October 04, 2015
John Watling's Distillery (JWD) posted a 25 percent jump in daily visitors at its Buena Vista Estate over the past fiscal year, with the site now serving some 300 guests per day, according to JWD Operations Manager Jose Portuondo.
Portuondo told Guardian Business that the distillery's Buena Vista Estate continues to perform well as the distillery expands its spirits offerings beyond its flagship line of rums.
"Currently we are averaging around 300 to 325 visitors per day. Our target is to welcome 400 visitors per day, which we believe we will achieve this fiscal year. It's important to note that we could have not accomplished these results without our many partners, including but not limited to Leisure Tours, Bahamas Experience, Majestic Tours and the taxi drivers that transport visitors each day to the 1789 Buena Vista Estate," Portuondo said.
With the help of organizations including the Bahamas Hotel Tourism Association and the Marina Operators of the Bahamas, Portuondo noted that JWD has made significant progress in distributing its products throughout The Bahamas. However, Portuondo stressed the importance of JWD's partnerships with other businesses and attractions in the Historic Charles Towne area.
"While the experience at the 1789 Buena Vista Estate, home to John Watling's Distillery, Ltd., grew last fiscal year, so did our wholesale business. This part of the company is twofold.
"We are able to facilitate retail distribution of our products throughout New Providence and the Family Islands by providing our products to our many partners including Burns House Limited, Jimmy's Liquor Stores, Liquid Courage, Island Wines & Spirits, Keg Ranch and several other independent liquor stores, amongst others. John Watling's also provides its products directly to major hotels, resorts, bars and restaurants," said Portuondo.
The distillery, known for its line of rums, also branched out into the vodka market last year with the launch of Red Turtle vodka - a sugarcane molasses-based vodka. Portuondo noted that the vodka has performed "extremely well" since its launch in November 2014 and "continues to grow ahead of budget" through extensive local marketing.
"We have some great products in the pipeline, but at this point these products need to remain a well-guarded secret," he said.
JWD opened the renovated 1789 Buena Vista Estate, located on Delancy Street, in 2013. Since then, Portuondo believes that a series of infrastructural improvements to the Historic Charles Towne area - coordinated through the efforts of the Historic Charles Towne Association, the Downtown Nassau Partnership and the Department of Public Works - were a driving force behind the increase in foot traffic. Portuondo additional thanked the Royal Bahamas Police for boosting its presence in the area, which he felt has helped increase the walk-in traffic throughout the neighborhood.
JWD's growth comes as the distillery and neighboring businesses prepare for the inaugural Tru Tru Bahamian Festival on November 9 hosted at the Buena Vista Estate, which is designed in part to attract a larger crowd of visitors through Downtown Nassau and up into the Charles Towne area.
"In addition to the Tru Tru Bahamian Festival... we have a few additional plans on how to draw more visitors to the site. We believe that in order to truly engage visitors, we need to give them a different experience that is out of the norm.
"We believe that all businesses need to work in partnership to ensure a great destination and experience for visitors coming to our country," Portuondo stated.
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