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A Story of RUM

The Place

July 30, 2005

Waves gently lap the shore in a cove surrounded by steep cliffs overlooking the sea. It is late autumn on Minamidaito Island in the southern seas of Japan, and a gentle fall breeze wafts through the sugarcane fields that permeate the isle. The same sugarcane became synonymous with this island and has played a central role in its history.

Minamidaito Island was originally discovered by Russian mariners aboard the ship "Borodino" in 1820. Originally referred to as South Borodino Island on maps, it was first settled in 1899 when Han'emon Tamaki of Hachijo Island, Japan led a group of volunteers to the island. Through subsequent years, the island's population grew and the sugarcane and sugar refining businesses took hold.

Following the Second World War and the subsequent geopolitical events of the era, life returned to normal on the now Minamidaito Island of Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

Sugarcane was still the main agricultural crop of the island and continues to be grown there to this very day. A "sugar train" railway was built encircling the island to accommodate transport of the crop, and was still in use as recently as 1986. Minamidaito Island is also unique in that vintage sugarcane-picking machines originally imported from Australia are still used, a rarity in the world.

The Concept

July 30, 2005

Grace Rum founder and CEO Yuko Kinjo sometime a while back was sitting in a friend's bar and wanted to try something different than the norm. The friend suggested she try rum. Ms. Kinjo agreed, and found that she thoroughly enjoyed the spirit's taste and ambiance.

She then began researching the history of rum, and discovered that most traditional rums have come from the Caribbean isles. Noting distinct similarities between the isles dotting the Caribbean and the island groups comprising Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan from where she hails - a shared history of sugarcane and sugar production being a main one - an idea began to take shape, that of "Why not make rum right here, a unique spirit made completely of local ingredients?"

At the same time, the Minamidaito Island Chamber of Commerce was also exploring the possibility of getting into the Rum making business. Fate, as it often does, brought Yuko Kinjo and Minamidaito Island together in the form of a chance encounter. Quickly realizing their shared mutual goals, they set out to realize their dream of locally-produced, premier rum that would redefine the genre.

The Rum

July 30, 2005

A project team representing the collaborators was formed in August 2002. After studying various rum-making techniques and following many back-and-forth research and observatory visits between Okinawa's main island and Minamidaito, Grace Rum Co., Ltd. was born on March 1, 2004. Headquartered on Minamidaito and with a branch office in Naha City on Okinawa's main island, the company set out to light the rum world on fire.

A factory was established at the former Minamidaito Airport site, thus production began on Grace Rum's three distinct products. A 20-year veteran distiller was brought aboard to oversee production, a process that requires meticulous attention to detail.

From the beginning, Grace Rum has focused on one important point - a commitment to excellence. While other mass produced rums - well-known ones at that - use the leftovers following the sugar refining process, Grace Rum uses "cream of the crop" fresh sugarcane to form the foundation of our product line, resulting in a distinct taste and bouquet found nowhere else but in our rums.

Because we only use the freshest ingredients, and because sugarcane is harvested but once a year, our rums truly are premium spirits. Production is limited to the amount of available sugarcane in any given year, a fact not insignificant considering Minamidaito must brave the elements in the form of typhoons that are known to hit the island on occasion. Our rums are literally limited editions.

Our rum pays homage to the original discoverers of the island, with South Borodino Island written and displayed prominently on our label. From those beginnings many years ago, to this day and into the future, we strive to provide a memorable taste experience through our product.

We'll be the first to admit that our rums are not for everyone. However, if you're the type that enjoys a fine beverage, the type that appreciates the extra effort in delivering a unique experience, then Grace Rum's products may just be for you. Give one of our rums a try, and know why discerning drinkers everywhere are discovering that we are truly "everything rum should be."

Head Office / Factory
39-1 Kyuto, Minamidaito-son, Shimajiri-gun, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan 901-3803
TEL: +81 (0) 98-022- 4112
FAX: +81 (0) 98-022- 4113
Naha Office
102 Konsheru-nishi, Nishi, Naha-shi, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan 900-0036
TEL: +81 (0) 98-941-3610
FAX: +81 (0) 98-941-3611

Copyright © 2004-2005 Grace Rum Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.