Founded in 1926, R L Seale & Company Limited is a fourth generation, 100% Barbadian family-owned business whose flagship operation, Foursquare Distillery, is one of the world’s few remaining independent rum producers. In the modern era, under the stewardship of current Chairman Sir David Seale and CEO and Head Distiller Richard Seale, Foursquare has earned high regard for the integrity of its brand and the high quality of its products.
In 2021, Foursquare Distillery achieved unprecedented success at the world’s oldest and most prestigious awards event, the International Wines & Spirits Competition (IWSC). Out of a select group of just seven international rums that were awarded the highest Gold Outstanding medals - chosen from over 90 countries worldwide - Foursquare earned the rare distinction of winning five of them.
In recognition of such an outstanding overall performance, Foursquare Distillery was presented with the much sought-after industry award of the 2021 Outstanding Spirits Producer Trophy, ahead of leading international producers of all other spirits. This particular accolade has propelled Foursquare Distillery into the very highest echelon of spirits producers.
Winning the 2021 Outstanding Spirits Producer Trophy was not just a victory for Foursquare, it was also a victory for Barbados and the rum industry as a whole. The best of rum can compete with any spirit. We have the most aromatic raw material, the most complex fermentation, the most sophisticated artisanal distillation process, and we have the best climate to mature the finished product. Rum was the dominant and most desired spirit in the world in the 17th and 18th centuries. And while it is still under-appreciated today, it is gradually regaining its rightful place alongside the world’s best whiskies and cognacs.
Barbados is to rum what Scotland is to whisky and France is to brandy, so we have heritage on our side. We are rum purists at Foursquare and our pot still method dates right back to the 1640s, yet we have successfully embraced innovation to do things better without changing our core philosophy. We have recently invested in a new pot still that we had handmade by specialists in Italy. We have developed a still that is at heart a traditional double retort pot still, but yet also incorporates several innovations.
We have improved the still’s performance by the use of more sophisticated copper surfaces - which have been developed by the University of Siena Research Centre in collaboration with R L Seale - and a high precision control system. But the real breakthrough is that the new still operates under a vacuum. So, instead of distilling at 100 degrees, we can now distil at about 80 degrees. As far as I know, ours is the first traditional rum still anywhere in the world to operate under vacuum.
That is very much the Foursquare way. It’s not about being new or different, it’s all about doing it well. We take whatever steps are necessary to ‘do it well’. Foursquare produces high quality, specialized artisanal rums, not high volume products. Our column still, in particular, could run more, but it’s fine-tuned to produce the very high quality of rum we aspire to. So, I’m not going to produce more at the cost of losing that desired quality. While we are a small player in terms of the global market, we have established a gilded reputation as one of the best rum producers in the world. If we focus on exporting premium quality rums, we can compete with anyone globally. We want Foursquare to be recognised as the one of the best spirit producers in the world.
That is not a trite objective, we are constantly pushing the envelope to compete against the very best of all the other spirits. And, so far, we are being successful.