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Diageo Begins Work on $4M Visitor Center

Work began Thursday on a $4 million visitor center being built as part of Diageo’s Captain Morgan’s Rum Distillery on St. Croix.

The project was announced at the Nov. 23 grand opening of the distillery by Diageo CEO Paul Walsh, who promised it would be "a spectacular tourist attraction for not just St. Croix or the U.S.V.I., but for the entire Caribbean basin."

During his remarks at the grand opening, Walsh had said, "The center will help demonstrate that this distillery is more than just a production site. It is truly the whole of Captain Morgan. Preliminary plans promise that it will be a fitting home for such a dynamic brand."

Dan Kirby, vice president of Diageo USVI, said this week that contracts were signed about a month ago and work was set to begin.

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The building will be more than a museum, he said. It will be "an experience center," including history and artifacts of the industry, a movie theater, a bar reception area, a small store and a place for visitors to take tours of the plant.

Thursday morning a handful of workers from James Benton Construction – the same company that built the Captan Morgan’s distillery and the warehouse, among many other St. Croix projects – began site preparation work.

James Benton, president of the construction company that bears his name, said Thursday site preparation will continue for about three or four weeks. Then the crews will begin concrete foundation work.

Benton said the 7,500-square-foot project will employ roughly 70 workers, about half
directly and the rest through subcontractors.

The center is scheduled to be completed by February.

"Things are going really well" in the eight months since the distillery opened, Kirby said, with production increasing month by month and the warehouses filling up with rum that will age locally before being shipped out.

"We’re producing what we need to supply the market," he said.

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Work began Thursday on a $4 million visitor center being built as part of Diageo's Captain Morgan's Rum Distillery on St. Croix.

The project was announced at the Nov. 23 grand opening of the distillery by Diageo CEO Paul Walsh, who promised it would be "a spectacular tourist attraction for not just St. Croix or the U.S.V.I., but for the entire Caribbean basin."

During his remarks at the grand opening, Walsh had said, "The center will help demonstrate that this distillery is more than just a production site. It is truly the whole of Captain Morgan. Preliminary plans promise that it will be a fitting home for such a dynamic brand."

Dan Kirby, vice president of Diageo USVI, said this week that contracts were signed about a month ago and work was set to begin.

The building will be more than a museum, he said. It will be "an experience center," including history and artifacts of the industry, a movie theater, a bar reception area, a small store and a place for visitors to take tours of the plant.

Thursday morning a handful of workers from James Benton Construction – the same company that built the Captan Morgan's distillery and the warehouse, among many other St. Croix projects – began site preparation work.

James Benton, president of the construction company that bears his name, said Thursday site preparation will continue for about three or four weeks. Then the crews will begin concrete foundation work.

Benton said the 7,500-square-foot project will employ roughly 70 workers, about half
directly and the rest through subcontractors.

The center is scheduled to be completed by February.

"Things are going really well" in the eight months since the distillery opened, Kirby said, with production increasing month by month and the warehouses filling up with rum that will age locally before being shipped out.

"We're producing what we need to supply the market," he said.