Red Stripe starts using cassava

The company has informed the Jamaica Observer that the five per cent cassava component in its lager-style beer is currently being distributed on the local market in small quantities and is expected to increase over the next few months.

Last Thursday, Red Stripe commissioned its Starch Processing Factory under the auspices of the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton and Minister of Agriculture Derrick Kellier at the company’s Spanish Town Road headquarters, following an investment of US$1.5 million in a 20 root tonne processing plant.

The operating plant will allow the company to realise its sustainability vision of sourcing 40 per cent of raw materials locally by 2020.

“The pride that we feel here at Red Stripe for this initiative is immense,” managing director of Red Stripe, Cedric Blair, stated in a press release from the company. “We want to get to about 40 per cent of our raw material locally sourced and this is going to be a big initiative which we believe is going to take us between 3-5 years to really establish the supply chain.”

During commissioning of the plant, Red Stripe produced 2000kg of starch which was used in three commercial brews of Red Stripe and includes five per cent cassava starch.

At full capacity, Red Stripe is expecting to produce 960 tonnes (960,000 kg) of starch per year. Kellier highlighted that Red Stripe’s investment in cassava is a great example of how the private sector can invest in agriculture to help spur the economy.

“With this commissioning you will help Jamaica move closer to our goal of import substitution. You will also continue to demonstrate that it is indeed possible to grow and expand local agro-processing; this project certainly reinforces our firm belief that opportunities do abound and agriculture can truly be the engine of growth for the sustainable development of Jamaica,” said Kellier.

Red Stripe’s Cassava Processing Factory falls under the umbrella of Project Grow which represents Red Stripe’s biggest push to develop a sustainable manufacturing process. It includes private sector and government collaboration through a lease agreement for the land acquisition and developing a cassava cultivation best practice with the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute.

Project Grow also allows the company to fulfil its corporate social responsibility policy through training of the local farmers for employment on its farm through the Diageo Learning for Life programme.

The cassava processing plant is also the latest investment of a $1.7-billion brewery modernisation which includes the installation of a Combined Heat and Power Plant and state-of-the-art fermenting vessels. These investments will position Red Stripe to grow its international footprint and compete with the top breweries in the world.


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