Belize is part of Central America but its coast is on the Caribbean sea, so Rum is entrenched in its alcohol habits since ever. It’s not that it jumps to your eyes everywhere like in Jamaica, but you will easily find it and with very affordable prices.
Belize Rum Industry nowadays is dominated by Travellers, a company that Mr. Omario Perdomo started mid-century with a bar of imported beverages for travellers in the centre of the former capital, Belize City. Those days were also when the sugar cane industry sky rocked, so a lot of Belizean decided to start doing their own distillates, and Mr. Omario Perdomo of Travellers Bar was no different, deciding to homemade his own rums. Travellers Rum was born and nowadays they have more than 20 products in their line (including, bitters and vodka) that are distributed massively around the country.
Surprisingly, the best rum seller in the country does not belong to Travellers but the second family that rules the Spirits industry in Belize: the Cuello Liquors. It’s called Caribbean Gold and we think their success formula is making a very mellow gold rum than anyone can drink neat or mixed, as it is much smoother than any white rum counterpart and it’s almost as cheap as water.
The family I referred before owns the other two major distilleries of the country, Cuello and L&R, and are both located close to Orange Walk Town. They are two separate companies as the brothers split their affairs in the past. Unfortunately, either because I only used email or because they don’t own much to administrative organisation, it was not possible for us to do a visit to the distilleries. We managed just to see from the outside L&R distillery, but because they don’t produce for most of the year (we were in low season) it was impossible to do a proper tour.
On the other hand, Travellers is much more organised and even ready for tourism as they organise tours for the cruise ships. They don’t do official visits to the distillery unless you are a professional on the subject like Camper English, but they have a small Rum Museum close to the warehouse where they do the ageing and bottling process.
The tour is interesting in terms of history of the company and rum in general in Belize, and we can freely taste all the company’s line of products, which is something that must be done with your stomach full. We did not have much access to the distillation process itself, so I cannot talk much about its particularities.
During the visit, one thing called my attention as I never heard about it being done the way it is done in Travellers: manually recycling used bottles. It’s an admirable action and I’m sure not profitable the way it is done, but following the words of the tour guide, it’s the company’s effort to give back to the community and environment. In another place, it would sound like green marketing rubbish, but being done so manually and ineffectively like it is done here, we felt like it was for the right cause.
We had the chance to taste most of the rums and we tried to evaluate them using the Dykstra Method. This method was created by Chip Dykstra and we’ve started to use it after looking extensively for the many different options of spirits evaluation. The website of the author with its method can be found here.
Caribbean Gold by Cuello Distilleries Review
One Barrel Rum by Travellers Review
Five Barrel Rum by Travellers Review
When we lived in the Cayman Islands, we had the chance to drink and visit a quite recent and modernised Brewery that had imported most of the equipment and knowledge from Germany (even the brewmaster). Caybrew was not a premium beer, but was well above compared with the local rum production.
Apparently, the only Belizean Brewery also caught the modernisation bus, and even though we did not managed to visit, we could see from the outside they meant business.
According to their website and this video, they have state of the art equipment, which was a shame we were not able to visit because once more email was not an effective way of communication. The Belikin brewery has 4 (or 5) products in its line: a standard Lager, a Stout, a light version called Lighthouse and a premium beer called Premium. The fifth product is surprisingly a Guinness, the Foreign Extra, that they produce under the licence of the Guinness Brand, which we also tried but were not very convinced.
Once again the pilsner ingredients beer (do not confuse with the more hoppy pilsner style) is done with reasonable quality, with some flavour and keeping a good freshness. They do not need the type of imported beers, like Heineken, as their national beer is more than competent.
We’ve tried them and now present our personal reviews:
Belikin Lager by Belikin Review
Belikin Stout by Belikin Review