The brewing company produced the first batch of beer using this local ingredient on June 18, following the official commissioning into service of the brewery’s cassava starch factory, located at its Spanish Town Road headquarters in St. Andrew.
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, and Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon Derrick Kellier, were both on hand to oversee the process.
The factory represents an almost US$2 million investment under its Project Grow initiative, which will see an input of five per cent cassava starch, as a replacement for imported barley in the production of beer.
In his address, Mr. Kellier praised the company for its initiative to use locally grown raw material in its manufacturing process.
“This is real progress in the making and I wish to congratulate Red Stripe on having reached yet another milestone on this journey to brew beer with local cassava. With this commissioning, you will help Jamaica move closer to our stated goal of import substitution,” he said.
The Minister noted that the commissioning also shows that it is possible to grow and expand local agro-processing, and is also a demonstration that public-private sector collaboration is an important strategy for the successful implementation of economic projects.
He said the Agriculture Ministry is pleased to have partnered with Red Stripe from the inception of the initiative with the lease of the initial 36 acres at Bernard Lodge to facilitate the pilot cassava project.
The Minister further informed that a lease agreement was signed in March for an additional 250 acres of land for cassava cultivation.
He also noted that the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) provided technical support for the project.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hylton also lauded the company on its initiative. “This is critical to the kinds of innovation that we know must be made if we hope to be competitive in whatever business we are in,” he said.
“In the world of beers, Red Stripe is an icon. Its global acceptance however, resides in its competitiveness, its quality control and the branding that surrounds it. All of this is packaged and presented not just to Jamaica, but to the world,” he added.
For his part, Managing Director of Red Stripe, Cedric Blair, said the partnership with the Government on the project has been “massive.”
“We are reaping from our 36-acre pilot farm at Bernard Lodge through the Agro-Investment Corporation (AIC) and the Ministry of Agriculture. We have secured another 250 acres out in Wallen and we are in the process of planting now. We should get to about 280 acres by the end of this year,” he noted.
Mr. Blair said the initiative is starting with five per cent cassava starch, and the aim is to get to 40 per cent of locally grown raw material by 2020.
Project Grow is Red Stripe’s cassava farming initiative, aimed at substituting some imported raw materials with local products.