St. Croix to get mega-distillery

Diageo, the world's largest spirits, wine and beer company, has signed an agreement with tiny St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin islands to construct and operate a high capacity distillery.

It will begin making rum in 2011, and by the following year is projected to supply all bulk rum used to make Captain Morgan branded products for the U.S. market.

It is estimated that the distillery will have capacity to distill up to 20 million proof gallons per year, and the 30-year commitment is expected to provide a major economic stimulus for the entire Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"This agreement, when ratified by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands, marks the greatest single financial step forward we have taken in this territory in 50 years," said V.I. Gov. John P. deJongh Jr. "This will bring jobs and a tremendous future stream of revenue, a long-term source of funds that will go far towards solving many of the challenges we face as a territory."

Presently, the Virgin Islands rum industry is limited to Cruzan production.

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