1635 : The French settle in Martinique. The main produce for export is coffee and cotton. The first experiments are being conducted for growing sugarcane.
1650 : Martinique already exports small quantities of sugar but this is not a profitable activity for only a small proportion of the juice is transformed into sugar.
As production increases, a solution is sought for such waste, which seems to have been solved by a factory laborer who tasted the juice which the heat and natural yeast had fermented: sugar mill molasses rum or industrial rum is born.
Arrival on the scene of Father Du Tertre who fabricates a distilling apparatus for processing the scum and rough syrup.
1694 : Father Labat invents the still. A great number of sugar factories then extend the plant to include a rum distillery.
1767 : Syrup becomes the international currency exchange.
There exist 450 sugar factories in Martinique.
1870 : Cane fields cover 57% of all farmland; several traditional sugar works pool together to form centralized factories.
But, confronted with the collapse of the sugar rates, other markets must be found:
hence appears the idea of distilling the fresh, fermented cane juice.
It is the emergence of Agricultural Rum or Habitant Rum.
To meet demands, a veritable rum industry is set up.
May 8, 1902 : Eruption of the Mount Pelee Volcano, totally destroying the town of Saint Pierre and reducing production capacity by half.
First World War : Revival of the town is well under way, factories are modernized. Rum confers courage upon the soldiers and enters into the composition of explosives: production is doubled..
1918 : Mainland France distilleries become concerned with this competitor with such low and anarchical rates: it limits imports of colonial rum by means of the 31 December, 1922 Act governing the apportioning of quotas.
Today, the Cane - Sugar – Rum sector includes approximately:
3,500 hectares planted in sugarcane
for 220,000 tons of cane grown
120,000 for the rum distilleries = 12 Million liters
80,000 for the sugar industry = 1 Million liters
+ 6,000 tons of sugar