Q:  Gary, can you please briefly describe the multi-generational journey of your family from Europe to the Virgin Islands and how rum became the family business?

  • In the late 18th century, the Nelthropp family arrived on the beautiful island of St. Croix – the southernmost and largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands – where they quickly became interested in its thriving sugar industry.
  • The Cruzan Rum Distillery, located at Estate Diamond, dates back to 1760 and has been in continuous operation since Prohibition ended. The Nelthropps became partners of the distillery in 1953 and have been running the facility for the last 50 years. Today, the distillery is the home of Cruzan® Rum, one of the world’s “cleanest” premium rums.


2) What is it that makes Cruzan rums unique? Is there an element of terroir?

  • Cruzan_Distillery 10Quality is one of the main differentiators for Cruzan, both in the way the rum is ade and the way it tastes. Cruzan has a very specific standard that has to be met for its distillates.
  • All Cruzan light and dark rums are aged and distilled exclusively in St. Croix– the fermentation, distillation and aging process all take place at the St. Croix facility.
  • We craft our rums using only natural ingredients and a unique five-column distillation process to remove unwanted impurities from the spirit, making Cruzan one of the “cleanest rums” on the market.
  • Cruzan has perfected the art of balancing, blending and aging rums, which is why it’s considered a high quality spirit and touted as one of the cleanest rums on the market.


3) Cruzan flavored rums have led the subcategory in terms of critical acclaim. Without giving away proprietary information, how do you achieve such true-to-source flavorings?

  • • Cruzan Rum likes to stay close to its roots when it comes to flavor innovations. The flavors reflect the Caribbean spirit of St. Croix. Using only the purest natural ingredients and a unique five-column distillation process, Cruzan produces an authentic tasting spirit with a light distinctive taste.


4) Cruzan carries a Black Strap Rum while many other producers no longer do. Can you explain the historical significance of Black Strap Rum?

  • Cruzan Black Strap is a must-have product for mixologists and bartenders across the country, and they love it for its versatility.  Many use it as a unique base for cocktails because of its strong molasses flavor. Cruzan Black Strap can also be used as a floater in tropical drinks, such as a Mai Tai.


5) Could you elaborate on both the Single Barrel and Estate Diamond expressions and how you see them fitting the needs of contemporary drinkers?

  • Cruzan Single Barrel Rum uses a unique blend of vintage rums that have been aged for up to 12 years and bottled one cask at a time. The term “single barrel” refers to the fact that after its initial aging, the rum is picked and blended before it is barreled for a second time in new American oak barrels and slowly aged again.
  • The Cruzan Estate Diamond rums – consisting of a light and dark variant – were originally created by Hardy Nelthropp, who served as the Cruzan Master Distiller from 1959-2007, and bottled the rum to share with his close friends on St. Croix.
  • Cruzan Single Barrel, Estate Diamond Light and Estate Diamond Dark are all part of the recently released Distiller’s Collection, a line of super-premium, blended aged rums.
  • Rum is incredibly versatile – ranging from spiced to flavored and light to dark. People are finding that rum is an excellent base for cocktails, such as the Old Fashioned, and are coming to appreciate how products like the Cruzan Distiller’s Collection can add a new depth of flavor to a classic cocktail.