I’ll be honest, mates – numbers and figures make my head hurt. But take a gander at Cap’n Jimbo’s writeup about massive rum subsidies that provide an unfair competitive advantage to three huge rum producers at the expense of the little guys and I think you’ll agree it looks a right mess. An excerpt:
Then things got much, much worse when the USVI instituted a “rum war” against Puerto Rico last year. What happened is almost unthinkable. The USVI gave Diageo nearly $3 Billion – not million, billion! – in subsidies. These subsidies were so rich that they amount to more than double the cost of actually producing rum! Diageo is actually being paid to produce rum. The USVI also gifted Fortune Brands (Cruzan) $1 Billion, yes billion – for all manner of free improvements and facilities, including a guarantee that Cruzan can buy molasses for just 16 cents/gallon – far under the market price of $2.00/gallon that the Caribbean producers must pay.
The risk is that we lose the small rums we all love, and are left with naught but a few mega-rums, one of which is Bacardi of all things (crikey, I might have to go back to drinking water instead.)