The West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers’ Association Inc. (WIRSPA) is an ‘association of associations’ in that it represents distillers associations from across the ACP Caribbean*. WIRSPA is governed by a Board of Directors which meets several times a year. The Chairmanship rotates and is the subject of an annual election. The current Chairman is Dr. Frank Ward who is from Barbados. WIRSPA is currently implementing, on behalf of the CARIFORUM group of countries, a major EU funded project to modernise and stimulate the rum industry in the ACP Caribbean - the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector. One of the outcomes of this programme is the creation of an Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque.
*ACP stands for ‘Africa, Caribbean and Pacific’. The ACP Caribbean states are the countries that are signatories of the Lomé Convention signed in 1975. This was superseded by the Cotonou Agreement in June 2000.
Role & Vision
Our role is to promote the development of Caribbean rum as a premium category and to represent the interests of our member associations and in turn their member companies. This work includes trade facilitation and advocacy. WIRSPA also assists its members in improving methods of production through training seminars and the work of a technical committee that meets to discuss issues of common interest.
Our vision is to see rums carrying the Authentic Caribbean Rum Marque in the top tier of the world drinks market, to ensure that trade customers understand the qualities that make Authentic Caribbean Rum worthy of its place in their portfolio and for consumers to recognise and appreciate the diversity and quality inherent within Authentic Caribbean Rum.
WIRSPA is managed by a Board of Directors that consists of the head of each of the national rum producer associations that make up the membership of WIRSPA. The Board meets several times a year to discuss industry issues. A Programme Management Unit, reporting to the Board of Directors, manages the implementation of the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector.
WIRSPA is recognised regionally and internationally as the voice of the ACP Caribbean rum industry and the organisation works closely with the CARICOM Secretariat, CARIFORUM and Caribbean Governments to ensure that the industry’s position is fully taken into account in all relevant forums.
WIRSPA has a joint accord with CIRT-DOM, the rum industry in the French Overseas Departments (DOM) and is a partner member of The European Spirits Organisation (CEPS) which represents the interests of all European spirits producers. WIRSPA is also a member of the World Spirits Alliance which represents spirits producers’ interests in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean.
Energy, Waste Treatment and the Environment
WIRSPA actively encourages best practice in energy efficiency, waste treatment and environmental protection. In addition to providing technical assistance on these issues the Integrated Development Programme for the Caribbean Rum Sector has co-financed a number of initiatives in several ACP Caribbean countries.
Corporate Social Responsibility
WIRSPA encourages all its member associations and associated members to be fully aware of their responsibilities to their wider communities and adopt both responsible and ethical business practices. This includes sound corporate governance and awareness of the impact of activities on employees, consumers, communities, stakeholders and the environment.
Alcohol has long played an integral part in most societies and the place of rum in the social, cultural and historical make up of the Caribbean is well documented. However, WIRSPA is acutely aware of the potential impact, on both individuals and society, of inappropriate consumption. WIRSPA is committed to working towards minimising such behaviour in order to make responsible drinking a valued and enjoyable part of life in a modern, responsible society.
A key area of concern for educators, law enforcers and governments is the advertising and promotion of alcohol. WIRSPA fully supports the initiatives of The European Spirits Organisation, CEPS, and the World Spirits Alliance and has developed its own Code of Practice for Responsible Advertising and Marketing of Spirit Drinks.