Mark Callwood is the son of Michael Callwood, the owner and operator of Callwood Rum Distillery in Cane Garden Bay, and works in the family business.
The following are his words, condensed and edited by reporter Claire Shefchik.
This room we’re in goes back to the 1600s; it’s more than 400 years old. We still make rum here from sugarcane juice. I’m part of the Callwood family.
Growing up in a rum distillery, I always got rum. Every time I wanted to I could come and take a little bit and drink. Not too much: I don’t really drink rum like that.
Growing up here was a lot of work. My first memory was crushing the sugarcane at the back. We had to go out there. I had to go out there and help my dad cut the sugarcane.
The cane leaves are very sharp so you have to wear long-sleeved shirts and stuff. I got cut from it. We still do that. All the cane we use comes from small patches of sugarcane around here.
All those banana trees and the sugarcane — everything that was growing out there was flat on the ground, so what we had to do with the banana leaves when it fall down, we had to cut it off and let the new ones grow.
That took about five months. Banana trees, they grow very fast. When they’re getting a lot of water they grow very fast.
This is a new roof we got. This whole roof came right off. This whole room was open, the windows and doors. This is a new bar and new shelves.
It took six months to get this fixed up. After the storm, we were mostly doing the cleanup. A lot of stuff to clean up.
The biggest challenge was with this roof right here, because a lot of wood we had to carry up there. And these [scars] right here and here: The glass window cracked and something came and [broke] apart the window.
The glass cut me up. I was home. I live right up there. [On our house], just the porch and the roof had to get repaired. Only one or two windows broke.
My favourite kind of rum is the Arundel White Rum. It’s not sweet; it’s smooth. This one here’s a pineapple rum: We just make this one here not too long ago, made from pineapple juice.
We have one that we take and soak it in some roots. It’s very good for the men. It was one of the workers’ ideas: Kervin, he worked here for like 16 years. He came here when I was a little kid.
I have another brother and he might be the one to run this place. I want to branch out, you know? I’m 21; I turn 22 next month. I like to work on engines and stuff. I want to be an engineer.
Sometime I go out on the beach and cool out; call out some of my friends and just chill, you know? Sometimes on weekends we go out there with them boys out there and we go fishing. I love fishing. It’s a lot of waiting, you know? We do line fishing and stuff.
My friends have a boat. [It survived] the storm. That’s their business; they do fishing with it; they sell fish. You got to protect it.
Paradise on the beach, that’s the only place that has nightlife [in Cane Garden Bay]. The Tourist Board always wants to throw a party here and mix up the different rums; mix up all the rums with different juices and blend it up and give it to people to try.
We are getting more and more visitors now, but it’s not a lot like we used to get, because we usually get a lot of cruise ship passengers and we aren’t getting any ships right now. Hopefully they’ll be coming back in a couple months.
They say [the cruise ship representatives] came, but we haven’t seen them. Quito has been trying to work on his building.
When he gets open it’s going to get much better. That’s what we need. We need more life.