConnell Bookers and Sandbach-Parker’s Company, producers of bulk rum. Later, after Guyana gained its independence, both distilling companies became public companies as shares were sold to Guyanese institutions and the general public.
Following independence, the two remaining companies transitioned from British to Guyanese ownership –and became Guyana Distilleries Limited (GDL) and Diamond Liquors Limited (DLL) – as the government acquired shares. At the time, the companies began to bottle products for the local market.
Guyana Distilleries Limited and Diamond Liquors Limited merged to form Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), in a move to rationalise and consolidate their operations. After the merger, from 1983 – 1990, DDL concentrated on consolidating the previous two companies and upgrading the distilleries. The Diamond Distillery at the time was home to the various stills, equipment and expertise transferred from the distilleries that were no longer in operation. The preservation of heritage and the handing down of skills from generation to generation has also been a hallmark of DDL.
DDL began to expand its operations to further reduce its dependence on bulk commodity rums. The company utilized its expertise in the bottling sector, along with its well-established distribution network. DDL took advantage of the Carbon Dioxide gas it produced as a by-product of the distillation process and started to compete in the carbonated beverages industry. The company then began producing its own brand of SOCA flavoured beverages and Diamond Water.
The El Dorado range of Demerara Rums was launched as a premium quality aged rum: starting with the El Dorado 15 Year Old Special Reserve. This rum pioneered the introduction of El Dorado onto the world marketplace.
DDL began bottling under franchise for PEPSI cola and Slice - thus further cementing its transition from a commodity-oriented business to a brandfocused company.
Final merger of last remaining estates and the transfer of the remaining stills and expertise to the Diamond Distillery on the East Bank of the Demerara River.
Today, Demerara Distillers Limited is one of the leading manufacturing companies in Guyana. The company produces and distributes an extensive portfolio of local and international spirits and beverage brands.