From Jamaica to Cuba to Florida
Rum is in our Heritage...
it's in our Roots
Our Jamaican Heritage
Our story begins on the Caribbean island of Jamaica, in the West Indies, back in the 1600’s with the Wright family. The Wrights were living on the south side of the island in the parish of St. Elizabeth in a town named after the family. At the time, Wright Town stretched from the hills of Spur Tree to the beaches of Treasure Beach and Newell. The Wrights were serial entrepreneurs selling cattle and grew peanuts, onions, melons and scallion and of course sugar.
The earliest Wrights are documented to be those who appear on the 1684 map of the east bank of Rio Minho and were sugar and Indigo producers. In the late 17th C, indigo was a rare and valuable dye and was one of the first export crops grown in Jamaica. In 1670, our ancestors are on record as buying 100 acres of sugar plantation land. Due to Tax changes on Indigo, the crops on the island shifted more towards sugar and the Wrights were said to have purchased more land all the way down to Black River and Savanna La Mar.
The Cuba Connection
In the 1740’s the British made Jamaica into the worlds main sugar producers. Since then, Jamaican history has been filled with stories of large sugar plantations, giant homes with slaves working long hours in the sugar cane fields cutting and stripping cane to make Rum. One of the lesser-known things about Jamaica was that while in other parts of the world, slavery was the norm, however, in Jamaica, many of the plantation owners were in fact people of color who did not own slaves. Back then, the Plantations ran the show. However, down in the southern part of the island, the Wrights were humbly farming away.
Our more recent Jamaican family were livestock farmers. Our grandfather was a cattleman and sold crops from his property as one of the best salesmen in the area. It was here that the idea to start producing rum formed.
The Wrights were humble people who worked the sugar and cattle to sustain their family. When opportunities for better pay came to Jamaicans by the building of Cuba’s railroads, some of the elder Wrights headed off to Cuba. The Wrights that went to Cuba tried hard to stay in connection with their Jamaican family however back then communication was very thin. Over time, the family spread out, some going to other countries such as England, and Costa Rica and to America. It wasn’t for over a century later that Cuba’s revolution was the forefront of the world… bringing rum right along with it.
Jamaica and Cuba have since remained in many ways connected. In the early 1970’s when diplomatic ties were strong, Cuba sent doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers to Jamaica in offer to better the country. So, the Wright family also sent back something from Cuba to Jamaica- the love for high quality rum and some techniques for making it.
As we jump forward, we come to a set of Wrights who settled in the US, in Tampa and Palm Beach, Florida. Two cousins, whom oddly enough, their respective mothers were born in the same town in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, on the same day and at the same hour and are still very close, getting together whenever possible. At a family reunion together, with the usual gathering of the kids listening to the elders talk of the days of old till wee hours of the night, the cousins got the idea that it was time to bring back some of the old recipes and ideas from the ‘good old days’. They did not know the product yet as they were into different endeavours, with one owning a print shop while the other ran a surfing and clothing brand. That said, the two knew this could be something big and it was time to do something. A few years later and after lots of discussion, Rude Bwoy Spirits was in the works.
Having lived thru the roots reggae days of the 80’s and the Dancehall days in Jamaica of the 1990’s, the Rude Bwoy spirit bubbled into fruition and over the course of time the brand was born. Rude Bwoy Spirits begun being crafted in Tampa at a small distillery and over the next four years, the tastes and notes were (as they would say in Jamaica) “twisted and bent up” thru trial and error until the taste of the “Old Days” was in every drop. It was time for the world to see that Rude Bwoy Spirits was here and it was time for the brand to be taken nationally. From this passion to bring the world the best coconut rum, and specialized sugar cane vodka, as well as the smoothest white and gold rums, Island in a Bottle, LLC was created and operates today as the brand’s management, sales and marketing arm.