Wray and Nephew
Appleton Estate is the oldest and most famous of all of Jamaica's sugar-cane estates.
It is nestled in the fertile Nassau Valley on either side of the Black River in the south west of Jamaica.
The origins of Appleton Estate date back to 1655 when the English captured Jamaica from the Spaniards. Frances Dickinson, whose grandsons Caleb and Ezekiel were the earliest known owners of the Appleton Estate, took part in that conquest of Jamaica, and it is believed that Appleton Estate was part of the land grant that Dickinson received as reward for his services.
After many generations of ownership by the Dickinson family, the Appleton Estate was sold out of the family in 1845.
From then on, it was owned by a procession of prominent Jamaican families, each of whom helped to increase the size and potential of the Appleton Estate by purchasing additional acreage of land planted with sugarcane.
During these years, the Appleton Estate was producing several different pot still rums, and it began to gain a reputation as a reliable source for quality rum, a reputation that continues to this day.
Meanwhile, John Wray, a successful rum producer in his own right, opened the Shakespeare Tavern in Kingston, Jamaica. Though no one knew it at the time, this tavern would ultimately contribute to the day when Mr. Wray and the Appleton Estate would join together to guide the Appleton Estate to worldwide acclaim. You see, in his tavern, Mr. Wray made it a practice to serve his patrons the rums that he himself produced.
His rums were quite well received. Word began to spread of the quality of Mr. Wray's produce, and as his rums increased in popularity, his own rum production began to prosper. So successful was his venture that in 1862 John Wray invited his nephew, Charles J. Ward, to join him in a partnership. That same year, Wray & Nephew aged rums were awarded three gold medals at the London Exhibition, the first of many to be garnered over the years.
In 1916, the Lindo Brothers & Co purchased Wray & Nephew. Almost immediately thereafter, the new company, J. Wray & Nephew Ltd., purchased the Appleton Estate. Today, J. Wray & Nephew Ltd. produces rums that are unique and distinctly Jamaican. Appleton Estate Rums are still produced on the Estate, which encompasses over 11,000 acres of sugar cane as well as a sugar-cane refinery and the Distillery.