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Most Bahamians look forward to the days-on-end marathon shopping trips when they travel -- and I'm not going to lie, I do too -- but unlike most people, a quick pop into a fast food joint or a meal at the food court to keep their energy level high for the next day at the mall won't suffice for me. There are some favorite restaurants that I've simply got to hit. Better yet, if it's someplace I've never been before, I do my research to find out exactly what restaurant I have to go to and what is the not to be missed dish.
One place I've heard about for years is Legal Sea Foods, a Boston-based seafood restaurant group, but never having been to Boston -- I'd never dined at Legal Sea Foods. So when I found out I would be traveling to Boston the other day, my mind was swirling with thoughts of where I'd eat and what I'd have at the end of my workdays. I knew I had to have a steamed Maine lobster ... oysters (seeing as I would be so close to their source and all, and they would definitely be at their freshest), New England clam chowder, crab cakes made with Maryland lump crab meat ... and of course if I spotted a P.F. Chang's (one of my favorite Asian jaunts) I had to indulge in the chicken lettuce wraps, some dumplings, and whatever else struck my fancy.
In the first of two visits to Legal Sea Foods, I enjoyed the Rhode Island style calamari (crispy Montauk calamari with peppers and garlic, you can also have them served Thai style, with pineapple and peanuts), a New England clam chowder (the recipe that had been served at past presidential inaugurations), and Legal's signature crab cakes with wood-grilled shrimp and scallops.
The calamari was to die for. Their crispness and the heat from two kinds of peppers were the perfect bite. Being a true-true Bahamian, the heat was perfect.
Having made clam chowder many times before at home, the cream and tomato version, I was actually excited to sit down to a bowl in New England itself, made by a New Englander. It was good, but if you've made it before at home, don't despair your home recipe probably tastes just as good.
And I couldn't wait for the crab cakes, actually passing up the steamed Maine Lobster to have them. The cake looked absolutely delicious, and was served as a combo with grilled shrimp and scallops. Avoiding the shrimp, I dove into the crab cake. A quick flick with my fork, revealed the truth that I'd heard so much about -- that Maryland crab cakes were indeed chockfull of perfect pieces of lump crab meat and practically no filling. The sweet meat was almost a divine eating experience. The crab cake took so much of my attention that I only got a taste of the scallops and avoided the shrimp entirely.
And just because I was in Boston, I did the traditional thing of ordering a Boston cream pie for dessert. The round cake that is split and filled with a custard or cream filling and frosted with chocolate isn't one that struck me as something that I'd like, and the Legal Sea Foods version which was more flan-like in texture, proved it's something I definitely don't like.
On my second foray to Legal Sea Foods, I went with the raw oysters. With six varieties on the menu, I ordered one of each. The result was a plate with three Cape Cod oysters (Welfleet, Merry Oyster, and Big Rock Oyster); and three from New York (Naked Cowboy, Cotuit and Wianno).
Disregarding the rest of the menu -- no matter how good it sounded -- like the nutty Atlantic salmon, or the cioppino (lobster, scallops, shrimp, calamari, littleneck clams, mussels and scrod in a light tomato broth), or the lobster casserole (freshly shucked lobster baked with buttery crumbs), or the lobster bake (calm chowder, steamers, mussels, chorizo sausage lobster), I went straight up and ordered a steamed lobster. At Legal Sea Foods, these steamed lobsters range from one-and-a-quarter pounds to two-and-a-half pounds. Having seen some big boys hauled out of the kitchen, and people struggling to get through, I erred on the side of caution and got a medium one in the range of one-and-a-half pounds to one-and-a-quarter pounds, with mashed squash and asparagus. And like a "crazy" tourist I tied that plastic napkin around my neck and enjoyed. The lobster meat was sweet and buttery and just delicious. All hail the Maine lobster!
Actually that was my last meal on my final night in Boston, and if I hadn't eaten anything else, I would have been quite happy.
As you can see I had a long list, and I satisfied every craving I had going to Boston. Making the trip extra special was the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Bonfire, a steakhouse restaurant by celebrity Chef Todd English, who is one of the most decorated, respected and charismatic chefs in the world. (And that was thanks to the fact that airport dining has gone more upscale). I stumbled across Chef English's restaurant in Terminal B at Boston's Logan International Airport as I was walking to my gate, and since I had a few hours to kill before my flight, you know I made a beeline for Bonfire.
Perusing the menu I was stuck between the Kobe beef hot dog (with jalapeno slaw, Dijon mustard and Parmesan fries), portobello quesadilla (roasted corn salsa, queso blanco, chimichurri and avocado crema) and the grilled bonfire burger (garlic aioli, smoky bacon, caramelized onions, cheddar cheese and Parmesan fries). I was leaning towards the portobello quesadilla, when the waiter walked up and I asked for his recommendation. He steered me into another direction -- the brioche chicken sandwich (garlic aioli, cheddar, caramelized onions, avocado and parmesan fries) -- I was a little skeptical, but I went with it. I stuck to the advice that I usually dole out, which is that chefs and waiters won't steer you wrong.
And he certainly didn't! That first bite was an explosion of flavor so intense that when I said wow, I don't think it was just in my head. The tender grilled chicken, topped with the buttery avocado and the flavorful garlic aioli really made the sandwich. Even though I didn't have intentions of eating any of the Parmesan cheese-flecked French fries tossed with sweet roasted garlic and crisp fried sage, they were addictively good (so much for watching those calories). A cooling side of Pico de gallo, and that meal at English's Bonfire Steakhouse was the perfect way for me to end my first visit to Boston. With eating that good, I intend a return trip. And if you're ever in the area, a meal at Legal Sea Foods which has been around since 1904 is a must-do dining experience.
The shift has started -- and it's a celebration of two of life's greatest pleasures -- food and champagne.
Indulge in new gourmet delights of an invigorated Hope Town Lodge culinary team and sip on bubbly libations of Nassau-based distributor, Young's Champagne, during an amazing weekend, September 14-16 that is being billed as the "Great Love Affairs Start with Champagne" weekend. It will definitely be a food lover's paradise kind of event wrapped up into a romantic weekend.
To introduce Bahamians to the new Hope Town Harbour Lodge, a special package that includes roundtrip airfare, two nights and three days accommodation at the lodge, taxi and ferry to the lodge on Elbow Cay, along with the fabulous eating events -- the Bubbles and Bites, the Wine and Dine, the Trunk Show and the Mimosa Brunch - is being offered at $395 per person.
"We're trying to target locals from Nassau to come in and experience Hope Town, so I think it's a great opportunity for us to showcase our menu and start showcasing the shift," said Leesa Fountain, a representative at the lodge, "Because the menu items at this event will slowly be integrated into the menu at the lodge over time."
The menu items will be integrated into the two food and beverage restaurants at the lodge -- The Reef Bar and Grill, which is the poolside and ocean side bar and grill where they serve breakfast and lunch, and where cocktails are offered in the afternoon, and The Great Room and Ray's Place, their fine dining room where dinner is served.
The new menu will showcase small bites and tapas-style dining.
At Friday's Bubbles & Bites event, Henriot Brut Souverain (superb balance and finesse) will be served with avocado gazpacho spoons. Laherte Freres Brut Nature (superbly light, delicate and with a slight oak note to finish) will be served with seafood samosas and lobster spring rolls. Fernand Thill Millesime 2006 - Grand Cru Champagne (buttery, soft, delicate tour de force) will be served with smoked guava BBQ riblets and Caribbean spice chicken wings and Ellner Brut Rose (great fruit and subtlety) will be served with grilled fruit bruschetta and hand-wrapped dark chocolate.
Saturday night's Wine and Dine event will feature a glass of French Chardonnay or French Pinot Noir with a choice of roasted corn chowder or HTL house salad, lionfish ceviche, catch of the day or sage and olive stuffed lamb loin, warm coconut and cranberry bread pudding with coconut vanilla sauce and a glass of Ellner Brut Rose and tea or coffee.
The mimosa brunch event will feature Bertrand Devavry Brut Extra Quality Grand Reserve with a medley of orange, mango and passion fruit juices. A roasted vegetable quiche will be served with the savory first course. With a sweet stuffed island French toast served for the second course, followed by tea or coffee.
Fountain encourages people who want to experience the weekend to book early, as the lodge only has 25 rooms.
"Don't wait, especially if you're coming from Nassau, because we only have 25 rooms and it's a really good deal," she said of the $395 package they're offering.
Patrons will also get to experience the resort that is seeking to increase sustainability by focusing on local buying power.
"Sustainability is by no means a new term at Hope Town Lodge as a number of best practices are already in place, but thanks to its new owners, the Bahamas Boutique Hotel Group and its partner UpSouth Resorts and Hotels, Hope Town Lodge will expand its sustainability efforts by developing stronger relationships with local business owners by supporting locally owned Abaconian and Bahamian businesses.
"Buying local is simply better business," said Mike Hartman, founder of UpSouth and former developer and operator of the award-winning Tiamo on South Andros.
"Not only does it reduce the environmental impact associated with the transportation of imported goods, but buying local promotes food security, ensures freshness and quality product," he said.
"With Abaco's network of fishermen and farmers, creating a farm to table or sea to table dining experience that reflects and supports Abaco is better for our pockets and for our guests," said Hartman. "With 90 percent of the entire food supply for The Bahamas being imported, creating relationships with local suppliers is critical in reducing time and costs. Furthermore, guests can learn the who, how and where of the food they enjoy, creating a direct connection to place and in turn leading to a deeper, more authentic experience," he said.
"It's going to be different from anything The Bahamas has ever seen because we're going to be sourcing locally, and drawing inspiration from all the different Caribbean islands and maybe even Latin America, so I'm excited for that," he said.
Great Love Affairs Start with Champagne
Bubbles & Bites
Henriot Brut Souverain (superb balance and finesse) with avocado gazpacho spoons
Laherte Freres Brut Nature (superbly light, delicate and with a slight oak note to finish) with seafood samosas and lobster spring rolls
Fernand Thill Millesime 2006 - Grand Cru Champagne (buttery, soft, delicate tour de force) with smoked guava BBQ riblets and Caribbean spice chicken wings
Ellner Brut Rose (great fruit and subtlety) with grilled fruit bruschetta and hand-wrapped dark chocolate
700 Experience Trunk Show -- A sneak peak of the lodge's new 700 Experience Boutique which is scheduled to open mid-November. The show will feature a small collection of Bahamian sourced resort wear, jewelry and home décor. Tea and light bites will also be served.
Wine and Dine
A glass of French Chardonnay or French Pinot Noir
Choice of roasted corn chowder or HTL house salad
Catch of the day or sage and olive stuffed lamb loin
Warm coconut and cranberry bread pudding with coconut vanilla sauce and a glass of Ellner Brut Rose
Tea or coffee
Bertrand Devavry Brut Extra Quality Grand Reserve with a medley of orange, mango and passion fruit juices
First course (savory) roasted vegetable quiche
Second course (sweet) stuffed island French toast
Tea or coffee
150 Students Preparing For Opportunities At Baha Mar. Today, students in the inaugural class of the Leadership Development Institute (LDI), a non-profit training institute supported by Baha Mar, celebrated an important milestone – completing half of the journey to graduation. Approximately 150 students, chosen from 3,500 applicants, were selected to enter the challenging program to receive training...
When you look around New Providence today, what do you see? When you think of our institutions, what do they offer? What does The Bahamas look like now? Are we only sun, sand and sea or are we promise, potential, and possibilities? I think the latter.
Some Bahamians look around in New Providence through impatient eyes and see mounds and mounds of dirt, debris and open trenches. They see workmen and equipment digging, placing pipes and paving the roads on many of our major thoroughfares. I, however, look not at the present state but the future. I see the infrastructural improvements in fiber optic cabling, underground utilities for water and power. I see what the roadwork will offer, what it will change and what it will impact.
Many times people can observe problems in their society, but few can put forth the resources and time needed to resolve them.
In 2008, a group of students wanted to make a difference in their community where so many people went to bed hungry while good food was discarded. Spearheaded by Alanna Rodgers, they formed the humanitarian organization, Hands for Hunger, and set out to resolve the problem.
"They asked: How can we bridge the gap between hunger in the community and food waste?" says Executive Director of the non-profit, Yolanda Darville.
Modeled after City Harvest out of New York City and Second Harvest out of Canada, Hands for Hunger simultaneously rescues food from local restaurants and redistributes them to centers who can reach the hungry.
Years after its inception, Hands for Hunger can measure their success in pounds--with their refrigerated trucks, they've provided 300,000 pounds of food to their community, and on average, every week they rescue and redistribute up to another 2,000--that's enough food for 2,000 people.
"We're proud to have been able to provide 300,000 meals to Bahamians," says Darville. "It's even more amazing when you think about how that's all food that could have been thrown away."
Indeed, by partnering with hotel restaurants -- like those found in Atlantis, the Sheraton at Cable Beach and the Wyndham Nassau Resort -- and local restaurants such as Starbucks, Subway and Sbarro's, they can provide discarded food to eighteen local doner centers, including the Salvation Army, Urban Renewal Kemp Road and Great Commission Ministries International.
It's a mission that for Darville, who just began working for the organization in March, is truly inspired by.
"One of the first things I did when I came on board was ride on the trucks and see what happens every day when food is picked up and delivered," she says. "It was so exciting to see -- I remember at Great Commission Ministries, people were actually running to the trucks and they were so excited to see us and they wanted to help us offload the food and they were saying thank you."
"It just hit home for me that even though The Bahamas is a wealthy country, there are still so many people in need and they're just so grateful someone is stepping up to help."
Though the focus for Hands for Hunger began on food rescue, they're now also turning their attention to education and research, pushing for a food security assesment in the nation.
A little research has been completed in that area, and they've been looking at a variety of factors that influence food security, including food importations and farming, so as to eradicate hunger at its root.
At the same time, they're going into schools and local communities to educate people about the realities of hunger in the community. On October 15th, designated World Food Day, they'll partner with the Ministry of Agriculture for a day of awareness, educating the public about food insecurity.
"That's something we're really trying to educate the public about--why do we have the issue of hunger in The Bahamas in the first place and what can we do about that?" Darville says.
"There's currently no research and there's no expert you can go to, so what we're trying to do is be one of the forces pushing for change so that we do have that assessment in the country, we can see what the issues are and how we can change them."
Yet they don't plan to drop their food rescue program anytime soon--in fact, they're pushing for more corporate involvement for the community.
With their new volunteer resources and corporate partnerships coordinator joining the team, they hope to attract local businesses who want to make a difference much like Starbucks did earlier this year during their international initiative, Global Month of Volunteerism Campaign, collecting donations from patrons for a local organization.
"We were told by Starbucks that the reason they wanted to partner with us is because they know we partner with 18 recipient agencies we donate the food to--so really by partnering with us, they were able to partner with 18 organizations all at once," says Darville.
"We know that there are many companies that want to do something with their employees," she continues. "They're into corporate social responsibility but they don't have the time to coordinate things -- companies are more likely to do it if you're organized to coordinate it, so we're excited about that opportunity."
They also hold fundraisers and reach out to the community for assistance through their annual events Paradise Plates and their bread and soup booth at Jollification every year.
Yet, Darville says, no matter their expansion or direction, the organization is truly driven by their many tireless volunteers--over 400--who give their time loading trucks, taking pictures, and putting any of their skills to use for the organization that makes such a difference in the lives of many Bahamians.
"I just love seeing all sectors of the community come together," says Darville. "One of the things I love is that we're constantly being approached by people who want to volunteer. It's great to see -- it's so heartwarming to see people who want to make a change."
For more about Hands for Hunger, visit their website at www.handsforhunger.org.
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I make the following comments as a concerned Exumian who is tired of non-Exumians trying to stop the growth and progress of the Island.
It appears that some PLP politicians in their quest for power are prepared to jeopardize the future of the people of Exuma by frustrating the largest single private employer on the island. They are treating Sandals, which is responsible for the livelihood of hundreds of Exumians and their families, as though it is not appreciated in our country.
The truth is that Sandals Emerald Bay has provided a safety net for many people on the island whose hopes were dashed when the Four Seasons hotel closed.
When Sandals came on the scene most of the commercial airlines had terminated their services even before the departure of Four Seasons, the previous operator.
Today, after just 12 months of operations, Sandals has been able to attract carriers such as Air Canada, Continental Connections, American Eagle, US Air, Delta and the domestic carriers Bahamasair, SkyBahamas and Western Airlines.
Sandals has also honored the existing agreements with Exuma Transit for the transportation of guests.
The charge of poor treatment of its employees by the hotel is totally false as is the complaint about the presence of Jamaicans on the property.
Sandals is a Jamaican investor with core expertise provided by Jamaicans who are hardworking people with good work attitudes worthy of emulation.
The fact is that as a major Caribbean and International hotel chain, Sandals employs Bahamians in a number of its hotels in its host countries including the Turks & Caicos, St. Lucia, Antigua and Jamaica.
Interestingly, no mention has been made of the many foreign nationals who worked with the former Four Seasons hotel and who treated Bahamian workers so badly. I don't recall any complaint being made about them.
As far as the charge of under-payment of staff is concerned, the government of The Bahamas has established a minimum wage. Any employer who pays workers below the minimum is in breach of the law. Anyone with proof that this is the case at Emerald Bay, should report the matter to the Department of Labour.
Indeed, the staff of the hotel should be made to understand that the property can only pay what it can afford and that higher wages could mean less staff and not so stable employment.
In any given interaction of people there will be problems; even in churches. However, I am satisfied that the resort is doing much more than its predecessor in trying to better relations with all its public.
In recent times, the hotel has been managed by some of the finest professionals of Sandals: Jeremy Mutton and Patrick Drake.
Significant efforts have been made in introducing a wide range of programs to train and upgrade staff, foster professionalism, enhance staff morale and reach out to the community and business sectors.
The hotel has introduced a wide range of programs to address training and personal development at every level, as well as entry level certification for school leavers in hospitality training and the introduction of an apprenticeship program.
In addition, there are numerous programs to enrich and enhance the everyday life of workers including luncheons, breakfasts, bingos and other recreational activities as well as access to a barber shop which provides concessionary rates to employees.
Through the Sandals Foundation, several projects are helping to transform schools and civic amenities on the island in an unprecedented manner.
For the first time in the history of Exuma, the island is blessed with a hotel choir which is a big hit whenever it appears at local churches and civic functions.
Since the acquisition of the hotel, millions of dollars have been spent on renovation and upgrading facilities, including the addition of 62 rooms, thereby increasing the capacity of the resort from 183 rooms to 245 rooms. Also, some 60 additional persons have received employment as a result of this project.
In addition, three more restaurants are to be built, providing employment for many more people.
In the current climate of unemployment in Exuma, anyone responsible for providing jobs for over 500 permanent and 100 construction workers ought to be welcomed and respected by everyone.
I believe Exumians need to examine the situation very carefully and not be fooled. They should never forget the trauma and loss of hope that came with the announcement of the closure of Four Seasons Hotel. Indeed, Exumians should be very wary of persons, who for selfish political reasons, are trying to destroy their future and the growth and stability that Sandals has brought to this Island.
I can testify that the chairman of Sandals and his entire staff have always extended a hand of friendship to the Member of Parliament for Exuma, Anthony Moss.
It is an indictment on Moss that he has failed to accept invitations he has received from a major investor in his constituency whose operations have impacted the lives, livelihood and future of so many of his constituents.
Former island administrator
Beijing Construction America is considering an equity position in the $200 million World Mart, pointing out that Baha Mar is made up of essentially the same "ingredients".
Zac Henson, the president of Beijing Construction America, drew strong parallels between himself and Tiger Wu, the vice president of China Construction America and a top executive behind Baha Mar.
The latter is now full steam ahead on the $2.6 billion resort rising on Cable Beach.
"It is undetermined whether we would take an equity position, but as with many projects, we build and finance," he explained. "We are a state-owned enterprise, we are owned by the government; the banks are owned by the government. Baha Mar is run by China State Construction, which is one of our counterpart companies. We essentially do the same thing, we have the same ingredients and we're owned by the same people as they are."
Henson and other top executives of Beijing Construction America were in Freeport last week finalizing some of the particulars behind the 1.1 million square-foot facility.
He was joined by influential Chinese investors and Bahamian executives.
World Mart is designed to provide merchants from China and around the world with an international platform to promote, sell and distribute mass quantities of goods to corporations throughout North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.
While Beijing Construction is under a similar umbrella to its counterpart at Baha Mar, Henson told Guardian Business there are a few significant differences.
Unlike China State Construction, which tends to import labor, Beijing Construction will employ up to 1,200 Bahamians for the high-profile project.
World Mart executives hope to start construction by early next year.
"As you can see, our counterparts at China State deploy Chinese workers onto the island. We don't do that," he said. "At Beijing, we sub-contract work. And so, the workers and the work community will come from the sub-contract community. Where they get their works is up to them."
The statement could indeed mean a new beginning for Grand Bahama and provide a remarkable solution to the island's 21 percent unemployment rate.
Challenges, however, remain before shovels can be stuck in the ground.
Henson said Beijing Construction America is looking forward to hearing more details from the government and other local officials on exactly what international merchants can expect if they set up shop in World Mart.
The deal is beyond "dollars and cents", and foreign investors will want to perfectly understand the value of investing in The Bahamas.
"The biggest resource they have here is 'Freeport'," he added. "Those words. Free port. Free trade. Exchange. Business. Culture. You can wordsmith it any way you want, but that is the core that should be on the tip of everyone's tongue. You have something to do with trade? Come give me a hug."
Fundamental to making the World Mart concept work, however, is being sensitive to the guest experience. He told Guardian Business that the business traveler is quite different than the typical tourist, particularly a client that is coming from 9,000 miles away. He called it a challenge, but also an opportunity.
Air travel to The Bahamas is another challenge to overcome and consider.
While Nassau has gained all of the attention, Henson felt Freeport would need to generate more direct flights and attract greater attention to make the ease of travel, and business, easier.
Comprising 1,600 stalls for merchants, World Mart, as the name suggests, would not simply be populated by Chinese. In fact, executives revealed a "household name" from Korea has already made a commitment to the project.
Securing key investors in different corners of the world is considered essential for the concept to snowball.
World Mart will be divided into five districts geared towards specific areas of trade and distribution: Fashion Boulevard, Technology Way, Home Goods Avenue, Manufacturing Place and Season Street.
It is expected to include a hotel, restaurants and other amenities, and ultimately employ up to 3,000 Bahamians.
FREEPORT, Bahamas- Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Co Ltd. (BBBC) is about to launch "Bush Crack" in the domestic market - the first local beer to retail in a 16-ounce can.
With about 22.5-to-23 percent of the beer market in The Bahamas now in the BBBC camp, according to sales and marketing manager Lynden Johnson, the company is hoping the new 16-ounce can along with the quality of the product will make it a hit with Bahamians. It could also mean a bigger share of the domestic market for the Grand Bahama based brewers.
"With the introduction of Bush Crack, we will be able to get no less than 30 percent of the market in The Bahamas," Johnson said in an interview with Guardian Business yesterday.
While he did not disclose what that translated to in dollar or volume sales, Johnson did say the size of the local market was around 2.6 million cases of beer per annum. BBBC has no problem 'co-existing' with the other local brewers, according to Johnson, but added that as the only 100 percent Bahamian-owned brewery the company is aiming to make its product-line the 'go-to' beers for Bahamians.
BBBC is targeting the segment of the local market now dominated by foreign beers retailing in16-ounce cans. BBBC General Manager Donald Delahey said Bush Crack provides a high quality, locally brewed alternative to the popular 16-ounce Colt 45 or Busch offers.
With a price point Johnson said would be 'competitive', he anticipates 3-for-$5, or 3-for-$6 retail specials for 5.8 percent alcohol content beer should be well received by the local market.
BBBC hosted a team of 11 managers and directors associated with Atlantis' newest restaurant,Virgil's, to a brewery-tour and sampling opportunity at its Freeport, Grand Bahama plant yesterday. Virgil's has an exclusive to serve the beer on draft.
Johnson said he's hoping the excitement that is building from the vote of confidence cast by Virgil's in choosing Bush Crack will carry over to the local market.
With it's 'Real Barbecue' theme, Virgil's customers have come to expect a broad range of quality beers, according to the Virgil's general manager Amaaris Pichardo. They will also serve the rest of the brewery's line of beer products. The restaurant opens on November 1.
Bush Crack is described as a gold-yellow color beer with a mild bitterness and a tangy, full-bodied taste profile, BBBC's Brew Master Dieter Stich told Guardian Business yesterday.
BBBC is busy crafting another new product as well. The ale they are aiming for would have a darker color and fuller-body than Bush Crack. That product may come to market as early as December, although BBBC is currently gearing up for a January release, Delahey said.
There will be an exclusivity agreement for distribution of that beer with Atlantis, Guardian Business has learned. That beer will likely only be available at its restaurants on tap.
BBBC now has Sands, Sands Light, Strong Back and High Rock in its product line-up. The company won Belgium's Monde Selection Grand Gold for its Strong Back beer in 2010, along with the Gold for the High Rock beer that year.
The Paradise Island Harbour Resort will undergo major changes in 2014 including renovations, upgrades, an increase in employment and even a name change.
Since taking over operations at the all-inclusive, 250-room Paradise Island property in December 2012, the hotel's Managing Director Cameron Burnet said it has been challenging to operate, having to reintroduce visitors to the resort. As a result, Paradise Island Harbour Resort has experienced a fluctuation in occupancy numbers this year. However, he is confident that things will begin to turn around by the middle of next year.
"When we bought the hotel, we didn't buy a business, we just bought an empty building, so in effect we had to start over. It's taking a little bit of time but I think we're moving in the right direction," Burnet told Guardian Business.
"A lot of people still don't know about the hotel so we constantly have to reintroduce it to people, but Bahamians are coming to the hotel, having a good experience and are returning."
To date, more than $200,000 has been invested in maintenance and minor improvements, which included the completion of three model rooms. However, the hotel
is expected to undergo most of its renovations next summer.
"We are also going to upgrade the lobby and the restaurants. Some of the upgrade work will begin next year. But by the end of next year, everything should be finished," according to the hotel executive.
"We haven't made a huge number of changes yet. A lot of the work has really been touch-up maintenance, but we're just in the process of completing three model rooms in the hotel."
"In the model rooms, we have changed the floor tiles, completely redone the bathroom, the plumbing and air conditioning. So the plan is to extend those same improvements to the rest of the rooms."
Paradise Island Harbour Resort currently has between 70-100 employees, but that number is also expected to increase next year.
Meanwhile, Burnet revealed the resort's intention to explore various markets other than North America in an effort to "drum up" more business.
"We have been working in markets that traditionally have not come to the hotel like Russia and Columbia. So we have been going to Europe and South America in additional to the traditional American and Canadian markets as well. Right now, we are getting a lot of Canadian and American guests," he said.
"For us, occupancies have varied. During the spring break/grad week season, we did quite well. It really fell quite low around August and September. But it's been coming back since then. October was better. November and December will be better. And we will be very busy with spring break/grad week beginning in March. But there has been a tremendous up and down in occupancy from very low to very high."
Warwick International Hotels, a global hotel chain with more than 50 luxury venues on its portfolio, acquired the aging resort last year for nearly $7 million.
Nearly $1 million has been injected in to the Bahamian economy as a result of the activities surrounding Bahamas Speed Week Revival, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis revealed yesterday.
In October, organizers predicted $400,000 to $500,000 would be pumped into the economy as a result of Speed Week. Jimmie Lowe, president of Bahamas Speed Week Revival, previously confirmed that more than $800,000 was pumped into the economy last year.
"During the six months of activity preceding the event itself, a great benefit to our community is the boost provided to our economic life represented by the expenditure by Speed Week organizers with business and contract services totaling almost $1 million and rising," Davis said during the opening ceremony at Arawak Cay.
"Also, based on the growing popularity of the event and recognizing that last year the event produced some 800 room nights during the ten days of the event, it is expected that this year's Speed Week will attract an increase in room nights by some 20 percent, with the attendant increase in the income to hotels, restaurants, bars and shops represented by spending by these many extra visitors."
Davis said due to the growing benefits from the sporting event, work is ongoing to build a new race track to facilitate the 60th anniversary of Speed Week in 2014.
"Yes, Speed Week will return to a racing circuit which the government plans to build at Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre," he said.
This year's Speed Week features almost 50 cars and 40 go-karts. Twelve Bahamians are participating.
To facilitate the event, the Ministry of Works and Urban Development constructed temporary pedestrian footbridges over West Bay Street and Fort Charlotte, and the Cricket Club and Arawak Cay.
Davis said the temporary foot bridges will be dismantled after the event but will be retained for future use.
Bahamas Speed Week Revival will end on December 8.