2014 Update: While Pyrat Rum still exists, the Anguilla factory is closed for now. You can still find the original Pyrat served in many Anguilla establishments. The Pumphouse still offers Pyrat as one of their many fine choices of rum.
You can also still purchase Pyrat on-island at Lake's and the liquor store next to Geraud's.
The original building remains the base of the Sandy Ground hill if you look right on your way down to Sandy Ground.
For roughly two centuries now, the world has been enjoying Anguilla rums. My Dad, of course has particular knowledge in this area, having sampled rum punches in many fine Anguilla establishments (ahem!).
In the 1800s, C.J. Planter, an English sailor, abandoned ship for an unknown, unnamed, Caribbean island. He met a cane grower and his beautiful daughter. C.J. was smitten.
The cane grower took C.J. into his home and treated him as his very own son. All went well and C.J. and the daughter were soon married.
One evening, disaster struck. The cane grower died in a fire at his plantation house. He left everything to C.J. and his beautiful young wife.
Together with C.J.'s mother-in-law (who dabbled in magic and witchcraft), they created Anguilla's first local rum, building the first rum factory on the island. They called this new Anguillian beverage "Pyrat Rum".
This rum grew in popularity. It spread through the Caribbean, and then throughout Europe. Many claimed that this special rum held "mystical powers". Pirates and merchants fought over and traded it.
Fast forward two hundred years. Anguilla rums are still highly prized. What are their most famous brands?
The Planters Gold Pyrat XO Reserve and Pyrat Cask 23 (named after the original fans of their rums) brings you those original blends from so long ago. And, the Pyrat Planters Gold XO Reserve rum was a gold medal winner at the American Tasting Awards.
So, the next time you take a spin past the Sandy Ground roundabout, and down towards Sandy Ground, keep an eye open on your right for this sign...
Anguilla Rums HQ
The old stone building, upon which the sign hangs, creates Anguilla rums. The factory is also open to the public. They host tours and give tasting opportunities within.
Do stop and pay them a visit if they're open. You'll have to be lucky or call ahead it you want to get a tour.
We showed up one afternoon prepared for our first encounter with Anguilla Rums. Upon stepping out of our car, the scent of alcohol pierced the air. It grew stronger as we entered the factory. (My Dad's eyes glazed over -- he seemed to be in a trance. Ha! Ha!)
But, to our disappointment, they weren't holding tours or Anguilla rum tasting sessions that day. Testing Anguilla rums would have to wait for next time!
Don't feel too sorry for us. My Mom and Dad are quite resourceful. They didn't need the tour to test Anguilla rums!
And so, they thank (and you will, too) C.J. Planter for jumping ship, finding the love of his life, and starting this fine family of Anguilla rums.